In 2011, I met my parents in New York City for Christmas and arrived half a day before my parents. The World Trade Center Memorial had just opened a few months prior, so I was anxious to book a reservation to the site. This was when you had to buy tickets to enter the area, because it was still under construction and security was heavy. I arrived into the city and dropped my luggage at the hotel (not yet ready for check-in) and took a taxi to the World Trade Center. I thought wrongly that there would be some inside portion, but the museum wasn’t open. Instead, I walked around the giant fountains for about an hour soaking in the beauty and gravity of the memorial. By the end of my visit, I was frozen and couldn’t think of anything but finding somewhere to warm up. I exited and saw a bar across the street, at the W Hotel, and stepped in for a drink.
I drank a Manhattan (maybe two) and chuckled at the thought that I was drinking a Manhattan in Manhattan. My parents texted to let me know they had just arrived at the hotel, so I closed out to meet them for dinner. Quite tipsy from drinking strong drinks on an empty stomach, I decided I would brave the subway to get back. Surely, I could take something that would drop me off near the hotel.
I headed into the subway – probably Rector Street Station. I studied the map for a bit, and decided which train to take. When I got to the platform, there weren’t any more maps to double check which DIRECTION I wanted to take the train. I didn’t want to look like a fool, so I decided to pick one and then I would look at the map inside the train. I boarded the train and tried to find a map in the car, but it was too far away from me and I couldn’t read it. No cell service underground, so I was a bit screwed. I sat on the train for a bit, trying to figure out what to do next. The next station we pulled into had another train pull in across the platform and both doors were open. In a moment of spontaneity, I jumped off my train and onto the next! I’m pretty sure my thought was that I would be closer to a map on that car. After the glee of my impulsiveness wore off, I realized that I could actually be heading out of the city and into Queens. I am not sure how many stops I rode, but I know I got off and boarded another train, still not quite sure where I was headed, but I could see a map now and squinted to read it: 28th Street Station. Great! That’s right by my hotel on 30th! Feeling extra pleased that I had randomly jumped cars into the right one, I exited at 28th street and arrived above ground to find that I was indeed 2 blocks from 30th, but my hotel was another 5 blocks north-west. So, I walked 7 blocks back to my hotel in the bitter cold, grumbling (and still swerving) slightly. I’m still not sure which trains I took, but I know I went from Rector Street on the Red 1 line and ended at 28th street on the Green 4/5/6 line.
Jumping trains in New York is not the wisest thing to do, but it could’ve been a lot worse. For this misadventure, luck was on my side!