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I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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captainsblog
I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus...
Our last three hours in New York on Thursday turned into our last almost-six hours, in the blink of an eye. We had 1:30 lunch reservations at a Restaurant Week-participating place right in Lincoln Center. It's on West 65th, 30-odd blocks north of Penn and with our hotel in between, so we checked our luggage at the hotel desk and figured we'd have plenty of time to eat, get them back and get to the Amtrak gate by 3:40.

And we did, except Amtrak Standard Time, usually way behind schedule, was in this case right on time, if not a minute or two early.

More on that to follow. First, food with a foodie:)

Michelle, who I met here OL ages ago as shinuhana, knows whence we came; her undergrad degree is from the U of R, and her husband, a Canadian citizen, lives near Vancouver, where she lives with him no more than six months a year thanks to the grace of Canadian Passport Control. (Sam can't even cross the damn border to see her here at all.)  She has many interests I find interesting, including dance and jazz, but in this case it was the food. Her review and shots of the RW courses we enjoyed at Lincoln Ristorante:

The amuse bouche tasted like honey cinnamon cannoli filling on crustini, adictive rosemary bread (4 slices) with an eggplant tahinish spread instead of butter:
L-bread


My salad was a mod to remove meat so ignore that,
L-salad

savory codfish stew-ish dish that tasted very Portuguese,L-entree


and chocolate hazelnut dessert that was the pefect balance of bitter sweet soft smooth and crunchy and even temperature contrasts.
L-dessert

Finished with a biscotti petit fours that left me in sugar shock (not shown).

That was she. We went with an opener of Polenta con Musetto (cayuga pure organic polenta, spiced pork sausage, roasted grapes, montasio cheese), and a main of Raviolo di grano saraceno (mushroom and fontina filled buckwheat pasta, chestnut soup, juniper oil). OF COURSE I did the chocolate, as well; Emily selected the Gubana (dried fruit and nut-filled sweet roll, cara cara orange curd).

In summation, Michelle reported:
Impecable service that cleaned our table twice between each course. Well done Lincoln!

Yes, indeed, and thank you, Michelle, for an experience we never would have found or even likely stumbled upon:)

----

The remaining stumbling was entirely our own; we cut through an atrium and then Time Warner Center to get to the downtown subway trains. We'd checked a few of the shops out earlier, but you can never go wrong saying goodbye to this guy, standing guard in one of the corridors. No, really. I cannot lie:

IMG_1823

It was the little things that did us in.  Just missing a downtown 6th Avenue express as we entered the Columbus Circle station; finding that the 34th Street stop actually lets you out closer to 31st (not good when you have to double back to a hotel on West 36th); and taking forever, once inside the MSG/Penn complex, to find the actual Amtrak area and departure gate.

Those, and one big thing: we seriously underestimated how long it would take the hotel front desk to return our bags. That was the kill shot on our journey, which led to us waving bye-bye to the choo-choo as it pulled out even as the departure board still said "3:40."

It wasn't pretty. I rather panicked; no trains on the route until morning, no hotel to go back to.  Finally, we saw a WAITING ROOM sign and that gave solace and a chance to regroup. Em worked a phone, I somehow got wifi on my tablet, and we found a Megabus leaving from five blocks down West 34th in just over an hour.

Allegedly.

It was instantly booked, the two NYP-SYR fares converted to a voucher that should pay for Cameron when she takes him in the next year (I'd recommend the six months beginning in May:P), and we had plenty of time to beat the bus to the terminal.

And then some.

----

First quick lesson learned: no terminal. Megabus departs, not from Port Authority or any building of any kind, but from a chain link fence with no shelter, no amenities (save a single streetmeat vendor halfway back to 12th Avenue), and, worst of all, no bus. THAT showed up almost an hour after it was supposed to, and more than two hours after we arrived for the wait.  We were the head of the line; Numbers 3 and 4 were a Torontonian mother-daughter who'd come down for Mamma Mia and Hedwig and, having Greyhounded down and into Port Authority, had no more clue than we did about how long, cold and evil the wait was going to be. They being Canadian and thus too nice, we were dispatched to shooing duty for anyone suspecting our end of the queue for the end of it. We bonded a bit, and cheered when the M34 finally arrived.

First on, we somehow wound up at a table-setup of seats, and I picked the ones facing the rear. We hoped that the pair across from us might stay open, but Annoying Canuckistani got shooed into them at the last minute once the conductor booted him from HIS seat at the very front of the bus. He was loud, a manspreader, and quite possibly was carrying the Canadian plague (just as deadly, but it asks nicely before it kills you).

Still. We were out of the wind, if not the cold (windows on this thing leaked like a sieve); and by a bit past 7, we were re-enacting the opening credits of The Sopranos and making good time through the Lincoln Tunnel.

There was limited wifi, enough to get the concert review up. There was shrimp over rice from the halal cart which I will try very hard not to blame on Islam, no matter what Giuliani thinks of me:P  There were about 30 potholes per mile, and with the wheels right below us, we felt every one of them. There was a stop south of Albany which might've been my first Roy Rogers food in 20 years, except the rest of the bus got there first and, no, Manspreader didn't get stranded back there:P From there, it was lame attempts to sleep, a bit of reading Shawn Colvin's memoir which Eleanor had asked me to get her but I could Kindle-read as well, and, just as recognizable exits were coming into my backward view, we started to see a buttload of snow.

Back to the car a bit past midnight; back on the 90 closer to 1 after clearing it and getting gas; and back in Emily's place by around 2:15. Just south of it, I put on my best Millennial voice and said to her, Erm, sorry I got you home so late; I hope your father's not too mad at me.

You gotta laugh. Beats crying, or, in this case, snowing:P

----

Friday morning, five hours later, I beat my alarm by 45 minutes, was at work when I needed to be, and was home in time to see a loving family of five (four on four legs) who I'd missed just as much. I've since laid in a ton of wash (breaking the washer in the process:P), scored a Billy Joel box set (amazingly, we didn't have a single album of his in digital format), and watched the thermometer go all the way to 28F.

Meanwhile, my jazz pianist friend Deanna has been stuck on the same north-west Amtrak route since 7 this morning, heading to Rochester for a concert. It blew an engine near Albany and, at last report, was STILL stuck behind freight trains somewhere near Syracuse. In her honor as well as our own, I have coined a new verb:

Amtrample.
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Comments
ellettra From: ellettra Date: February 22nd, 2015 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a journey! The trip looked like it was extremely fun, though. You have the most wonderful family! And getting to see The Man Himself in concert must have been truly excellent.
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