Friday, May 24, 2013

A Boy And His Trains

NYC on a foggy and drizzly evening.  Made for some gorgeous pictures.
May 19, 2013

Regular readers know that I normally post blog entries at 5:30 a.m. in the morning. I posted the first entry about our days in NYC at an odd time, so if you missed it, here it is!!  Today, I have all sorts of things rolling around in my head, so this one may be all over the place although I am excited to write about yet another visit with a friend whom I met through this blog!  You may also realize how random my trip planning really can be. LOL!

I've mentioned that the details of this trip came together very slowly.  Our "home" in Greenport was secured early on as well as Bill's plane tickets that would get him to New York.  So the framework of the trip was set, but specifics were changing on a daily basis.  Bill (in his unbelievably easy going/whatever you want to do mindset), had made one simple request.   He wanted to ride the train (not the subway - the TRAIN) into NYC from Long Island.  In accordance with that request and since the Long Island Railroad Greenport station was just a few blocks from our house, I decided we'd take the train into the city and set about finding an affordable place to stay for one night.  I literally stumbled upon an unheard of rate at the Residence Inn Manhattan/Midtown and as I've learned to do, secured it immediately.  We are so loyal to the Marriott chain which means I know their website well, can maneuver around in it quickly, understand their cancellation procedures, am highly aware that rate structures change by the minute and most importantly, appreciate the NO SMOKING at any of their hotels that they implemented a few years ago being the first major chain hotel to do so!!  But this rate was so low, I questioned it's validity and did some further research.  It turned out that this was a new hotel to the chain and these were introductory rates.  I just happened to be on the website at the right time.  But as time went along, things changed and for several reasons, that wasn't going to work as we decided we wanted more time plus we learned that the train didn't run all the way to Greenport on weekends.  So I went back into research mode and found the Fairfield Inn where we stayed for two night/three days at another fantastic rate I grabbed that included free parking.  Sadly, that had eliminated the train ride, but for some reason, I still didn't cancel the original reservation.  It was so cheap I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  Then I received an email from Blog Friend Carol asking if I wanted to meet up while we were in New York.  With a fresh perspective, I revisited the whole scenario and came up with something which allowed us to stay in that hotel that we'll probably never experience again AND give Bill his train ride. 

So yes, we drove back to Greenport on Saturday morning and then returned to Islip on Sunday morning where we rode the Long Island Railroad (it does run from Islip on weekends) from the Ronkonkama Station directly into Penn Station. Bill was a happy little boy.  Sharon was a happy girl because the hotel was wonderful, in a perfect location and being the tightwad that I am, I kept looking around at all the other people in the lobby realizing that most of them had paid at least $400 more than I did for their night in the hotel. 

After we arrived via the train (about a 90 minute ride), we hopped on the Blue Line for a quick ride to Lexington Ave/53rd stop and a five block walk to our hotel.  It was raining, but we decided to go for a walk anyway and ended up at Grand Central Station.  This was the third and last time that I was bothered by the noise and crowds while in NYC.  The old cliche, "it's like Grand Central Station" is quoted often for a reason and when we descended to the lower level into the food court, I took one look around and headed back up!  Nope, not for me!

We met Carol, who blogs at Buttercup Counts Her Blessings, and is retiring next week after 19 years in a job which I will not name, but was fascinating to discuss.  Let's just say she and Bill had much to discuss about their mutual love for trains.  As I've found with every single person I've met through writing this blog, the conversation flowed swiftly and easily.   We literally could not believe that we had sat in the restaurant for over four hours talking.  She had a lengthy commute back to her home on the Upper West Side and an early morning, but she didn't seem to mind and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.  Carol was very patient answering our questions about 9/11.  She was working in her office only five blocks from the twin towers and her story of getting out, getting home and making certain all her employees were safe (some of whom had disabilities) is spell binding.  We've met and talked with others who were in NYC, but none as close to it as Carol was.  And even more special were her words about the lingering effects and the problems, difficulties, health issues that are only now being seen.  A life-changing event for all of us, but not nearly so poignant as for those who actually lived it.  We were once again reminded that our thoughts need to remain with not only those who lost loved ones, but to those who were in the midst of it and are (to this day) continuing to rebuild their lives.  Normal is not in their vocabulary and likely never will be.  

Our new friend, Carol
Taina Cafe, New York City - May 29, 2013

After we said goodbye to Carol, we started back into our hotel which was right next door, but Bill suggested we take a walk.  It was no longer drizzling, but the swirling fog was casting such an interesting glow on the lights of the city and as one of our favorite songs from Les Miserables says, "in the rain, the pavement shines like silver."  We returned to Rockefeller Plaza, Times Square, Herald Square and all points in between and it was so beautiful.  Bill took some great pictures which likely will make up a post all its own once we are back home in Tennessee and I can upload pictures quickly.

