Twelve hour drive. Five girls. Spring break. Cue the fanfare. Instead of going to Punta Cana with the rest of the Notre Dame senior class, four other girls and I stuffed supplies for a week into my sedan. Our mission: New York City. The first leg of the trip was six hours to Pittsburg and was full of tolls as we got used to five people crammed into a car. After spending the night at one of the girl’s homes and being pampered with food, puppies, and love, we left for the city.
In preparation for the trip, every driver made her own 5-6 hours long playlist on Spotify. I downloaded them all offline onto my phone so that each driver could listen to her own music while on the road sans cellular data usage. Juanes serenaded us for a good portion of the drive although the car reserved the right to veto songs (re: Taylor Swift and Justin Beiber). In addition to learning each other’s musical tastes, we had two copies of Veronica Roth’s Divergent begin the rounds.
Our hotel was in Queens, and unfortunately the only way the GPS knew how to get us there was to drive straight through the middle of Manhattan. As soon as we discovered this, we switched drivers so that I was in the hot seat even though I had done my shift the day before. It was incredibly stressful to drive, but it was for the best. Otherwise I would have been sitting in the backseat, gripping my seat with white knuckles and praying.
We checked into the hotel a little after four and found ourselves in an itty-bitty room with two queen beds and about five square feet of open space. Instead of debating how we were going to sleep five people in the room, we changed from driving clothes into stylish outfits and sought the subway.
Due to our main organizer’s fantastic foresight, the hotel she had chosen was only two blocks down from the nearest station. We rode the purple line from 40th St. Lowery’s St. Until I said it aloud and was laughed at, I genuinely thought the station was Fortieth Saint Lowery’s Street. It was not. 40th Street – St. Lowery’s Street. Can you say Notre Dame problems?
With moderate difficulty, we rode the subway to Central Park. We had a delightful walk along the rain soaked pathways, happy to be out of the car and breathing unrecycled air. The Doctor Who fans in us made several appearances as we searched rocks and bridges to find the ones featured in the traumatizing Angels Take Manhattan episode.
Part of our mission in New York City was to experience as many cultures as we could find. Google and Siri were godsends for the trip, and with their help, we found Tina’s, a Cuban hole in the wall. We demolished yucca chips and secret dipping sauce courtesy of our waitress until Christine, our planner’s cousin who lived in the city, found us. Continue reading