So I’m in Oslo now having survived the brutal trip from Milwaukee to the Newark airport, and from there to Brooklyn where I spent the night with my nephew and niece (Hi Gail, I didn’t have time although I did think about you quite often while I was there whirlwinding my way hither and tither) and then it was back to Newark and off to Oslo the next day.
Newark is the only city in the country with a direct flight to Oslo. And if you want to stop for a night and see your relatives or college friends in NYC it’s a simple trip from Newark to Penn Station as I discovered on my last trip. Unfortunately, after that, getting off the train and standing alone in the bowels of New York City with the swirling humanity surrounding you can be a tiny bit off putting and the New York subway system leaves much to be desired in terms of getting elsewhere.
On my last trip the unhelpful guy at the “information” desk in Penn Station told me angrily that there are no subways leaving from Penn Station “IT’S A TRAIN STATION!!!” which is technically true. But, I discovered this time, you can simply wheel your bags over to the 34th Street subway station which is practically visible from that information desk. From there according to Google Maps it’s a 20 minute trip to Brooklyn. What Google Maps does not explain is that the reason the line on the map from the 34th St station to Brooklyn changes color is that you have to change trains at some point. And theoretically this too should be easy if you were, say a New Yorker, and knew what the fuck you were doing.
I may have mentioned that I don’t travel lightly. I have BAGGAGE. In more ways than one. My suitcase is pretty much the size, weight and shape of a davenport. But this trip to Brooklyn with a train change, seemed not so daunting even with a couch. I mean, I have done it before, fer chrissake, I thought. You get off the (let’s say) A train and transfer at Hoyt-Schermerhorn to the G line (that’s 8 stops down). Easy. You don’t even have to go to a different platform. Just get off and get onto a G train. You just need to be sure the train you’re getting onto is going in the right direction.
Gosh, I thought distractedly, these stops have the same names as the ones we just came from. So that was fun. I leapt off the train (as much as one can leap with a divan) at the next stop which, if you were, you know, a New Yorker, you’d know you CANNOT TRANSFER AT THAT STATION TO THE OTHER SIDE!!!! Fortunately a very nice employee of the NYC Transit Authority opened a chain link gate allowing me to actually get to the other side. It was nice but it did involve quite a great deal of stairs. There’s more, I’ll spare you. I got to Brooklyn had dinner. My niece and nephew took me to have pizza. That alone would have been enough to have made up for the difficulty of the trip but this pizza was right straight out of this world. I cannot even explain why it was so different. But it was. Unlike anything I’ve ever had, and worth a trip back to Brooklyn although maybe not on the G line.
The next day rather than endure another hellish campaign across and through the pitiless and confusing underbelly of New York with a 74 pound suitcase twisting my arm out of my shoulder joint I called Uber. It was expensive-ish and super slow. Christ, traffic in New York. But anything would have been better and cheaper than the subway and the orthopedic surgery I was sure I’d need.