Monday, July 21, 2008

JFK Airport; Where Hope Goes to Die

A few thoughts on my excursion to New York City on Saturday...

1) As much as I dislike the Yankees, I really have to hand it to their fans... It was a good, solid 90 degrees on Saturday, and Yankee Stadium was fucking PACKED. Most people wore Yankee gear (or Anti-Red Sox gear) and they were into every pitch. Even from where we sat (not close by any stretch), the fans were tuned in. I have to admire that, especially when compared with the mostly well informed, but entirely too passive fans of Cincinnati.

2) I know that it's not exactly a revelation, but every time I'm in a big city like New York or Chicago, I'm struck by how ethnically diverse they are. I mean... There was one point on the subway (we spent a lot of time on the subway) where I looked around the train and thought "Wow.. there are more ethnicities represented on this one train than would be represented in a week of walking around downtown Cincinnati." There's something very appealing about the experience of walking down the street and smelling shish-kabob and hearing the pan flute. Or Falafels and Maracas. (That's a good name for an improv troupe... "Falafels and Maracas". )

3) There is really nothing like sitting in Yankee Stadium (now that I've been there, I'm even more bummed they're getting rid of it) and sipping on a cold beverage and eating a Nathan's Hot Dog. True, my cold beverage was a diet coke (in a souvenir cup that eventually became the most annoying souvenier ever) and my "eating a Nathan's Hot Dog" was really just two bites of the one by dad bought. Still... Best Hot Dog I've ever eaten.

4) WHY? Why in the world do those people need more money badly enough to tear down a stadium so full of history? Babe Ruth played right field there (right in front of where I sat.) Lou Gehrig gave his speech there. The Pope said mass there (actually... THREE Popes). Roger Maris. Louis vs. Schmeling. Just kinda bums me out.

5) Finally... JFK International Airport. God damn this place. So many things that could be said, but I'll just say this... There should never be that many pissed off people in one place at one time. Not ever. I honestly felt like Harry Potter dealing with the dementors, where he says that he felt like he'd never be happy again. There was a point where there were 9 flights all scheduled to board from the same tiny gate. All 9 flights were delayed at least 2 hours. No one from Delta was saying a word. There had to have been 300-400 people sitting/standing/near-rioting at this one gate, and I was so edgy that I felt like I could lose it at any minute. You couldn't hear ANYTHING. The display boards were completely useless as they still listed a flight that had departed an hour before as "Boarding" and none of the other 9 flights were listed at all. It was absolute fucking chaos. Anarchy was moments from breaking out. It reminded me of that scene in the bad Tom Cruise remake of War of the Worlds where every person in New York is trying to leave the city via the same tiny road.

6) Once on the flight, I sat next to a very friendly girl. At some point during the 45 minutes our plane sat on the tarmac with the engines off, waiting for the TWENTY planes ahead of us in line to take off, she pulled out a bottle of Dr. Pepper and opened it. I was then sprayed full in the face, shirt, and pants with exploding Dr. Pepper. The only thing that redeems that from being just another miserable moment from the JFK Airport is that she was soaked even worse than me, and it sort of became a bonding experience. Certainly made for fun conversation the rest of the flight back to Indianapolis.

7) Oh yeah.. Indianapolis... I forgot to mention... So we get to the airport for our flight to Cincinnati, and we were looking pretty good on the standby list, as there were something like 4 people listed for the flight, and 87 seats were available. By some strange twist of fate, that plane had a "mechanical issue" and the entire flight was canceled. Color me shocked... a trip with a half-empty 757 was canceled due to "mechanical issues". I guess that's probably true if the "mechanical issue" was the "the plane can not mechanically function if the airline can't afford the fuel to fly it." So in any case, that added 4 hours to our time at the airport, and not only that, but because of the 100 or so inconvenienced PAYED passengers that needed to get to Cincinnati now that their flight was canceled, we couldn't get home. So we had to fly to Indy. Awesome.

Really though, it was an awesome time, and I'd do it again.

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