I am no stranger to New York City (Manhattan) as I grew up in New York, on Long Island. "The City" as we called it, was a big part of my teen years. I missed some school because the lure of it and riding the train was too strong, and classes were too boring to waste my time. As I was mostly an A student, I figured that I'd learn more from the adventure of NY than I would in a classroom.
One thing that I didn't do much of was ride the subway. It was pretty grimy then and you never knew what danger lurked. Besides, I love to walk so I did that as much as possible. Also, the subway can be very confusing to figure out, so why bother?
Well, on my most recent trip to "The City", I was instructed by my friend Fran to take the express train out of Penn Station. It was only 2 stops to go meet her. That was very easy. Buying the ticket to get on the subway proved to be a bit more difficult.
I learned that a one pass card is only good for 2 hours. So when I returned to the subway after meeting with Fran, with my pass in hand, it had expired. Then I tried to buy another pass (while I was in a hurry) and the machine didn't work. So I asked the woman in the glassed-in booth about it and she sent me to a different machine. I bought the pass and it didn't work. So that very nice woman let me through a special gate that was being blocked by a homeless guy's stuff. He got angry and called me names as I rushed to get on the subway.
In my haste, I forgot to notice if I was getting on the express train. And I did not. So, a number of stops later I arrived at Penn Station, a bit anxious, only to find out that I had to exit the station and go across the street and back in to catch my train to Long Island.
It was all an adventure, and I must admit that it was not nearly as much fun as it was when I was a teenager. But then again, the only way to pay at that time was with money or tokens. Now you need to "dip your card" which is a strange way of saying, "swipe your card". But maybe in New York, swipe is not a nice thing to say. In California, it's just fine. And we don't have a subway, so it seems that I am safe.