After packing up our suitcases and cramming them into the car once again, we headed to Dunkin Donuts to eat and try to figure out where we were going to stay for the rest of the week (Alaina and Jesse), and for the rest of the month (me). It must have been pretty entertaining for the workers to see the three of us on our cell phones, calling everyone we know in the city, eyes bugging out and knuckles turning whiter by the minute.
Finally, a ray of hope: my contact at my job, Loribeth, found us a place to stay for the night. It was a completely empty apartment, but she had a futon and an air mattress that we could use. It would be "urban camping" as she called it. She ended up letting us stay there until the girls left on Sunday, which was amazing. While discussing my predicament with Loribeth in the office, one of my future co-workers overheard and mentioned that she had a futon I could sleep on for the rest of the month. No room, but it was still something, and that was pretty much all I needed at this point. We worked out a reasonable price for rent and agreed that I would move in when the girls left on Sunday.
I was finally able to take a breath. *phhhhew*
The big chunk of the day was spent in transit; we had to drop off Anna's keys to her on the Pratt campus, then we got in line to see the Daily Show with John Stewart. Unfortunately, they overbooked the show and we didn't get in. For consolation, however, we got three free VIP tickets for the front row for any other taping. So that worked out well for me ... it's just too bad that the girls wouldn't be able to go.
We headed over to Time's Square instead and did a little souvenir shopping and of course, more picture taking. We had dinner at a Thai restaurant in Manhattan that a random nice man helped us find, (he even gave us a subway map so we wouldn't get lost. How nice.) The rest of the night was basically just the girls hanging out in our urban campground and enjoying each other's company. Plenty of sarcasm and laughter.
The next morning was much more somber. We went to Ground Zero and looked at the site of what would replace the twin towers. They have pictures and time lines and a memorial plaque/wall design for the FDNY around the site. The plaque was a relief design depicting the men at work, and underneath it was all the names of the firefighters who gave their lives trying to help the other victims of September 11th. The time line explained to the minute what happened that day. There was also a museum/remembrance center that gave tours. When it comes to things like this, I always feel like the lines between respect and tourism are too close for me to be comfortable. At what point do we stop trying to show our respect for the deceased and end up turning the site into yet another tourist trap? This is probably true of any type of memorial or museum of a tragic event.
In an attempt to uplift the mood of the group, we did some shopping in Chinatown. It amazes me how resilient people are. I haven't decided whether I think this resilience is good or bad. I suppose for the sake of continuing the species, it's the best method of preservation that we have. Anyway ...
We ended up going to the Museum of Modern Art for the free entrance on Friday afternoon. This was fantastic. Free museum tickets are always a good thing. :-) While waiting in line, we met a man from Valencia, Spain. He was visiting some friends, who were currently in a business meeting, so he ended up walking around the museum with us. I think we all really enjoyed this; Alaina and Jesse had an audience to offer explanations and opinions to, and Arturo didn't have to wander around alone.Â
Completely exhausted, we decided to call it a night, so we stopped and got some flowers for the wonderful Loribeth and the others who helped us out, and then picked up some Peruvian food, which we ate on the floor of our empty apartment, using the lids as plates. hahaÂ We watched a movie on Alaina's computer, tried to locate a bug that ran across the floor and disappeared behind a door, and once again, just had fun hanging out.
The following day, we had a picnic lunch in Central Park, which was fabulous. The weather was perfect and there were tons of people playing baseball and just enjoying the park. I plan to spend as much time as possible here this summer. Gorgeous.
More shopping and then a fun night in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. A lesson I've learned: if you know the bartender, you don't get charged for all your drinks. This is key. I also plan to spend my summer weekends exploring this further. haha
Today--Sunday--was emotionally taxing. We cleaned up the apartment and moved my stuff to my new place (ie. the futon). Then I had to say goodbye to the girls so they could get home to Michigan tonight. I hadn't really realized I was homesick when I had my friends around me, but saying good bye to them was like cutting off my life line. Definitely a little scary. I honestly don't know what I would have done if they hadn't driven me out here. They were such an enormous help and made the whole transition such a riot. Good friends really are the key to happiness. If nothing else, I'm sure of that.Â
Luckily, my new roommate who is letting me crash on her futon is awesome. She had me tag along to dinner and a movie with her and her friends tonight, which was so nice. I'm happy to get to live with someone so considerate and fun. Hopefully, this luck will continue throughout the summer. And hopefully, as Jesse says, "the city will provide."