Friday, June 19, 2009

Manhattan Apartment Search: We Got a Plane

I'm here in Manhattan, fresh off three days of hardcore apartment searching...I've spent a lot of time, walked a lot of blocks, toured a lot of buildings. I've found a place I kind of like, which is good, it's also more than I'd like to pay, which is bad.

The whole trip has been, well, a trip. So I thought it was certainly blog-worthy, especially given that I have a lot of time before my flight back to Chicago tonight. I'm breaking it up into multiple parts for ease of reading (and no, they aren't titled anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Although they definitely could be.)

Actually, this first entry has absolutely NOTHING to do with apartment hunting, this is only about my trip to Manhattan for my first appointment in Greenwich Village.


My journey started early on Monday morning. With a 9am flight out of Midway airport, I took a couple trains and got there somewhere around 8am. I had booked a Delta flight to LaGuardia for a decent price, and actually got to select an aisle seat for no extra fee, so that was a big win.

Of course, I arrive at the gate and take my seat...and notice a good number of people sitting around. As we all wait, a Delta rep announces that anyone who was scheduled for the 7am flight to LaGuardia should wait by the gate, because they have another plane for them.

That raised my eyebrow a little bit. Another plane? I thought. That probably means they're taking MY plane!

I payed more attention to the rep as she made more announcements. This time, she said they would board the 7am passengers on this plane, and that they would squeeze as many 9am passengers on to it as they could.

As soon as I heard that, I booked it for the gate, where I made it 5th in line amongst the 9am passengers.

It turned out there were over 30 extra seats for 9am passengers, so I was in the clear. But what of my aisle seat? The rep informed us we'd all have to switch to general seating and that we should just take what we can find.


So I get on the plane, hoping for an aisle seat, and start to walk down the aisle. Most aisle seats near the front of the plane seem occupied, but I do see one aisle seat open in the 4th row. I approach it cautiously, wondering what the heck is wrong with it because obviously people are avoiding it. Upon closer inspection, it seems fine, I don't think there are any bodily fluids on it.

Then I realize that the seat is way bigger than normal. And there are bottles of water sitting on the armrest, which is similarly gigantic.

Wait a minute, this is a first class seat!!!

Why didn't anyone else take it? Maybe they were afraid of being shooed away by the real first class passengers. Maybe they were confused. Maybe I shouldn't take it either.

But as the Latin proverb tells us, fortes fortuna adiuvat! (I knew the proverb, but had to look up the latin)

Yoink! I said to myself as I threw my bag under the seat and comfortably set myself down.

I started to worry that someone would call me on the fact that I didn't pay for the seat, and readied my defense with the whole 'Sorry, General Seating' spiel.

But no one called me on it, and in first class I remained.

It was my first first class experience, a first^2 class experience that may have ruined air travel for me forever. I felt like a 10 year old kid finding a $20 bill. Or more appropriately, a 10 year old kid who finds a $20 bill and spends it all right in front of his 10 year old friends that don't have $20.

Would I like a hot towel??? You bet your ass I would!

The flight attendant treated me with respect, you know, like I was an actual human being. I could stretch my legs. They served a complete nutritious breakfast (just like in the cereal commercials!). It was wonderful.

So I have to thank Delta's partner airline, who's malfunctioning 7am flight allowed me to slip into first class for absolutely nothing.

I got into LaGuardia with relative ease (although my girlfriend, not knowing I switched planes, continued to fret over what the hell was going on)

Once we deplaned (which was easy thanks to being in the front and avoiding the average coach air travelers, who becomes incapacitated when instructed to get the hell off the plane and stumble about the cabin like deranged homeless people...but that's an opinion for another time) I walked quickly to try and catch the bus that I thought would take me to Grand Central, where I could catch a train and still make my 1:30 appointment on time.

I wandered outside towards the area marked public transportation, and I waited. The signs said the M60 bus would take me to Manhattan, so that sounded good. Of course, there were no machines to get a MetroCard, and the sign was quite clear that you needed to pay the $2 with either exact change (no paper money) or a MetroCard.

I didn't have any change, but I did have my old MetroCard from the last time I was out here in December. Of course, I had no idea how much money was still on it. Knowing me, it could've been $0.10

As the bus pulled up, I realized I had no time to get change and figured I'd chance the embarrassment at not having enough money on the MetroCard.

Turned out I had over $4, phew, I was allowed to ride the bus. Of course, no one told me that the bus in fact did NOT go to Grand Central. It went through Queens, and it did go onto Manhattan...

It just went straight through Harlem.

After a brief and uneventful stop at 125th street, I boarded the express 4 train to Union Square and hopped right across the platform for the 6 down to Bleecker St. Who says I can't get around New York?

I made the whole trip from LaGuardia in less than an hour, at a cost of approximately $4, and was on time for my 1:30 appointment.

Now I just needed to start looking at apartments!

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