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This twenty-something year old nodeshell was clearly intended for the film of the same name by John Carpenter. For the record that isn't what this is. I will leave that for someone else to write.

My wife and I have made one trip to New York City and this is the story of that March 2007 adventure. My wife had been Yearbook advisor for a year or so at the high school at which she taught. She was assigned to do a continuing education training in NYC and I was invited to go along. Round trip tickets were purchased and Hotel reservations made. The school would pay her way and we would pay mine.

We landed at LaGuardia and rode a Yellow Cab to Hotel Pennsylvania, where we had reservations. The pretty Russian desk clerk insisted that she had no reservation on their computer for us. We begged to differ and a harrowing hour or two later they finally found us on the machine. The hotel was aged but opulent and located directly across from an entrance to Madison Square Garden and a major hub of the subway system. We purchased cards for a week's worth of subway use and that was the coolest! We could explore to our hearts' content. I had my laptop and decent wifi and was fine with forced leisure in the hotel room while she learned the fine art of yearbook publishing. After the day's lesson we would pick a spot to eat dinner and sightsee. We felt that we owned the town and the town teased open our major credit cards and showed us who owned whom. If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere, 'cause it ain't cheap.

On our to-do list was seeing a play and I picked "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" which was cute. Wifey was not satisfied and booked us seats for "The Lion King". That was epic to say the least. We experienced it at the Minskoff Theatre and it was definitely the high point of the trip. The next day was St. Patrick's day, Saturday March 17, 2007 and we picked out the ideal spot from which to view the parade. We made our way to the steps of The Met. We were early so we had a look around the museum until time for the parade. There were uniforms and lots of bagpipes and it was cold. Snow was moving into town.

We, of course, visited the site of the World Trade Center debacle. Hard to describe. The main thing that one can't possibly imagine without seeing first hand is the sheer scale. The site was still being cleaned up and was surrounded by chain link fencing. The heavy equipment excavating the site looked like toys. A man was seated by the fence playing a flute softly and there were lots of pictures and messages on the wire of the fence. As a side note, I found it an odd coincidence that the nodeshell this is attached to was created on Sept. 11, 1999, exactly two years before that fateful day.

We both had jobs to get back to and it was time to catch our flight back home to Arkansas. We headed back to LaGuardia and started hearing that the snow had caused delays. There were lines everywhere and it wasn't hard to detect the frustration of travelers who were needing to, well, travel. As we were soon to learn, that was only the beginning of our problems. Our round-trip tickets were with America West Airlines and those lines were the longest and were pretty much stationary. We managed to talk to a couple of people who had already stood in line for hours and started piecing the story together. America West and US Airways had merged computer systems overnight on March 4th preparatory to a merger of the two airlines and the two systems were not playing well together. Ticketing agents, already strained by weather delays, were unable to honor return passes on round trip tickets because of an almost total meltdown of the computer programs they relied on.

We slept in the chairs of the terminal that night and tried to ignore the mouse that came and went as we tried to get some sleep with half an eye on our luggage. Our predicament seemed the worst of times, until we met a group of five girls, exchange students who had been there five nights. These high school students were trying to return home to Brazil. They were dividing up a couple of McDonald's Happy Meals purchased with the last of their traveling funds. After our uncomfortable night we interviewed a handful of folks who had succeeded in getting to the agents. Same story, "We can't guarantee you a flight tomorrow", "We don't know when". We thought about trying JFK airport but decided against it since the situation was likely to be as bad or worse. We finally made the half mile trek to Delta terminal and purchased one-way tickets to get home. There was a long line there too but they guaranteed a flight the next day. We never got anything out of the return tickets that we "ate". Not exactly an action movie, this was our "Escape From New York". What's that? Would I go back? In a New York minute!

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