To kick off Memorial Day weekend we decided a nice day in Central Park was in check. This time, Scooter was on for the ride. Scooter might be the sweetest dog to people, but he suffers from a little bit of little man syndrome when it comes to other dogs. I haven’t quite figured it out, but nonetheless he enjoys being the only child and having all of the attention. That being said, I bought him a training collar that looks more like a torture device than a collar, but it has helped I’d say a good 90% in his walking abilities! So after about a month of walking on his training collar I decided it was okay to bring the wiener dog to the park. For the most part he was pretty well-behaved!
I bought him a bone and brought his hedgehog toy for the ride to keep him full of distractions. It mostly worked.. he did a couple of flips on his stake going after a couple of dogs, but I’ll give him a little credit. It ended up being a pretty hot day though so to keep Scootie cool I basically just poured most of my water bottle over him. He didn’t seem to mind though.
Our evening plans is where things got a little bit interesting. We decided we wanted to go plan mini-golf! Sounds like a good idea for a little fun right? Donna and I had never been there before so we were putting our trust in Chris. We got a little later start than we wanted to, but decided to go anyways around 8. Chris explained we had to take the subway up to 125th and then take a bus onto the island. Personally, anything above 100th I try and avoid unless I am due for a Target trip. So we were already preparing for all that Harlem had to offer.
It’s not really a place I’d want to hang out on a regular basis let’s just put it that way. Maybe I just grew up a little over-protected in our small little town, but walking down the street feeling like the next person you pass is either going to steal your purse or pull a knife on you isn’t the best feeling! We wanted to go Mini Golfing though and knew we just had to catch a bus right off the subway stop so how could it really be right?! We got off the subway to a large crowd of men that all looked as though they may or may not be criminals waiting to be transported. I try and not be a very judgemental person, but let’s just say it was a pretty rough crowd. Donna and I decided we were going to avoid as much time waiting for the bus and ran into the nearest Duane Reade (Like Rite Aid) to grab a drink. While checking out the cashier was talking to us about their armed security guard. I’m not sure why he started talking to us about that, but when you’re in a drugstore that has to have an armed security guard it’s not really a good sign.
Chris grabbed us in the checkout line to let us know the bus had arrived. Yippee, yay, yay! I was feeling very good about this bus ride after seeing the crowd and the drugstore conversation let me tell you. We got on a crowded bus with standing room only where we and everyone else soon realized we didn’t really belong on. There was some man in the back yelling at a guy in the front profanities and who knows what else. We’re pretty sure we witnessed a drug deal too. I just stared at Donna and tried to ignore everyone staring at us like we were a roasting turkey on Thanksgiving. I think it may have been the longest and most uncomfortable bus ride in my life.
After making it onto what was definitely Randall’s Island we started to wonder if we weren’t stopping because there weren’t stops or because we weren’t pressing the button. Chris realized he really wasn’t that sure, and I stopped Donna before she pulled out her iPhone to check! So then, we had to make our way to the front of the bus to see which of the two was happening. I was terrified to be around the people on the bus, let alone have to weave through them to make it to the front. Once we made it to the front we realized we had indeed missed our stop and would have to stay on the bus longer until it turned around. It was then that this man remarked about Donna’s Mets sweatshirt. He then asked me which team I liked and me being too afraid to say the Yankees after he remarked about the Mets mumbled off I wasn’t from here. Chris opened his loud mouth and told them I was a Yankees fan though. If I died at that moment you could have blamed him. The guy was actually a Yankees fan though so it ended up being okay. He then told us we were lucky to be in good company and kind of took us under his wing. He then kept talking to me about how he didn’t understand why people were so racist and everyone on the bus hated us. Always a good thing to hear right? He finished off saying white people have nice hair and smiles and something else.. then we reached the final bus stop where everyone on the bus got off except a couple of people at Charles H. Gay Shelter.
Now everything started to make sense. What Chris failed to mention before we agreed to this expedition was that the only things on Randall’s Island also known as Ward’s Island is home to the Mini Golf place, sports fields, and most notably a Psychiatric center and the largest homeless shelter in New York. Apparently they have a curfew of 9 at the center and we must have caught the last bus to the island before curfew! Awesome, just awesome. We made it to mini golf though and ended up having a great time once Donna and I settled down a little. Hands down the most terrified I have ever been in my life.
Notes to the traveler or future visitor or New York.. 1.) Don’t hang out on 125th street in Harlem. It really is just like the movies portray it. 2.) Don’t go to Randall’s Island after dark!