She’s’ an Uptown (downtown, midtown, all-around town…) Girl!

by Debra Chappell

View from Staten Island Ferry:


Mood Reading:  ZZZZ’s : (Unlike the night before when I stayed up and got sucked in again to a new season of *Bachelorette , last night I stayed up just long enough to see Catherine and Mark saved on *DWTS and went to bed happy!  In case you’re wondering, I do have standards — I refuse to watch **The Real Housewives of anything.)

* Trash TV – an irresistible indulgence up there with chocolate and good Port.

After lunch with my literary agent near the corner of Madison Avenue and 26th Street, I wandered around New York City’s Flat-Iron district before taking the subway back “Uptown”, closer to my hotel in Manhattan.  I just don’t understand the layout of NYC in the first place.  To me, it seems illogical.

The area that in most cities would typically be called “Downtown” (with all the hotels, Broadway, Theater District, TV studios, chi-chi shopping and  Zagat rated restaurants and where I was staying) is actually called “Midtown”. But if you’re taking the subway, the trains run in either “Uptown” or “Downtown” directions. So if you think your hotel is ‘downtown’ and get on the “Downtown” train (as opposed the “Uptown” train) you wind up in the financial district.  Which reminds me,  Wall Street isn’t  where you think it would be, in the heart of the bustle near Central Park…. it’s  “Downtown” which is well… way the hell out of the way and not anywhere near all the action!  Confused yet?  Then you get my point!

Figuring out which subway train runs where was a bit of a challenge as well, and I have to say the ticketing attendant lived up to the New York “attitude” – which is to say, she wasn’t very helpful.

When I asked her for a ticket to get back to the Radio City Music hall station (uptown), she asked “how many?”

Looking around,  I replied, “Oh, it’s just me – how much?”

She said, “That depends, how many tickets do you want?”

I looked at her puzzled, “Like I said, just one.”

She looked exasperated “but are you going anywhere else?”

I responded, “well, maybe…”

She took an impatient breath, “then how many do you want?”

“Like I said, one will do it for now.”

In her NY way, she looked at me annoyed, “Look, I can’t give you just one ticket, but if you’re going somewhere else as well, you’ll need more than one ticket, so how many do you want?”

I replied with all the restraint I could muster, “well, I don’t know where I’m going later so just one for now.”

Between her tightening teeth she hissed, “I can only sell you 2 or more tickets, how many do you think you’ll need?”

Raising my voice now and more than well aware of the line forming behind me, I seethed, “Hell, I don’t know, just give me a day pass.”

Shaking her head, rolling her eyes (and I’m sure thinking ‘gotta be that blonde thing…’) she exhaled sharply saying, “We don’t do day passes.”

Finally, the older gentleman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and kindly explained, “If you only want a single ticket to a single destination, you have to use the vending machine.  This line is for more than one ticket…and you need one ticket for every separate ride you take.”  FINALLY – why didn’t she just say so!  I thanked him profusely.

I turned around and faced the ticket agent once again.  Standing up straighter and smiling sweetly, I said, “Um excuse me, three please!”  She cocked her head to one side, pulled out her cash drawer and muttered “Lordy, lordy…” while still shaking it.

When I grabbed the tickets from under the glass I couldn’t resist…  I looked up and asked, “Who’s on first?”

The slightest hint of a thin smile crossed her face.  I walked away from her window calling over my shoulder “You have a nice day now!” and headed for the “Uptown” platform.