By A.J. Roberts
Oct. 14, 2019
Last week The New York Times published a glowing article on spending 36 Hours in Milwaukee. We happily welcomed them to our DW Pub. So, like an alternating family Christmas, it was our turn to hit the road and visit NYC.
Richard, the Drink Wisconsinbly boss-man, asked me if I had plans for the weekend. The Packers weren't playing until Monday night so I was free. He didn't like the idea of paying for a "vacation" but did offer me a gently-used VHS box set of Season 1 of NYPD Blue, which I happily accepted. Visions of grand architecture, world famous museums, and mediocre sports teams danced in my head.
1) 1 p.m. Getting there
Ticket booked. Airport bound. You can find plenty of reasonable prices from O'Hare or Midway to JFK but they all involve driving to Illinois. I'll stick with Milwaukee's General Mitchell. It's nicer in every way and you can drink Spotted Cow at the gate. Recruit a neighbor to drop you off, take an Uber, borrow a horse. Use your imagination.
2) 6 p.m. JFK International
Landed. This airport is really big. Like massive, noisy, and everyone is rushing and pushing but not "ope"-ing. Here's a fun fact: JFK is so far from Manhattan in travel terms that I'd label it as false advertising. We might as well call General Mitchell Airport "Waukegan International". I feel betrayed. I checked a small suitcase but haven't seen it since.
3) 9:30 p.m. Leaving JFK
Don't expect the happy yellow cab driver from the movies. I had to argue with the driver for 20 minutes before we left the terminal. It turns out they don't haggle and every driver in New York is friends with a man called Big Tony. We started creeping our way towards New York City and eventually made it, crossing into the giant cityscape like Frodo entering Mordor with my final squeaky cheese curd nestled in my pocket. My precious. I held it tightly. It was all becoming quite frightening.
4) 10:30 p.m. Sightseeing
Passed a sign for Hamilton and saw a cowboy in his underwear. Still holding my precious tightly.
5) 11 p.m. Food
There's food everywhere, and I wanted to try some of New Yorks's famous pizza. My slice was flopping around like the back end of a Musky, but after a couple two three folds it was more manageable.
6) 11:02 p.m. No food
A very large man down the side of one of the big buildings took my pizza and my wallet and my… my… my last curd. It's like Mad Max over here.
7) 1:30 a.m. Central Park
Like many other destitute and lost people of New York I ended up in Central Park. It was more like home. I already missed home. If I squeezed my eyes together really tight then I could ignore the concrete jungle around me and could pretend I was back in Wisconsinland. I watched two men under a bridge fight over a game of dice. It made me smile. I've done that at a bar or two.
8) 5 a.m. Central Park
Woke up on a bench. Pigeons recognized my dejection and didn't even bother with me. Started walking.
9) 4 p.m. Somewhere in the city
Walked aimlessly for much of the day and my luck turned. After befriending a precocious young boy from the suburbs of Chicago, I was put in touch with a travelling polka band. They were on their way to Sheboygan in a U-Haul and were more than happy to have me tag along so I could get back to my family before Monday Night Football.
10) 11 a.m. Kenosha
Enjoyed country fried steak at Cracker Barrel and told tales of Starr and Favre and Rodgers and it was easily the highlight of the trip.
11) 1 p.m. Milwaukee
There's a light snow flurry to welcome me back. I missed you too.
My Bed. Comfortable, secure, well-priced. 5 stars.
Central Park bench. Not comfortable, cheap, nice view, noisy. 1 star.
Belly of a bulbous man named Gus in the back of a U-Haul. Don't knock it til you've tried it. Snuggly. 3 stars.
Edited by Richard Lorbach, because A.J. gets wordy and doesn't use spell check.