Failed Trip to NYC

I had the brilliant idea to go see a Jarabe de Palo concert in New York City. You should know that this was one of those half-ass, day of plans.   They are a popular Spanish rock/pop group that have been playing since the mid nineties. I can’t say they are my favorite band but they are enjoyable to listen to.

New York City is just a short 1 1/2 hour commute from Philadelphia, where I am currently living. That time is without traffic. I took the Patco subway outside my Philadelphia apartment to the famous 30th street station, a popular film location in the eighties. The station See the 1981 film Blow Out

, the 1983 film Trading Places

, and the 1985 film Witness

starring Harrison Ford to see it action.


From the train station its just a block away to an informal bus station for discount bus companies like Bolt Bus and Megabus. Both companies offer comfortable buses with Wifi for around $5-$10 one way.

Catching the bus from Philadelphia to New York - Credit:

Boarding these kinds of buses are chaotic because multiple lines form, except the passengers lining up usually do not know whether its for say a bus to New York or Washington. Sometimes the buses fill oversell like an airline, and, well, if you line up for the wrong bus you might be shit out of luck.

The bus to New York City was eventful. Rather than surf the web, I stalked the conversation of two girls my age from the seat behind me. Both came from religious Christian household and “escaped”. They were also vegetarians. They were on their way to South Africa to help starving African children and sight-see. Life is hard.

When they began talking about work my arm hairs jumped up upon hearing she works for a hostel in Philadelphia. There are only two. One week earlier I called one of them asking about whether they had any job openings. I have always wanted to own my own hostel so working in a well run hostel was the first step to getting there. The worker on the phone said they were definitely not hiring.

I interrupted their conversation to tell them I had just spoke to someone from Apple Hostels the week before about a job opening. Did that happen to be you, I asked?

It was her indeed. Just as amazed, she explained that “the hostel gets about 300 applications each time they post a job opening”.

In New York City:

The bus arrived two hours behind schedule because of a car accident. By the time I arrived at seven, the concert had just begun. I had no tickets either because it was a free New York City Summerstage concert in Central Park. While somewhat disappointed, I felt grateful that I would not be missing my flight to Africa like the two girls behind me. The children would have to wait.

I followed the rest of the passengers to the nearest subway station where I grabbed a train headed to Central Park. The subway is complicated. Even with a SmartPhone. I made my first move correctly, taking the subway a good five blocks to Pen Station. The transfer after that did not go so well. Rather than uptown, I went downtown.

I corrected my mistake before it was to late, and arrived to the park at 7:45. I power walked past the zoo to the concert venue.

The line was immensely long, even an hour after the show began. Everyone Latino and their girlfriends, cousins, and unborn children had shown up to hear Jarabe de Palo play. If I were not so practical I would have gone to the paid concert they performed the night before.

The line stretched for many blocks. I walked to the front in desperation, and around to the side to catch a glimpse of the band I had traveled many miles to see. The huge security guys with the loudspeaker announced minutes later that, “the concert is full.” Nobody else would be allowed in.I hovered around the front of the line for a good half hour waiting to pounce on any opportunity to enter. No opportunity came.

Apparently this is what I missed watching.

Somewhat defeated I rode in a taxi back to the Megabus Station to make the decision to return on my original 1AM ticket or return home early.

My new Philadelphia roommate was also in New York City for the day but it was difficult reaching him. As I was waiting in line for the bus, he called.

I took off for Times Square on foot to meet at a Starbucks twenty-some blocks away.

Bright Lights in Times Square, NYC

I was glad to see a familiar face and not completely waste my day. In a sweat we hustled back the same way I came, to Koreatown. He led us to a rooftop bar on the cheesy La Quinta Inn hotel. The separately owned bar shared the elevator with the hotel. It’s a low class budget chain hotel with the kind of guests on the first out of state vacation of their lives. And foreigners. In the elevator we exchange greetings with an overweight family was the American Midwest. Their ten year old daughter had more teeth than her mother and thirty year old brother combined. But they had the famous Midwest charm.

The bar was not cheesy at all. A cold Brooklyn lager awaited us upon arrival to the roof.

Drinks on the roof of La Quinta Inn

The quiet beers on the rooftop improved our mood and we changed locations to a Korean BBQ across the street. Kimchi and gogi gui! A perfect late night dinner.

That is when things turned to shit. The NYPD raided the restaurant for health code violations and mistakenly took our butts to prison. On the way to the prisoner transport van I single handily took out the cop and his partner, and made my escape! Bang, pop, run.

On the Run

The police continued to chase us until….haha just kidding.

After drinks and a quiet dinner we walked back to the bus station. This time we arrived back to our apartment at 3:30 AM after only a one and  1/2 hour bus ride from NYC to Philly.

One last beer back home in Philly to end the night

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Jason Bartoli

"Jason is the best person you'll ever meet here. He's just a ray of sunshine. An adventurer, businessman, and has a 4.9 Uber rating. Lovely person inside and out. I say, go message him" - My Mom

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