New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, July 27, 2009

No Fusilli


Things start well enough on Sunday - my mother calls to wish me Happy Birthday, and from my window, I see a partly sunny day. I suggest to my girlfriend that we go to the Bronx Zoo, something which I had not done in years.
We opt for public transportation - the subway has a zoo stop.  A short distance outside, however, and it is clear that this is going to be a hot and very humid day. But I remain optimistic - trains are air-conditioned, and the zoo is shaded and also has indoor exhibits.

This trip requires two trains, a local to the express. When we get to Astor Place, however, the local train is not running at all. Out to the street for a six-block walk to Union Square for the express train.
Signs indicate that the number 5 train is also not running for the weekend. We jump in the first express train which arrives quickly - things are starting to look up.

But once we arrive in the Bronx, I notice the stops don't look quite right. That's because only the number 5 runs to the zoo, not the 4 which we had taken. A brief conversation with a passenger confirms my mistake and that I will have to take a bus across Fordham Road. We exit the train, armed with our Metro Cards, expecting a free transfer.
However, the bus driver indicates that we need to go back to the machine on the street and purchase reduced price tickets at $1.10 each for this BX12 bus.
Off the bus. Buy tickets. Back on the bus. The ride across Fordham Road is quite depressing.

Our stop is Southern Boulevard, and the driver tells me I have a choice of two entrances. I forget the East Fordham Road entrance is the main one, which is quite beautiful. Instead, we traipse nearly twice as far down Southern Boulevard for what feels like an interminable distance in the heat to finally arrive at the side entrance. We see "The Complete Experience" listed for $27 per person, with no posting of general admission prices. This already smells of a zoo sadly doing badly. Being late in the day, we opt for general admission at $15 each.

The day's humidity is almost unbearable, even in the shaded areas of the zoo. We quickly learn that many of the best exhibits are part of The Complete Experience and can be purchased ala carte. $6 more gets us into the Congo Gorilla Forest - can't miss that. We watch a movie, and the screen lifts to a live panorama of gorillas.

I overhear a disappointed father of a family asking his wife who is reading a map - "No elephants?" (there are only two left which can only be seen from the Bengali Express monorail). We decide to purchase a drink after building up a thirst and $2.75 buys a small bottle of water.

A zoo employee tells me that the zoo closes at 5:30 PM, so I pace myself for that. However, an announcement at 5PM tells us the zoo is now closed, so we barely get to the gardens and exhibits at the main entrance, which I was saving until last.

We exit and make our way back to the Fordham Road bus stop. We purchase those silly tickets for the crosstown BX12 and wait at the bus stop, confident that we have the system mastered. The bus arrives quickly, but it stops inexplicably some distance before the stop and we miss it. Not to be fooled, we move, and the next bus stops behind us. A quick jog in the heat with camera equipment in tow, and we just make the bus.

The train ride itself is uneventful. But at our final stop, I notice a man with a VERY wet umbrella - he confirms a torrential downpour outside. This provides a most amazing photo opportunity and, of course, a wet journey home. The streets are littered with downed tree branches.

We decide to go Indian for a birthday dinner. The place I frequent is typically nearly empty, but tonight the place is packed, and there are a couple of huge parties. We are seated at one of the few remaining tables. We wait for some time, but I have a bad feeling that this will be a painfully slow process, so we leave as gracefully as possible.

My spirits pick up as we opt for Trattoria Spaghetto just a few short blocks away. They are also unusually crowded, and the only remaining table is sandwiched between the kitchen and the service exit to the street used by the waiters. Not daunted by eating on a super highway, we sit and get our menus. I do not need to even open mine, because I am ready to order my favorite dish here: Fusilli Puttanesca. However, our waiter informs me that he is sorry, because tonight there is no fusilli :(

22 comments:

Gunn White said...

Wow, what a day!! :-(
BUT the photo is SUPERB! ;-)

Brian Dubé said...

Gunn - thanks. Hoping the story wasn't too long - but the day felt longer.

Thérèse said...

Happy birthday!

I don't like zoos but I must admit the Bronx one is something really really special. We went by train and came back by bus and saw sooo much on the way.

marley said...

Oh dear, not the best birthday ever but at least you got a great photo! Happy belated birthday :)

hope n laughter said...

That reminds me of the book Horrible Terrible No Good Very Bad Day where nothing goes right all day long. It at least makes a good story to retell.

Brian Dubé said...

Marley - I did get a good photo and great experience for a story.

hope n laughter - I read that book as an adult - great uplifting story!

Leeds in Yorkshire daily photo - Paul said...

Perhaps not the best birthday but a memorable one and a great photo too.
I spent my 19th birthday in the regimental cells.
Happy Birthday Brian, even if a little late.

Mirela said...

What a day and what a photo! Amazing shot!

George said...

I was outside during the downpour. It felt like monsoon season.

Michelle Johnson said...

Happy Birthday Brian! Sorry your day didn't go as planned. But, I do love that photo.

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

Wow. At first, I thought the photo was an art installation, not just nature intruding on a built environment. Very cool picture--happy birthday, sir, even if it was a less than stellar day for you.

ChickenUnderwear said...

You really should get an anally membership to the New York Zoological Society. You get into all the exhibits and you don't have to feel rushed. You can go back whenever you want.

and

It get you into to the Queens, Central Park and Prospect Park Zoos as well as the Aquarium in Conney Island.

Brian Dubé said...

Thanks all for your birthday wishes and complements on today's photo and empathy on my day of small inconveniences.
ChickenUnderwear - whatever one does, it is a good idea to allow ample time to go through the zoo. It's a huge property with lots to see.

Michael Nagle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan T said...

Happy belated birthday !!
Loving the blog
Ryan

Jodi said...

Brian - Happy BBD from Maine. That wasn't a long story because it read so FAST!!! Thanks for the read and the memory. Have a great week.

Rob Moses said...

Wicked photo! Love it.

Mary said...

Really great shot. Belated birthday wishes.

The zoo really is in sad shape, isn't it?

Josef said...

Happy belated birthday! May you and the blog go on forever. Thanks for sharing the ups and downs of the day! Great photo...hope the camera stayed dry...

JAMES DIXON said...

After all that and no freeking Fusilli Puttanesca! I'd have to stab somebody with a fork in the eye!!! So what did you have?

Brian Dubé said...

James - They had penne, so they made me penne puttanesca. I just prefer those spirals:)

Anonymous said...

you should've driven your car.