Unpleasantness, delays & road rage as part of the New York travel experience
I lived in the New York area for more than 20 years before moving to Colorado. I always look forward to my visits to New York for business and/or pleasure, but inevitably, I’m happy to get out of there once I’ve done what I need to, visit with friends and see and do things that I can’t do here. My departure on Thursday, September 29 reached new lows just to get out of the city to catch what was supposed to be a 5:10 p.m. flight from Newark Airport. Here goes:
- At 2: 15 p.m., I towed my roll-aboard bag to bus stop at 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue for bus that would take me to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Got there just as a bus whisked in and out. Before I could ask whether it went to the Port Authority, the driver slammed door in my face and pulled out. Took next bus.
- Newark Airport Express stops on 41st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, under the passageway between the north and south portions of the terminal. Judging by the smell, this covered street shelters homeless people. Drivers do not turn off engines, so fumes from idling buses provide more aroma. And did I mention the motor noise and the blaring horns from 8th Avenue?
- Airport Express makes two Manhattan stops before loading at the Port Authority, meaning buses already have passengers on board and luggage in the bays. First bus full. Waited 15 minutes for next bus, for which I was first in line.
- Driver asked which terminal. “A, please,” I replied, to which he answered “F-ck!” He already had a full A-bay and was not happy.
- Third-world ticketing system. Ticket seller/taker comes on board only after bus is loaded to sell/collect tickets, adding a good 10 minutes to the wait.
- By the time we pulled out, it had started pouring — not drizzling or raining but pouring. The two blocks to the Lincoln Tunnel entrance took 12 minutes. Lincoln Tunnel jammed to a crawl. Viaduct also at a crawl. Entire ride to wider road near Route 1 & 9 interchange also at a crawl.
- Crawl accelerated to slow drive. Bus driver decided that small white pickup truck filled with construction material had cut him off. He pulled into the breakdown lane next to the pickup, opened his window and yelled, “You f-cking f-gg-t!” The bus driver then semi-turned around and said mildly to the passengers, “Excuse me, but did you see what he did?” The pickup truck driver accelerated again, and the bus driver pulled up again, and once more yelled, “You f-cking f-gg-t! Get out of that truck!” Just what travelers want — a bus driver given to road rage.
- I would have reported him if there had been enough time at the airport for me to get his name tag (if he had one) or at least bus number. But we pulled up to Terminal A at 5:08 p.m. It had stopped raining, but the storm had been as quick as it was severe. I figured I’d have time to get my flight, but I didn’t know whether the delay would be short or long, or how long the security line would be.
- Of course, there was a major flight delay. When I checked in, the 5:12 p.m. departure wasalready posted for 7:00 p.m. We actually boarded at 7:20, waited at the gate for a bit and then got into EWR’s eternal, infernal conga line. I can’t reemember the last on-time departure from a New York airport.
- Arrived at Denver International nearly 3 hours late with yet another wait — 40 minutes for Boulder bus. But I was happy to breathe clean air (even at an airport).
Bottom line is that I’m happy to be in New York for a few days at a time but even happier to leave.