We are on the train home from New York City! We’ve been here for a little over a week. I was asked to be an expert witness in a court case, and so that is what brought us to NYC. Half of our trip was expert witnessing, and half was a vacation– Brad has only been to NYC once before (and that was at my sister’s first wedding, so we didn’t do touristy stuff), and he wanted to see what it was like.
Hopefully soon the case will be over and I will be able to tell everyone the result!
We did SO MUCH in NYC! We found out that Brad on adrenaline is more energetic than Veronica on meds… Brad had so many things he wanted to do (and so many video shoots!) that he kept us busy busy busy.
So let’s start with day 0. We caught the Amtrak train up from Charlotte, it was running 7 hrs late. Yes this is pretty normal for an Amtrak train on a long route. We got a sleeper, which includes meals. We boarded at the end of breakfast, and got to eat lunch and dinner on the train. The meals were really quite good! It was nice having our own compartment so that I could lie down when I felt like it. It is so much easier on Brad’s body to take the train 12 hrs than take a 2 or 3 hr flight where he has to sit in the uncomfortable seats. And there is less risk of damage to his chair on the train. So far every time we’ve flown, the chair has been damaged in some way.
We caught the subway to downtown Manhattan where the court case would be, and where our hotel for the first part of the trip was located. If you don’t already know, NYC is not a wheelchair friendly city. Most of their subway stations are not accessible. And those that are often have broken elevators. But it was a cinch getting from Penn Station to our hotel, the subway ride was very easy, and I was SO happy to be riding the subway! When I was a little kid, my favorite thing to do in NYC was always to ride the subway!
Day 1 we went to the lawyers’ offices to prepare for trial. We had to take a taxi there, and oh my gosh was it scary! People in NYC treat traffic lanes as suggestions. There is a lot of almost hitting other cars going on, most of the taxis have dents in them, and there is a LOT of honking. It was wild! But we survived the taxi ride, thank goodness! The taxi ride back to the hotel wasn’t quite as scary, since it was a weekday after work time.
Day 2 we were on standby for the court case. We got all ready just in case, and got some breakfast. I almost fell asleep during breakfast, so we decided to take a nap during the waiting time. I slept until 3PM! I was exhausted!
They ended up not needing me, so we visited Federal Hall museum, and went down to the charging bull statue. We got some good pics of the bull and the girl (fearless I think is the name of her statue) but it was soooooooo crowded. And it was really hot!
Day 3 we went to the courthouse in the AM. The lawyer met us outside and went in with us, just in case we had any problems. The judge wrote an order that Hestia was to be allowed just in case the security people weren’t educated. But the order wasn’t needed 🙂
Turns out that as they were about to start for the day, the judge didn’t want me in the courtroom to hear other peoples’ testimony. So I went to the lobby and tried to nap on the benches there.
At lunch time, I took Hestia for a little walk. One thing about NYC– there is nowhere for dogs to potty! Most of the time we were using weeds growing in cracks as places to potty! There are green spaces around, it’s just that they’re all fenced off. The courthouse had a nice park next to it, though, that had some open grass!
An hour or so after lunch we started my testimony, but it ended up taking longer than we thought. So we had to come back on day 4 to finish.
After we were done with the courthouse, we went to an African burial ground nearby. They had a great monument, and an even better museum. But we didn’t have cameras with us (court doesn’t allow cameras or cell phones inside) so there are no pictures. It was a really good museum, though. We liked it so much that we actually bought a few things in the museum store! Brad got two magnets that had quotes regarding civil rights, and one Obama finger puppet magnet! We both saw that one and had to have it!
On day 4, after the trial we went to Chinatown! Both of us like San Francisco’s Chinatown much better than the NYC Chinatown. But it was still fun to look around, eat some good food, and so on. I ended up buying a couple of hair clips, and showed my haggling prowess in doing so. The hair clips were originally priced at $10 apiece. I got two for $11! Most of the places in Chinatown were not wheelchair accessible.
