The middle of New York: Thousands of movie scenes, dozens of songs. We remember the chilling and horrifying Taxi Driver which graced the screens in 1976. Scorsese and his brilliancy. We remember a young Jodie Foster, trapped, afraid, abused on the midnight streets of a dirty and somber city that truly never sleeps. We remember Carrie, yes Carrie Bradshaw with her long, luscious blonde locks aimlessly wandering Madison avenue. So elegant even at the midnight hour. We can still hear Sinatra belt out his ode to the city that houses Central Park, MOMA, the MET, and now Taylor Swift in the summer. This city has character, it has value. It houses a double-entendre of danger and sex. Somehow, the danger transcends into a sexiness. If you can conquer New York, you can conquer anything (in the bedroom). The Big Apple, Gotham, The City that Never Sleeps, I had arrived.
I proceeded to seek solace inside of a Starbucks near Times Square. I needed to think. Lay out a plan. I was too distracted with my menagerie of music on the Greyhound to actually devise a game plan for the time until take off. I opened a large door that led into the coffee king’s layer. This Starbucks was bare and filled with loquacious late night individuals. I thought to myself, Damn, these are the famous New York vagrants. I went past the loiterers and immediately headed to the counter.
“Venti Iced Caramel Macchiato,” I said, sheepishly.
“Sure, thing,” Danny, the barista responded.
In the end, I actually did end up receiving my latte I had dreamed for. Danny quickly made the latte, faster than any barista I had ever scene. I always enjoyed the Starbucks scene. I always imagined the Starbucks Baristas as a little cult, a sort of exclusive, Gretchen Weiners, “You Can’t Sit With Us” mentality. They were elite, they were interesting, they were hipsters. Each and everyone possessed a different sort of talent and ability. Perhaps Barista A was a Master at the Macchiato while Barista B was a Lover of the Latte and an Aficionado of the Affogato. It was an art, an art that every Barista did differently, like Van Gogh and Dali: both elegant, genius, divine but in separate areas of study.
“Here sir,” Danny muttered.
“Thank you,” On Wednesday’s do you wear pink?
I sipped the delicacy. Danny had made it perfectly. The flavors of the milk danced the tango with the espresso quite well. The caramel drizzle perfectly blended its way through the mix adding subtle flavor. As I continued drinking my liquid courage, I popped open my laptop and started researching. I needed to figure out the schematics of JFK. I needed to know if I could hang out there for a long period of time. It was integral to the whole plan. My flight out of JFK was set to depart at 4 p.m. It was now 12:25 a.m. I had well over 14 hours to spare, 14 I did not want to spend alone in the streets of New York. While searching, I found a great blog that rates certain airports on their so called “sleep ability” and labels out the pros and cons of the experience clearly. I searched until I found what I was looking for: John F. Kennedy International Airport. Click. The browser refreshed and reappeared with a plethora of information on the iconic airport. I gazed for several minutes reading through reviews of different passengers recounting their experiences. For the most part, many travelers seemed to agree that the airport could entertain a wanderlust for hours. With six terminals, travelers explained that you could take the AirTrain to each one and explore the different seating arrangements. I kept on reading and discovered that certain terminals had better seating, better comfort, and well, better food. Upon making a conclusion, I figured out that Terminal 5 was the place to start.
I inputed the Terminal into google maps and Voila! It would take me one hour and three minutes to get to Terminal 5 (that had a Dunkin Donuts and comfortable chairs.) I had to take the E Train for the majority of the trip followed by the AirTrain in Jamaica. I had to rely on Starbucks WiFi to get the directions because I had no data at the time. I had to take a screenshot of the step-by-step directions to avoid getting lost in the New York underground during a somewhat sketchy part of the night. I surveyed the establishment around me and thought it was best to go. The Starbucks drifters were beginning to pile in and I was not in the mood to hear their stories of wayward pasts and disheveled futures. I quickly packed away my backpack and flung it onto my back. Damn this thing is so heavy. I quickly clenched my fists in pain and started the trek out the door.
I headed back to the bus terminal where a subway station lied underneath. This would be the point of entrance to catch the E Train. It was getting colder and tiny snowflakes had started to fall. One happened to grace the tip of my nose. I gazed at it, cross-eyed and in wonder. I truly did love the snow. Enduring an East Coast Winter for the first time was definitely an experience.
Once I made my way into the terminal I darted downstairs to the station and went to the Fare Machine. I took out my Visa and punched in the information. I slid my card in and waited. What the hell. The screen froze. Betwixt and befuddled, I waited for the screen to return to the beginning. I tried the same steps again. Still, the same result was boded. I tried a third time, and after that I was stumped. I realized I could not check my Chase balance via the application because of the data problem. I quickly texted the shortcode CHASE and Bal and within seconds received incredulous information. Oh my god. The maleficent machine had stolen my money. I was aghast with horror. I had already lost so much money on the Greyhound, the Uber, and now this. I was pissed. Hell, I was in a rage. I set my eyes on an attendant’s station and raised over there to give my two cents (which I had lost times 500.)
“Is there a problem,” Rhonda, the attendant, quailed. F'k yeah there’s a problem
“Yes, the machine stole my money. I tried several times to get a ticket, but nothing happened. It charged me for each failed transaction.”
“Happens a lot. I’m afraid. Call this number,” she handed me a card. “They should be able to help you.” You mean you cannot help me?!
“Oh, so there’s nothing you can do?”
“No,” she barked. I was stunned. I had never heard of such foolishness. Of course, when I tried to call there was no answer, just a lousy answering machine regretting to inform me that I had not reached the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority during normal business hours.