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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Looking for an Angel

There's no secret why anyone is at Port Authority Bus Terminal. As far as transportation, this is the home of the last option. Other than the Chinatown bus, the cheapest option. A nexus for people who have no other option, no other options at the time, or are between better options.

Today is Thanksgiving, a day to give thanks. And if you are fortunate enough not to have to travel by bus, you have something to be thankful for. Most New Yorkers have, at one time, arrived by bus at Port Authority and know that there are much better places to be welcomed to New York City.

In fact, I rarely put it this bluntly, but Port Authority is depressing as hell and, regardless of renovations, always has been. It is also a magnet for hucksters, hustlers, thieves, and the homeless. There are not too many smiles, and unlike a place such as Grand Central, you are never going to hear people say that they love Port Authority. This is the place that is truly inhospitable. There are no cushions here, nothing to soften against a city that can indeed feel harsh at times. If you want to experience the true grit of New York, head for Port Authority.

I am not sure about many things, but I am sure that I was the only person who traveled to Port Authority last night, solely to carouse, peruse, and look for an angel based on the story a friend told me of an extraordinarily heart warming incident. She was traveling yesterday to New Jersey to see family with her elderly mother.

Upon arrival at the terminal, she was approached by a homeless woman who offered to help. But this was not just a ruse or a quick task for money. This was HELP. She escorted them through the entire process, door to door. Carrying their bags, navigating through the crowds and corridors, purchasing tickets, and seeing them off. My friend was so moved that she told the homeless woman that she was an angel and, in the ensuing rush before boarding the bus, was able to extricate and give her $13 from her bag.

So, last night at 10:15 PM, I went to Port Authority to find that angel. If you are reading these words and look forward to a miraculous outcome, i.e., that I found that angel and spoke to her and photographed her, then read no further. Because I did not find her.

There were lines and crowds, as to be expected. No one was in a good mood. All had only one desire - to leave the terminal and get to their destinations for Thanksgiving. I did find one homeless woman eating in a corner. I told her of my mission and asked if she was perhaps that angel or knew of a homeless woman who might fit the description. She did not. I got the feeling that she thought I was insane. Perhaps she is right. Who travels willingly to Port Authority on the night before Thanksgiving, looking for an angel?

Thanksgiving Posts: Thanksgiving 2009, Thanksgiving 2008, Horn of Plenty, Inflation


Anonymous said...

Who indeed travels willingly to Port Authority on the night before thanksgiving, looking for an angel?
Brian Dube of course! and that's why you have so many regular and faithful followers of your blog. We know that there's a good chance we will share and experience something we would not otherwise. Cheers, country NSW Australia.

Rigel said...

Maybe you don't look for angels. Maybe they come to you.

ρομπερτ said...

A deep bow in respect.

daily athens photo

Brian Dubé said...

Anonymous - Wow - thank you so much.

Rigel - Wow - very kind of you.

ρομπερτ - I appreciate that.

Bree said...

I actually love port authority.

Leslie said...

I, too, find the PA depressing as hell but have made good use of it when necessary.

Another great bus deal, the best I've ever found, is Megabus. It's cheap because it's all online. The first ticket sold is $1 and it goes up from there to $25 for DC and Boston. I used to get a round trip to Providence for $8 and a $.50 surcharge. Ridiculous, eh?!

CaT said...

haha, yes, i once arrived and left there by bus and it drove me crazy..
just 2 months ago i took the chinatown bus and liked it much better! (and it was cheaper), a lovely and cheap dinner just close to the busstop, and only 5 minutes before departure we went to the bus. (i also read your 2008 post on fung wah).