After some crazy hurricane-related delays, I'm here with the rest of my New York story. Then the hurricane story! I'd best get writing!
We arrived in New York around noon. I did not wear my hearing aid, and so the ways I experienced the city are different from many people. I noticed first of all that the steps going to and from the subway are super steep. Immediately I wondered how people who use wheelchairs, scooters or walkers use the subway. Do they just not ride it?
We stopped quick for some Star Bucks and then started walking toward the theater. A Deaf man saw my SSP and me signing to each other and came up to say "hi." I thought that was really neat. We took another subway and arrived at the theater district. The aromas of the nearby hotdog stand encouraged me to buy my first New York hotdog. It was delicious, with ketchup and mustard. Once we were done eating, we went into the Majestic Theater for Phantom of the Opera. We had to climb a bunch of narrow, twisting steps to get to our private box. The handrails were made of carved iron, and the whole place seemed very old and full of history. I arrived at our box to find cushy chairs and a pillow atop a table upon which we rested our arms during the performance.
When the play was over, we went to Times Square. The first store was Toys R Us. The store has giant models of the buildings which make up the New York skyline, and they are all made of legos. When I walked into the store, I was amazed at the size. I could feel the excitement of everyone brushing against my skin, and nobody needed to tell me that this place would be really loud, if I could hear. I touched several building models and enjoyed the many different styles of architecture. Sometimes I forget that buildings do not look all the same. Frequently, the different styles of architecture are lost on me. By touching the different buildings, I got a better sense of what things looked like. And the whole time, I felt it, on my skin, the bustling, loud excitement of the place.
We eft Toys R Us and walked through Times Square. I could smell meat cooking, onions, people all around, and cars. All of that formed a sort of mix of smells. My SSP described the many different things going on. There were people dressed up as different characters. There were Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Elmo from Sesame Street, Sponge Bob, and Shrek, the green ogre. There were so many people. It was like Mardi Gras, and Super Bowl Sunday in the French Quarter when the Saints played all rolled together. Laveau did a great job at following and keeping me on the right path.
We got on yet another subway to go to Central park. This train had something sticky spilled all over the floor and I remember being worried that Laveau would get her coat all nasty. We got out, and walked to Central park. The smells were different here-- of grass, and dirt, and horses. My SSP described to me all of the people and dogs going about different activities. Some were walking, others playing frisbee, or just sitting on the grass, enjoying the afternoon. We sat on the grass for a while and enjoyed the beautiful day. We eventually got up and bought some water from a vender on the street. I was so thirsty that I drank my bottle all down in one go.
Next, we were off to China Town for dinner. More subways, and this time we emerged upon a world which smelled of spices, and fish. We walked around and eventually found a place to eat. I had wonderful steamed veggies in a delicious sauce. I also had some hot tea. The food was amazing. I would love to go back there again.
Once we had finished eating, we got on another subway and went back to Times Square. By this time, it was dark, outside. All of the buildings were lit up. Because I can see contrast, I could sort of see the buildings. It reminded me of Christmas, with all of the many-colored lights. I couldn't see the buildings the same way a sighted person could-- with all of the detail. I mostly saw tall colorful blobs.
By that point, we were super tired. I needed to run into a Walgreens and find some canned tuna or something for Laveau to eat. Times Square has to have the biggest WalGreens ever. It was three levels and is just huge. I thought we'd never find our way out of there. But eventually we did, and it was more subway riding, and then connecting to the Long Island Railroad to go back to HKNC!
I really loved my time in New York City, but I feel like I hadn't even scratched its surface, and am eager to spend more time there!