My birthday present for Keryn’s 30th: two nights in a nice Times Square hotel, orchestra seats to The Lion King, and an afternoon with her future maid-of-honor. We took the bus because it’s really the only way to travel when you’re saving up for a wedding. The Acela would have cost nearly as much as the airplane ticket she bought for an upcoming trip to Hawaii, and once you factor in security lines and the commute from LGA into the city, the shuttle hardly seems worth the extra dough. So we headed to South Station last Saturday for the bus to New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Scattered observations from our trip:
- Apparently the economics of the matter are widely apparent. There was so much demand for the Saturday 9am bus that they added a second bus for the overflow – and filled it. On our return trip Monday afternoon at 3pm (hardly what one would call a popular travel time), half the potential passengers in line were stuck waiting for the next bus. Turns out that you really do have to be at the bus station an hour before departure…
- The passengers on a typical Greyhound coach represent an incredible socioeconomic spectrum. Almost shocking, in fact. Like a great eighty-passenger melting pot with one sloshing toilet and squirt-on hand sanitizer.
- Would it really be so bad if they put pockets on the seats? Or cup holders?
- How is it possible that so many people traveling the Boston-New York corridor are unfamiliar with the basic concept of “carry-on bags go under the seat in front of you?” The lady in front of me on Monday kept shoving my bag into my feet while she enjoyed ample legroom. I have just resisted the urge to type a flurry of unkind names.
- I’m still not clear on the rules regarding tips to the driver or curbside luggage guys. Is there a standard practice?
- R.N. Morris’s The Gentle Axe is a splendid mystery novel, though it makes me think a re-read of Crime and Punishment may be in order.
- I shudder at the thought of an eventual permission for in-flight cellular phone calls.
- How does anyone undertake a 4.5 hour journey without a scrap of reading material? I’ve wondered this on flights, too… But at least they show a movie there. And there’s always the SkyMall catalogue (and the hot dog toaster I’ve long claimed to covet). If you’re going to sleep part of the way, great. But sooner or later you’re going to wake up. The idea of staring straight ahead for so many hours makes me queasy.
- The view of Manhattan on the voyage home is absolutely priceless… And I can’t wait to go back again in a few months.