Buses and Balloons

 After eating our burritos and peppabroni peetzah, we headed over to meet our tour bus.  We had purchased passes to help with the cost of several of our destinations, and this tour bus ride through Manhattan was part of the package….  Never mind that we had been up and walking all day…  it was scheduled into the day to give us a chance to see a few things, and SIT while doing it.  SIT being the desired position….  really I was starting to forget what sitting was.
We get to the bus about 3 minutes before it leaves,( huff…puff..huff puff…)  and we climb the stairs up to the plexiglass covered upper deck of the bus. ( AHHHHH sweet sitting!!)  Our tour guide was absolutely great….  If I could have sat right next to him the whole time I would have, but he was up and walking around the bus explaining all the things we were looking at in the fading light.  I highly recommend this tour, just in the day time, I think we would have enjoyed it more if we could have seen more. 

I learned that the neighborhood SoHo is named as such because it is South of Houston Street( properly pronounced HOW-stun street…. if you call it the name of that city in Texas… everyone will look at you like you have lost your head.) There is also a neighborhood called NoHo….  you guessed it… North of Houston ( did you read it right?? )  The whole neighborhood acronym thing apparently started taking off, other neighborhoods were jealous of how cool SoHo sounded so they began to make up their own….There is TriBeCa, or the Triangle Below Canal…  see, and you just thought it was a film festival.
As you get off the Brooklyn Bridge there is a neighborhood called DUMBO… no I am not even kidding.  Down Under Manhattan Bridge Over crossing….  yeah…  others were similarly comical. 

We were told about how TriBeCa, and SoHo were both famous for their wrought iron architecture, something that was impressive in the dark, and would have been breath taking in the daylight. The street that NYU is on doesn’t like sound systems, so we had to strain to hear our guide, I am sure there were things to learn there, that I couldn’t hear over the sound of the cars.

We learned that Bellvue Hospital was a great place to go if you get stabbed…( not kidding… this is among some of the amazing trivia we were supplied with )   apparently they are good for more than padded rooms and hug me coats.  We also found out about a HUGE apartment complex that was built for Veterans returning from WWII, we thought that was kinda neat.

Just as we finished the boys who with full tummy’s, and more than five minutes of sitting, had fallen asleep, it was time to get off the bus, and back onto the Subway to head up to Central Park and see the Balloons that were all blown up and ready for the parade in the morning.

We got off the Subway and started to follow the throng.  We found out that we had to go around, and follow a different throng, which led us to a police man who said go over there and stand in that line.

“That line”  was 3 blocks long, across a street and up a block more…..  We were like… ” Wha?”  Thinking that he was kidding that  ‘that line’ really had to be shorter, we walked a full block up past the end of the line,  we were told by another police man that we indeed have to go back a block and wait.
This was supposed to be one of those things that is something only locals do.  Only locals, my eye.

Somewhere in the course of waiting patiently to see over sized tarps, that were blown up with helium, I found a store…  for I was DESPERATE for a cup of Kawhfee.  I learned from this experience, and that of other similar corner store adventures in the city, that you do not order a coffee with cream.  They look at you like you have spoken Greek….  Instead, the proper way to purchase and order one’s beverage is to say “Can I get a Kawhfee?”  Then they will ask you if you want, ” Milk and Shoogah wit dat?”  Followed with a sort of New York cursory head nod.  And you are to reply with an equally respectful and cursory head nod and in my case ” yeah, jus milk”.  I will note here that they looked at me like I was insane for not ordering it with Shoogah.  Apparently the absence of Shoogah means you are really not a native New Yorker either. 
Then next notable thing that happens EVERY  TIME you go to one of these little markets… they put your Kawhfee, into a paper bag, with napkins.  As if you are going to save it till you get home to drink it.  Maybe I live in a state with too many Drive-Thru’s and the need for a paper bag to hold my Kawhfee, that I am perfectly capable of holding in my hand, is lost on me….  but I really found it humorous that they gave me a bag…. 

Back to the line.  It had only moved an 8th of a block…  I hadn’t missed much.

While we waited, moved a foot, and waited, moved a foot, and waited some more.  We people watched.  There was seriously NO lack of action to keep us entertained.  We noticed that there were different levels of police personnel.  Some were volunteers, some were big wheels,  all of them were very nice, if you don’t count the one that chewed out the volunteer guys for letting a cabby inch into the crosswalk.  That guy looked a little grumpy and in need of some of my Kawhfee.  We were voyeurs into apartments with walls of windows, where people were sipping wine and watching us.  There were people out selling glow necklaces, people who were cursing the fact they lived near there and had to put up with all the foot traffic.  Even with all the people, and all the waiting, the general mood was festive, and light.  It was easy to strike up a conversation with people find out where they were from, and why they were crazy enough to be standing in this line too.

 This is just the line AFTER we crossed the street….  I don’t think I ever saw so many people in one spot in my entire life!

 If you were short, it was hard to see.  The crush of people that kept you hemmed in, made it so all you could see were butts.  Hunter got a little help from big sis and brother who traded off carrying him the whole walk through the balloons

 quick pause after we were done to pose with the NYPD.

and we are finally headed back to the hotel, 18 hours after leaving it this morning….. to rest for about 3 hours, so we can get up and get on with day three………  and the whole reason we came ………
THE PARADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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One thought on “Buses and Balloons

  1. I've been trying to decide if I want to brave a trip to NY to actually see the sites. I've been there once, and we saw very little as we were taking a group of teens to do some mission work there. You make it sound very tempting. I'll have to add NYC to my list of future vacation destinations.

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