Day 5 we switched hotels to one closer to Times Square. After checking in, we went to visit Times Square, the HOPE statue and the LOVE statue. Times Square was SO busy. It was really difficult to be there, and there were lots of people haggling about pictures and paying money for taking pictures with various people dressed up as characters. The LOVE statue was really busy, but I liked the HOPE statue the best. In NAMI, the last principle is “We will never give up hope”, so the HOPE statue made me think of NAMI.
The night of Day 5 we went to see Wicked! We picked the most accessible theater, so it was pretty cool to go there. Not only did they have appropriate seating and bathrooms and elevators, but they also had a captioning device that showed the words on a little screen for you to see!
Usually when I see plays or musicals, I am pretty lost for most of it, since I can’t understand what people are saying or singing especially. For the first time ever, I was able to follow a live play’s plot! It was great! Hestia was great, too. She was a bit confused by all the noise and clapping at first. But later on she seemed to realize that there were people down there on stage doing things, so she stood up in my lap and watched! It was sooooo cute! Unfortunately, the only accessible seating is all the way in the back, so it was harder to see things.
Day 6 we went to the American Museum of Natural History. I remember going to this museum as a kid with my dad, so I was expecting a lot out of it. However, I woke up that morning with horrible cramps. We took the bus to the museum, and the walk from the bus stop to the museum nearly wiped me out because of all the pain. So I asked to borrow a wheelchair.
They gave me a bariatric wheelchair (for people with weight issues) and it was so wide I could hardly push myself! So Brad hooked his umbrella to his wheelchair back and I held onto the end and he pulled me around! It was pretty fun and easy, as well. I did get some bruises on my arms, though from not turning quickly enough to avoid getting my arms caught between the chair and the wall. It was really hard being that wide!
The museum was a big let down. I remembered it being soooo awesome as a kid, and my dad always told me about him visiting the museum when he was a kid. So I figured it’d be pretty good. Well, most of the displays hadn’t been changed since I was a kid for sure, and maybe not even since my dad was a kid! They were way out of date, not PC, and dusty! I was very sad. But for some reason it was a top draw for tourists. It was SO crowded there. Really difficult to move around, you know. And most of the exhibits were poorly lit and designed for standing people, so Brad and I couldn’t read a lot of them.
Day 7 was my favorite day. We went to the Museum of the City of New York. We had to take a bus there instead of the subway (accessible stations were too far), but other than that it was great. I was in a lot of pain still, so I borrowed a wheelchair. This one fit me pretty perfectly! And the museum wasn’t too crowded or anything. Brad pulled me as we went from one exhibit to the next, but while we were in the exhibit rooms themselves I was able to roll myself around.
I am now remembering why the purple manual chair was mine to begin with! So that I could be out and about on my high pain days.
The exhibits were great and someone asked about my new shoes, so I got to gab about all the money I saved on them during Prime Day. A lot of the museum was devoted to social justice and civil rights. That is right up our alley. I definitely highly suggest visiting this museum should you be in NYC. My favorite part of the museum was an interactive exhibit where you could read about different people and animals important to young New York. I read about pigs(!!!) who used to roam NYC streets. I read about horses and their incredible amounts of poop and pee. I read about beavers who were hunted so much they couldn’t live in the area.
Day 8, that’s today, we tried to take the subway to Penn station from our hotel. However, the elevator at that station was unexpectedly closed. Huge bummer. It was pouring rain, and I didn’t want to ruin my shoes walking in water, so Brad and I split up. I went by subway, and he went by power chair to the station. We met up at the Amtrak counter, after Brad spent 5-10 min trying to find an accessible entrance to Penn Station.
One more note about NYC, we had WONDERFUL food while we were there. We went to grub hub for delivery almost every night. We had wonderful Indian food, South Indian food, Thai food, Mexican food, etc! All of it was very very good.
Brad is still processing photos, so no pics yet. I will make a new blog entry once the pics are done!