Today was hard work my god. Two transatlantic flights would have been less stressful. My mother decided it was time for young Billy to venture into the big city. Weâ€™ve never taken him beyond the cosseted environs of our lovely Park Slope and I felt uneasy from the offset.
First we had to get him in the subway, that meant using the gate instead of the turnstile. There were two gates and I naturally chose the wrong one and was yelled at. We took the 2-3 and changed at Nevins Street for the 4-5. We found out after waiting 15 minutes in the boiling station that the 4-5 wasnâ€™t running. So we got back on the 2-3 and had to walk to our destination. A problem for my gran as she has polymyalgia rheumatica in her hip and leg and canâ€™t make it far. We had lunch sat outside a pub at South Street Seaport, a popular tourist trap.
We were served green french fries with our meals. Soon after the meals arrived it started raining and we had to huddle under umbrellas whilst we ate.
Then my dad and I had to walk round the block 15 times whilst the ladies looked in Baby Gap.
Our initial plan had been to go to Ellis Island. I thought that had been abandoned after all the messing around weâ€™d done. No such luck. My mum and dad said theyâ€™d check and see if it was too late to go, which I assumed was a token effort as it was after 4. They returned with big grins and 5 tickets. Now we had to take Billy on a ferry. We had five minutes to catch it but they had us remove all metal objects from our persons and put them in boxes to be scanned (like the airport). We even had to collapse Billyâ€™s pram and put that through the scanner. This took so long we missed the boat. So we stood in a queue with hundreds of chirpy tourists all trying to push in front of us, Billy threatening to howl all the while. My brain was screaming. I considered grabbing Billy and running as fast as I could back to Brooklyn.
We got to Ellis Island as they were closing up. We did, however, manage to get tea and cakes from the slowest server in the history of mankind. If sheâ€™d gone any slower her arms would have atrophied and fallen off. Oily pigeons loitered close by as we greedily ate our cakes and gulped down our hot tea. The 7 green chips we’d had for lunch hadn’t filled us up properly. I took several swipes at the pigeons but they knew I didnâ€™t have it in me to really wallop them and just bobbed out of my way momentarily. One of them had the most frightening red-rimmed eyes youâ€™ve ever seen.
Billy was in drunken sailor mode when Heidi tried to feed him, bouncing off her and flailing his arms around wildly. The moment he settled and started to drink we were ushered off the island by security. Heidi couldnâ€™t really feed him on the boat and when we got back to Battery Park her, my mum and my granny grabbed a cab and left me and my dad saddled with the grumpy hungry baby. (Cabs only take 4 people and we had no car seat for Billy). We hurried towards the subway, choosing the R this time as the 4-5 wasnâ€™t running. When weâ€™d carried Billy down all the steps we were informed that Brooklyn bound R trains werenâ€™t running either and weâ€™d have to go up to Canal Street and change there. If my brain had been screaming before I donâ€™t know how to describe what was going on in there as we stood for 15 minutes in the rancid sweltering station waiting for a train to take us in the wrong direction.
We eventually made it to Canal Street and got an N over the Manhattan bridge. Unfortunately that dropped us off 2 miles from where my mum and dad were staying. I had to speed walk the distance as Billy was yelping for milk at the top of his voice. I just gave up on my dad; I left him for dust.
Half an hour later I had a slice of pizza in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other and the intense horror of our lovely family day out slowly faded from my ravaged mind.
Heidi and junior on Ellis Island:
A few dry minutes at the seaport: