There have been recent important amendments to the laws and rules surrounding the use of credit cards, particularly affecting those involved in laundry transactions – not laundering transactions, I could see the point in that. There must have been extraordinary amounts of fraud and misuse by people attempting to load credit onto their laundry cards, so much so that those infidels who dare to dirty their laundry and then have the hide to use a non-US credit card to try and pay in advance have been stopped in their tracks. We were stopped in our tracky dacs (so to speak – for those who know us surely realise that we have no such items of apparel). There is a laundry in the basement, of the kind so familiar to Australians who grew up on a steady diet of American TV, where a card with credit on it is required to activate the machines and dryers. Our kind host left detailed re-charging instructions which included the phrase, “US Credit Card…”, but neglected to advise how one might get around this little issue. She suggested a $10 re-charge was the minimum and would be adequate for the average tourist with the average amount of laundry.
Suffice to say, we could only get around the problem by using an automated system that required a minimum amount of $25 (which means we will need to stay and wash clothes for several more months), but this was far more appealing than the other option the laundry card guy recommended – visit a Walmart and buy a gift card. I have two major issues with that suggestion (and a host of minor ones). Onely, I said to Pip before we embarked on this trip to the US that I will not visit a Walmart. We were discussing the pros and cons of lamb v goat at the time, so it came as a surprise to her. My reasoning was that a company that makes profits in the billions should not have a large proportion of its staff eligible for food stamps – if that’s not true I apologise, but I read it on the electronic interweb so I feel it must be true. Twoly, it’s Walmart and I feel I’m better than that. Actually, I’m fairly hinky about anything that ends in mart. Washing will commence tomorrow. Wait, there are three major issues – as number big son pointed out, that’s some kind of gift card! Who gives the gift of laundry?
Feeling wrung out by the washing fracas (see what I did there…) we dressed in our remaining fresh clothes and aimed our direction finding apps in the direction of Battery Park. This involved navigating to a quaintly named station called Bowling Green, for reasons still not absolutely apparent to me. A short stroll through the squirrel infested Battery Park, stopping at the WWII Memorial and avoiding the teeming masses offering Statue of Liberty tours, cruises and helicopter flights and we made the Staten Island Ferry terminal, which we had been reliably tipped off would sail us (the ferry not the terminal) right by the Statue and afford us ample photographic opportunities gratis. I have mentioned earlier that our group harboured no desires to actually set foot on Liberty Island or to insert ourselves into the thing – happy we were with a photo opportunity and on to Staten Island which increases to our Burroughs count to four with the Bronx still outstanding. .
It takes 25 minutes to travel from the bottom tip of Manhattan to the Island and there is a huge orange ferry every 15 minutes to half and hour depending on the time of the day. We only stayed long enough to have some lunch at Pop’s Sandwich Shop, which seemed to have a range of police themed sandwiches and rolls and a steady flow of NYPD badged clientele. Pip plumped for the Justice and Liberty burger, while I avoided the Hill Street Blues burger and took the proprietors heart-felt recommendation of a Smoked Bacon Cheddar Burger. He was right – I could feel my heart afterwards. Fine burgers, though number young son opted for a mere muffin and a kwafee.
After returning to the Manhattan Island, we rode the 4 train right on up to Grand Central Station (riding trains we are now…) and visited the magnificent concourse so familiar to movie-goers and it was magnificent and it was familiar and it offered the greatest prize of all in New York City – public toilets. Five blocks east past the Chrysler Building to the UN building, just for a look really, then six blocks back to Park Avenue, then a fatal error – the decision to walk to Niketown, rather than catch a cab. Remember how our feet, knees and calves had been problematic a few days ago and how various remedies, salves and wadding had been applied? Niketown was 12 blocks north and two west and about three blocks in my blisters began complaining that I wasn’t treating them nice anymore. Niketown was a sneaker stop for number big son – a long time collector and walking advert for AirMax. We were fine advertisements for the athletic bona fides of the Nike store as we hobbled around its five floors smiling at the ridiculously friendly, athletic-looking staff just waiting to help us. They helped number big son into a pair of black and navy AirMaxs and they helped us into a bit of gear for number young son, but I really wanted them to help me to a cab back to Brooklyn. We were required to help ourselves to that cab, right outside Tiffany’s on Fifth Ave