Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lesser of Two Evils

Jena-bird took her tenth plane ride last week, back to NYC from UT. She was a trooper - but I'll tell you, the final leg of our trip from JFK-home nearly did me in. Since living in NYC for the last seven+ years, we've had three options regarding transportation to and from the airport.

1. Cab
2. Friend with a car
3. MTA (public transport)

Option #1 is by far the most expensive. From Upper Manhattan to JFK is a cool $60. Even the return averages out to $60 (even though city law regulates a flat fare of $45) because of tolls and tip. LaGuardia is better - and typically costs around $35 either way. Taking a cab is the most convenient choice, and one which we've chosen more frequently since last year's addition to our family.

Option #2 is always a blessing if we can find it. Of course we pay for gas, tolls, and time - but it still comes in under the cost of a cab.

Option #3 is usually avoided, if only because of the sheer amount of time it takes. The bus from LaGuardia-home is only about a 45 minute ride. But the train from JFK-home - you're looking at a minimum 90 minute journey once you leave baggage claim.

So why would someone give up a view of this:

for a view of this:

It always boils down to the buck, doesn't it? In these economically lean times blowing $60 on a cab has to be traded for the $2 ride on the train.

Now, I knew it would be a challenge with a 22-month old. But truly, I had no idea.
And the challenge wasn't her - it was everything else. Lugging a large suitcase, a diaper bag, a large purse and a baby on my hip didn't seem too daunting when I thought it out in my mind. What I had forgotten was the distances between the gate and baggage claim, baggage claim and the AirTrain, the AirTrain and the subway. And all the stairs.
And all the people.
And all the lines.
And I would greet all of these following a 5hourredeyeflightonwhichIgotnosleepandarrivedinNYCwithaverytiredtoddler

When I finally lugged on to the AirTrain and collapsed into a seat with my three bags balanced on top of each other and my 28-lb Jena strapped to my side in a sling, my trembling hands dialed my cellphone. I didn't expect the hot tears to appear as quickly as they did, but as soon as I heard SuperTrav's voice on the other end, they had no choice.
"I'm barely holding it together," I whispered into the phone.

I talked. He listened. I regrouped. I let the tears fall down my cheeks for another three stops and breathed a sigh of relief when I heard, "The next stop is Station A". When the shuttle pulled up, I summoned my strength and my thighs and rolled out the sliding doors into the station. I knew that once I was on the subway, I could rest for a good hour and a quarter.

So let's pretend that I'm now relating all the struggles to get on to the A train.
Now I'm on the A train.
And now I'm home.

Whew! That was exhausting!!

So which is worse? Having to fork over $60 or traveling alone with a toddler on public transport after a red-eye? Let's just say that replenishing my strength is a whole lot easier - and a whole lot more fun - than replenishing my wallet!

I need to add that another airport option we have is to get a Zip Car. For less than half the cost of a cab, we can have a car and do the driving ourselves! Highly recommended!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The thought of doing that myself, makes me wanna say, "blech, bluch, blah". You are Wonder Woman.