In the summer of 2018, my family of seven decided to take a trip to New York City. That is a chaotic mess waiting to happen. There are three things you need to know about my family before you hear this story, one, we ALL talk loud and have no filter, two, we ALL have different opinions on everything and will argue to no end to prove that we are right, and lastly, we ALL get hangry and when that happens you don’t want to mess with us. This five-hour trip took us almost eight hours because we got stuck in traffic, had five pee breaks, and of course, had to stop to eat twice. Our start to family vacation was heading south quickly.
After almost eight hours in a packed car, we finally arrived at our Airbnb in New Jersey. It was cheaper than staying in New York. We had to drive into New York and take a subway into the city. But I will come back to that.
After we arrived at our rental, we all wanted to get showers and look nice. Who doesn’t want to look good going into NYC? Getting ready was a mess. We only had one shower, one bathroom, and a bunch of hangry people. You would have thought this was our first family vacation with a bunch of tiny children, but to be completely honest, this was our tenth vacation, and we were all teenagers.
When we were finally ready to head into the Big Apple, we asked the very nice owner of our Airbnb for the best directions to get there, and she explained the easiest route. We squeezed into our car and went on our way. On the way there we saw several odd things. We noticed a guy walking with a banjo and wearing a speedo. We saw a woman standing on the edge of the road with a sign that said, “will strip for seasoned curlies.” We also saw about 100 creepy homeless men. We drove around for at least half an hour trying to find somewhere to park so that we could get onto the subway. We went in the same circle at least ten times and the traffic was so bad we were at stand still most of the time. After a while of driving around, we saw a parking garage that said, “24-hour parking”.
“Let’s park there, it says 24-hour parking”
“Okay, that is a good idea because we don’t know when we will be back”
We drove into the sketchy parking garage, and the worker asked, “How long would you guys like to buy a ticket for?”
“We don’t know how long we will be, so is it okay if we wait and pay when we get back”
“Yes, that is fine”
So, we went on our way and found the closest subway that would get us to right where we wanted to go. It took us two different subways to get us right into Times Square. When we got there, we were thrilled to enjoy our time, so we did everything that everyone wanted to, all seven of us…
We got off the subway and Mom asked, “where do you all want to go?”
“I want to watch street dancers”
“I want pizza!”
“Can we go to Ripley’s Believe It or Not?”
“Let’s get milkshakes.”
We had a long night ahead of us.
We headed back to the same subway we got off but quickly realized that it was not going back to the same place. We walked around for 20 minutes trying to find the correct subway. Eventually we got on one and hoped for the best…. The best was not in our favor.
“Are we going in the right direction?”
“Uhhhhhh, I think we are going in the wrong direction.”
“Let’s get off and try this again.”
We then angrily got off at the next stop and demanded help from a worker. The first worker we came to did not speak English. The second worker had no idea where we were supposed to go. The third worker tried to point us in the right direction. So, we got onto ANOTHER subway.
“Next stop, Broadway Line, next stop, Broadway Line”
“That’s our stop!”
We had to get on one more to make it back to our car. On this subway we had, a screaming baby, someone’s pet duck, subway performers, and an old man that looked like he was about to kill us all.
“Next stop, Lexington Avenue Line, next stop, Lexington Avenue Line”
“LET’S GET OUT OF HERE”
We left the subway and wandered back into the icky back streets of New York to find our parking garage. We thought the strangeness and bad luck was over. As we approached the parking garage, the gate was down and locked. Sign said it was closed until 6:00am.
“They said 24-hour parking!”
We rang the buzzer, and no one answered. We walked around to the front of the building that had the elevator we got off when we got there. The lady at the front desk said that the parking garage was closed until 6:00am and that is when we will have access to our car.
“What are we supposed to do? We are at least 30 minutes away from our rental.”
“You will have to catch an uber, our trains aren’t running this late.”
“See the problem with catching an uber with a family of seven is, seven people can’t fit into an uber.”
We stood in the middle of the street for over an hour trying to think of what to do. We had all had it for the night!
“What if we got an uber, and they took half of us back and then they came back for the other half?”
“Wouldn’t we have to pay twice then?”
“We are going to have to, there is nothing else to do about it.”
We had to do something quickly. It was getting extremely late, and we had a tour the next morning. We decided to call an uber and go from there. We had four girls and three guys with us and my stepdad, Shawn, did not want any of the girls to drive with the “Uber Guy” by themselves. So long story short we shoved all four girls in the backseat and Shawn rode in the front. My brothers, yeah…. we left them there. We had the driver take us to our rental and then drive back to get the boys.
It turned out that the uber driver was one of the nicest people we have ever met. He asked about West Virginia and said he wanted to come visit and ride horses. He could not believe people rode horses. While trying to enjoy our ride, thinking the night was getting better, my mom realized something. That the keys to our rental were in the car.
“Oh my God! Our house keys are in the car!”
“What are we going to do?”
“I will call the owner, hopefully she is awake!”
It was 2:30am so our expectations for her being awake were low. My mom called twice, and she didn’t answer so we waited a few minutes and tried again. Thank God she answered the third time. We explained to her what had happened, and she said she would try to look for an extra key. Once we got there, she still didn’t find a key, but she was determined to keep looking. We waited ANOTHER thirty minutes outside in the cold while she searched for the key and the Uber and my stepdad went back to get my brothers.
“I found it!”, we heard the owner yell from inside.
By this time my brothers were back, and we were able to get into the rental. We all decided to head right to bed, skip showers, and try to forget about the chaotic night. I was ready to go home but we still had three more nights, I prayed the rest of the trip would be more peaceful.