We spent a quiet night and found ourselves back on the train by noon the next day headed away from the city towards Greenport.  Would we do this again?  Absolutely!!  The nights in NYC put us way over budget for this trip, but we'll make it up somewhere along the line.  It was totally worth it.  

Two stories about my husband of soon-to-be 36 of them I've known almost since the day we were married back in 1977.  The other I only learned recently.   Which goes to show that no matter how long you've known someone, there's still neat stuff to learn!!

I loved Bill's parents from the day we met and the love was returned a thousand fold.  From day one, they treated me like a daughter and loved me unconditionally.   Bill was a much loved and long awaited only child, but (for the most part) you'd never know it.  However, for some reason, he never had an electric train.  Now I grew up in a household of girls so I'm no expert, but I thought ALL little boys got an electric train at some point.  I learned about this oversight pretty early on, so on December 25, 1977 guess what Bill got from me on our first Christmas?  He loved that train and would sit for hours watching it circle the Chistmas Tree where it did for the first 15+ years of our marriage.  He finally relented and we gave the train to precious friends of ours who were moving to Africa.  Bill still talks about that train and will forever be fascinated by trains.  He can sit and watch them for HOURS.  So no surprise that his only request was to ride the train.  He has a lengthy list of trains he wants to ride all over the world!

While in NYC, I caught Bill taking pictures of Macy's department store AGAIN!  It reminded me of how frustrated I often get when Thanksgiving rolls around and he INSISTS that we be at his mother's house early enough to watch the ENTIRE Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  Come on, give me a break - who watches that anymore?  Or in my case, who EVER did??  At least not every single minute of it.  But not so very long ago, I learned that tradition has  a very deep meaning to Bill.  His parents always had large crowds of people for Thanksgiving Dinner.  That's just who they are.   The more, the merrier.  Bring anybody and everybody that doesn't have someplace to go.  Between our families (my parents immediately became part of this tradition after Bill and I married) and friends, the house was full.  To keep Bill out of the way, he tells me that early on Thanksgiving morning, she would sit him down in the front of the TV to watch the Macy's Parade and under no circumstances was he to move until the parade was over.  To this very day, it's not Thanksgiving until he has seen the Rockettes dance in front of Macy's and Santa Claus parade through Herald Square.

So you know what?  It's o.k. with me for him to take all the pictures he wants to of trains and Macy's!!

Anybody learned anything recently about a spouse/friend/child that explains the "why" behind something they do?


  1. Nice little side trip, Sharon! The hotel I stayed in for 6 weeks back in the late 80s was at Lex/48th, and I think I walked every inch of the streets in the area.

    On 9/11, I was in "meetings" with consultants from NY. One of them lived in Battery Park City, and I'll never know how she focused on the rest of the meetings. Besides the enormity of the events unfolding, she had no idea when/if she'd be able to get home, nor how many funerals she'd be attending once she got there. Still feels like yesterday....

  2. Great post, Sharon. I enjoy taking your trip with you. I love trains also --because my Dad worked for the railroad so I got to ride the train alot when I was young. I just told George recently that I want to go back to West VA sometime and ride that steam engine train at Cass back up the mountain. Such a wonderful experience. I have so many train memories ---and still enjoy trains!

    Glad you met up with another blog friend. I used to go to her blog (I think) ---but haven't in quite awhile. Don't know what happened but I vaguely recognize her blog name... Glad you enjoyed being with her.

    Sounds like everything has worked out well for you two on this trip... Glad you were able to spend several days in NYC...

    Things are going fine here --other than the fact that deer ate alot of our rose buds and lily buds. Made me cry. We've just had so much rain that the Liquid Fence isn't working as well as it should. BUT--today, the sun is out and other than being very very cool, I love it.

    Hope you have a great weekend. Happy Memorial Day --and don't forget to thank God for our service men and women who do/did so much for us to keep us safe.


  3. If I had known about Bill's love of trains, I would have recommended you two stop by the miniature train display in Glens Falls! It is the home of the mini train association and they open up their big play room for people to see all the sets they have going.

    I like riding the train as well. I did a Fort Edward to NYC ride and it was so nice to not deal with the traffic :D

  4. Love hearing stories about your trip. And great photo of the NYC lights at night. Love the wet pavement reflections!

  5. I so enjoy your writing and your adventures Sharon. I always feel like I am right there with you on your trip!

    Great story about your hubby and the Macy's TD parade. I do still find out stories and interesting details that were never shared before and we have been married for 34 years! Go figure. :)

  6. Love reading about y'alls adventures in NYC! And that is so neat about Bill and trains. How very sweet of you to get him one... perhaps he will start collecting the bigger ones some day (I've seen a house that had tracks installed near the ceiling and a train going around all through the living room/kitchen area...pretty cool!

    Spending so much time with my husband's family this past week has explained so many of his "quirks" I guess you could say. We are still "new" to this marriage thing, so there is still plenty to learn for sure.

    Glad you guys had a good trip!