Day 27 – Connecticut to New York

We were awake at 7:00 am, showered, and joined Joyce for breakfast. She had prepared scrambled eggs and Canadian bacon which we had with some fruit and nut sourdough bread that Majella had picked up at Rogers’ orchard yesterday. There was also cantaloupe and we washed it all down with warm cider spiced up with the mulling spice that Majella had found yesterday along with the cider. That was not our usual breakfast coffee but it went down well.

After a relaxed breakfast we finished packing, put the bags in the car, and said our farewells to Joyce. We had enjoyed her hospitality, the chance to see something of the local area with the benefit of local knowledge, and a break from travel before the challenge of New York City. We were on the road just after 9:00 am. It had rained overnight so the roads were wet and there was some rain as we drove off.

We made it onto the interstate and out of Connecticut without difficulty and were about an hour into the trip and a little way into New York State when we decided that we might break for a cup of coffee before tackling the city driving. We exited just north of White Plains but despite driving around for a bit failed to find anywhere that seemed to offer coffee. Eventually we headed down road that the map suggested would get us back to the Hutchinson Parkway and into the city area.

As we got back onto the parkway the rain intensified and was quite heavy for a while. The sides of the road accumulated water and cars on both sides of the highway shot out sheets of water as they passed through the deeper puddles. We could see that the stream by the side of the road was running high and eventually traffic came to a halt as we approached a section that dipped under an overhead bridge. As we got the the head of the blockage we found that the road was covered by water to the depth of car axles but that cars were pushing through one at a time on the higher side of the road. We had no real choice but to follow suit. Traffic flowed for a bit on the other side of the water but the slowed again. The rain had stopped by then but there was still a strong flow in the creek as water flowed off the hillsides. As we approached the next section with water coverage we came to an exit and noticed that some drivers were opting for that. We did likewise and when we were able to stop on the overpass just beyond the exit were pleased that we had. The next lot of water was deeper than the last and we really would not have wanted to drive through it.

Majella asked somebody on the overpass about coffee and was told to turn left for the village. We did that, parked, and walked up the street, getting a bit damp in a shower of rain, and found MAD Cafe where we had coffees with a toasted ham sandwich for Majella and bagel with cream cheese for me. That served as lunch and the 30 minutes or so that we spent there was enough for some of the traffic to settle. We drove through suburban streets to another parkway access beyond the water blockage and were on our way again. Traffic was backed up for several kilometers on the other side so we assumed that the water was still over the road and were pleased with our escape from that blockage.

Because I did not know if any toll roads or bridges would have facilities for manual payment and we had decided to avoid the Avis surcharge for using the electronic system, I had set the GPS to avoid tolls. It took us from the Hutchinson Parkway over the 3rd Avenue bridge into Manhattan, down FDR drive, and then across the bridge at 62nd Street toward Queens Boulevard. There were some missed turns and at least one road blockage that caused recalculations along the way. Still, we eventually made it to the Pan American in Queens a little before 2:00 pm. Official check in time at the hotel was 4:00 pm but we found a parking meter just in front and were able to arrange to park in the hotel yard while we waited in the lobby for check in. We had coffee and juice respectively in the hotel restaurant and the desk was the able to give us a room. We found free WiFi in the lobby but there is no WiFi in the rooms so some juggling will be required.

We dropped our luggage and headed out to see what we could see in the afternoon. Our hotel was just 4 blocks from Grand Avenue station so we walked there, bought transit cards, and followed the directions from the hotel guide to the museum district. It was near to 4:00 pm by the time we reached the Guggenheim and we decided that we would not be able to see enough by the 5:30 pm closing time to justify trying that today and would think about seeing it tomorrow or Sunday.

We walked across 5th Avenue to Central Park and walked down through the park until we came to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That was about 4:30 pm and it was open until 9:00 pm which we thought might allow time to see enough to be worthwhile. We worked our way through the Egyptian section and then into the American Wing. At about 6:00 pm we found a cafeteria and had coffee and shared a slice before finding the hour guided tour of highlights that was offered from 6:30 pm. The guide escorted a group of 20 or so to pieces in the Grecian, Roman, African, American, and European sections with informative commentary around pieces in each of those areas. She mentioned that the museum has 2 million pieces so we figured we had no chance of seeing more than a small fraction regardless of how much time we had. After that tour finished we visited the Andy Warhol retrospective that has examples of his work and related work from other artists. There were some interesting pieces among them and some that left me wondering what makes something art.

Shortly after 8:30 the staff began warning about closing time. We made our way to the doors and then down a couple of streets and across to Lexington Avenue where we hoped to find the subway station we would need to get back to our hotel. We found that at 77th street and decided to eat something for dinner before heading back to the hotel. We found Pick a Bagel at the corner and had panini sandwiches with meat, cheese and tomato.

We managed the subway ride home without difficulty though we discovered a planned interruption to service on our line over the weekend. That will require us to learn more about the subway routes. The train back to Queens was apparently running late and they announced that it was becoming express after the first station over the river. We got off and caught the next one to ensure we did not miss our station. That got us back to the hotel without further bother.

Distance today was about 190 km on my tracking software but some of that will have been on subways and walking. We were glad to have made it through the traffic and to have managed to see some of a major gallery. We may have a slow start on Saturday but I expect it will be a long day of activity in the city.

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