Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Amsterdam to Newawrk
Everybody makes fun of New Jersey. Most people around here view it as the ugly step-child's even uglier hemorrhoid of America. But New Jersey isn't all that bad. Sure it has it's downsides, but every state has downsides. Texas has Houston, New York has David Patterson, Alaska has Sarah Palin, Connecticut has ghosts, and California has irritatingly perfect weather.
But there is one downside to New Jersey that makes it almost unbearable to even be near; Newark Liberty Airport.
Lets rewind for a second.
It is time to board by flight from Amsterdam to Newark. I've just left the elite lounge where I embarrassed the hell out of myself. I arrive at the security checkpoint at the gate (this is a weird but interesting feature of the Amsterdam airport... instead of one big security checkpoint, each gate has its own). At this point, I have gone through security and customs in many different countries, and never once did I have any problem with the small screw drivers I carry with me for my job. Of course, on my last leg home, do I run into an issue.
"I'm sorry sir, you can't carry on these tools", said the security ladywoman™.
"But, I have carried them on through three countries, including this one, so far", I said in an amazing voice.
"you can't bring tools onto a plane that is headed to America", she said.
"What if something breaks on the plane? I could fix it", I hilariously countered.
She just gave me a blank stare.
I had to check my tiny carry-on suitcase. LAME5000™
I boarded first with the other elite members and sat down in my seat. At the last minute, I had selected the bulkhead exit row, which offers unlimited legroom. I figured this would be a nice change from the flight I just got off of from Kilimanjaro where the guy in front of me had his seat back the whole time.
Although I had plenty of legroom, again, some too-wide, Jersey shore type guy sat down in the middle seat next to me. Great, now I get to spend 9.5 hours twisted in my seat to avoid literally mushing my muscular arm and shoulder against a guido.
We sat on the tarmac for a while for a reason I cannot remember. Probably fear™. The flight attendant, for reasons I cannot explain, made the three of us in our particular row mimosas. I really wasn't in the mood for alcohol, but I wasn't going to let a good drink made via excellent intentions go to waste. I drank it, and regretted it. I had a nice headache for a few hours.
The flight was long. I just wanted to get home. I tried to sleep; fail. I tried to read my book; fail. I tried to compose a symphony; fail (not challenging enough).
After 9 hours of trying to keep my mind off of my torture, we landed... at Newark.
I was home. I blasted through customs and passport control, waited for an hour for my bag to be delivered, and made it to my taxi. Now comes the part that sucks. It took me 2 hours to get home. The Port Authority lists Newark as a New York City area airport. IT IS NOT. Its pretty far away from New York city, in another state; New Jersey. The reason why New Jersey sucks is because it is a huge pain to get to and from when you live or work in New York, unless you live on the water. But even if you live and work right on top of train stops, the NJ Transit and Path trains are subject to frequent outages and failures. But if you have to drive... on a Friday afternoon... you'd be better off just stabbing yourself in the brains.
Newark is not easy to get to, it is not a good alternative to JFK or LaGuardia... avoid it if you can (if you live in NYC). The absolute fastest I've ever gotten there (when there was no traffic) was one hour. But that was at 6 in the morning. During regular-as-hell hours, expect at least 1.5 to 2 hours to get to this destination.
What I think is the most frustrating part is that Newark is only 18 miles from Queens and Brooklyn. If it wasn't New Jersey, that 18 miles could take you as little as 20 minutes. But since there are only limited, stupid ways of getting to NJ, it takes a billion years (give or take an epoch or two).
Thats why nobody in NY likes NJ. Well.. maybe its part of why.