Well, I’m in New York. I could be out having fun in town right now, but I decided to return to the hotel and write an article for fear of falling asleep on the MTA. Besides, I’ll have plenty of time after the Northeast Astronomy Forum tomorrow to explore the city.
I left the Greater Pittsburgh Area around 1pm this afternoon. My route took me north on PA-28 to Interstate 80. 28 is a four lane express way until you get to Kittanning. After that, it’s a windy cow path country road. But I did get to make a stop at my favorite Sheetz, located at the I-80 junction in Bridgeville.
I jumped on I-80 East and drove for what felt like forever. There are way too many rest stops on that damn road. I consumed no less than six bottles of water on the drive, but I didn’t need to stop more than twice to use the facilities. Along certain parts of I-80, there’s a state funded rest stop every twenty minutes. If you need to pee every twenty minutes, you shouldn’t bother leaving your house without wearing depends.
As you can imagine, I was making great time. But right around 5pm, my trip came to a complete halt. Twenty-five miles of backed up traffic at a dead stop! It was right before you enter the Delaware Water Gap. I pulled out my smart phone and kept refreshing Google Maps until a traffic bulletin was posted. “Overturned tractor trailer between Exit 2 and Worthington State Park. Eastbound closed until further notice.”
Dammit! I had never been on this stretch of highway before and wasn’t sure if I should risk a detour. On one hand, I could get around the closure and get back onto I-80. On the other, I could get lost and waste more time than if I just waited the closure out. I started looking around Google Maps and found a state route that seemed to parallel I-80 named PA-611. I maneuvered my way off the highway and took my chances on 611. The first two on ramps to get back onto I-80 were still full of stopped traffic, so I continued on PA-611. When I got to the third on ramp, I-80 was empty. Finally! I was past the road block. By the time I got back onto I-80, it was nearly 6:30pm.
Shortly after, I reached I-287, which I followed until I got to my hotel. I didn’t start using GPS navigation until this point. Surprisingly, my GPS said I would arrive at my hotel by 7:30, which means I was 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I have no idea how I could have possibly been that far ahead of schedule after getting stuck in traffic for so long. I stopped at a Shell station across from the hotel and filled up my tank before checking in. Another surprise, I made it the entire way on a single tank of gas. My “miles till empty” screen still had 10 miles on it when I pulled in to the gas station.
There was a really strange and yet awesome car at the gas station. I took a picture of it. Then I realized that I was freezing! I was wearing flip flops, jeans and a t-shirt. When I left Pittsburgh, it was about 50 degrees and sunny, too warm to even wear a hoodie. When I got out of the car in New York, it was in the lower 40s and windy. I actually was shivering while I pumped my gas.
This is the first time that I’ve ever booked a hotel for just myself. I go out of town at least four or five times per year, but I always have my girl with me. I try to be sophisticated and fancy around my girlfriend, so we always stay at nice hotels. Anything cheaper than the Marriott would be “roughing it”. Being that I was by myself, I decided to go with the absolute cheapest motel in the area. I got a room at Super 8 in Nyack, NY.
Maybe I am just spoiled, but god damn is this place disgusting. Never again – I will fork out the extra cash next time, regardless if I am by myself or my girlfriend. My first room key opened up an uncleaned room full of pizza boxes and empty alcohol bottles. It also reeked of marijuana. I went back to the front desk and explained the situation, they gave me another room key, this time on the second floor. This room is clean and tidy, but it’s obviously very low budget.
I changed into some warmer clothes and headed back outside for dinner. I have always wanted to try fresh sushi in an ocean bordering city like New York. So, I searched around Google Maps for Japanese Steakhouses. After reading the reviews on a bunch of places, I ultimately decided to go to a place named Wasabi in Nyack. I’ve only ever been exposed to Pittsburgh sushi, so I am not lying when I tell you, in a Chris Traeger style voice, Wasabi’s sushi was literally the best sushi I’ve ever had in my entire life. As a matter of fact, I plan on eating sushi every night I am here at a different place. I would call their fish “fresh” if it wasn’t such an understatement.
Despite the wonderful dinner, I did make a pretty big gaff while I was there. They gave me a free appetizer that I had never had before. It was peas still in the pod, covered in rock salt. I sat there and ate half of the bowl before the waitress came over, laughing, and told me that I wasn’t suppose to eat the pods. This made perfect sense, because the pod part was nasty and took forever to chew up. I felt pretty embarrassed because everyone else at the sushi bar sat and watched me eat them whole without saying a word.
I still had another hour to kill before my parking spot expired, so I walked down Main St and found a Starbucks. In a failed attempt to stay awake, I bought a double shot of espresso. There weren’t any tables open inside, so I sat down at an outside table and downed the poison. A pretty cool guy named Jon sat next to me and started talking. He classified himself as the last of the rastafarians and we talked about life. He bought a cigarette from me for fifty cents after I tried to give him one for free. I hope that everyone I meet in New York is as personable as him.
After we finished our cigarettes, I started heading back to my car when I heard Cage the Elephant – No Rest for the Wicked playing from a bar across the street. It took everything in me to not venture over. Such a great song! But I only had another 30 minutes on the parking meter and I knew how this was going to end if I started drinking.
That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow I’ll try to post about the Astronomy forum. Thanks for reading!