May 1, 2017. Day 5: On the last day of our trip, we packed up and waved good-bye to the hotel that housed us for the last four nights. It was a bittersweet moment because New York had been so fun but it was time to go home. We looked up our route and because we wanted to stop in Flushing before we headed to the airport for our late afternoon flight (where Flushing was close to the LGA airport anyway), we decided on taking the Long Island Rail Road to Flushing from Penn Station. It was only $7.50 USD to take this route to Flushing and not only was it fast and cheap but it allowed us to have a comfortable and scenic ride too. 😀 It made the most sense.
After we bought our tickets to Flushing, we noticed that there was a Shake Shack (1 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York) right at the train station! I dashed over and ordered one last serving of their Cheese Fries (Crinkle Cut Fries with Cheese) for the train ride.
It felt like I was at Union Station waiting for the GO Train. Everyone was waiting and looking for the number to display which would inform us of which train to board. 😀
The Cheese Fries from Shake Shack were just as crispy and crunchy as the first day we tried them. I actually didn’t think that the cheese would be contained separately; I thought the cheese was going to be drizzled on top of the fries. It was still good though.
Yay! We were on the train! The train ride was only 20 minutes or so.
It was my first time in Flushing, New York and I did not expect to see such a large community of Chinese people there! It was like walking into Chinatown which was an even more dominant one than the one in Toronto. XD
We went into the New World Mall and headed to their food court. Ken had been to Flushing previously before. We had originally bookmarked a Xi’an noodle restaurant to try in Flushing but ended up dining at the food court. There were so many vendors for Chinese food — specifically Xi’an food like hand-pulled noodles, dumplings, spicy hot pots, and many more.
We ordered food from the Xiang Ba La vendor (New World Mall, 136-20 Roosvelt Ave, Queens, NY). We ordered one serving of their Xi’an Cold Noodle, a Garlic Fried Spinach, and Lamb Bun. The food was really good! The Xi’an Cold Noodle wasn’t too spicy and tasted very authentic.
After our meal, we did some people watching to see what others were ordering from the various vendors. The food court was busy during the entire time we were there! There were so many people!
We watched a Chinese Pancake being made as well as dumplings get wrapped by many Chinese ladies. There was also some type of ice cream that looked interesting and which I did want to try, but my stomach wasn’t agreeing with me at the moment so it was a wise decision that we didn’t actually end up getting that.
After this nice stroll in the mall, we went towards the Queens Library and then into a Starbucks where we hailed an Uber driver to take us to the airport for our 5:50 p.m. flight.
Our Uber driver actually took a small detour while on the way to take us to the airport. We saw the Citi Field on the way there.
Once in the airport, we successfully passed through security and customs. Just like my arrival into the states, my Aeroplan points card number didn’t show up on my ticket so we were in line at the customer’s service desk to add it. It just so happened that because we were in line, we looked up at the schedule for the flights and saw that our flight to Toronto was cancelled! ! ! ! ! Wha?! :O :O
It was a good thing that we were in line already so we inquired about this when we got to the front of the line. The staff at the desk informed us that because of a combination of rain storms and a closed runway (due to one of the biggest construction projects at Pearson Airport) in Toronto, our flight was cancelled — along with two other ones. We were in disbelief and asked about the next available flight. The female staff informed us that we could either be placed on the next flight which would be Wednesday morning (we were there at Monday) or get a stand-by ticket. We couldn’t wait to be put on for Wednesday so we decided to go with the stand-by ticket. She told us that we would be informed of our status in a bit. Thus, we exited the line and grabbed a snack at the convenience store.
Luckily, Ken asked me if we should get the ticket for the Wednesday flight just in case so we lined up again. When we got to the front of the line and I asked about getting a confirmed ticket this time, the female staff did something on the computer and miraculously produced two tickets for us to Toronto for the next outgoing flight at 6:55 p.m. (which was just an hour after our original flight). We were like, YAY! However, I was feeling skeptical. I didn’t feel like we were in the clear until we were actually in the air flying (not even just in the seats).
Anyway, so we proceeded to wait and made a new banana friend in the meantime (literally) :P.
As we were in line to board our flight, there was an announcement that our plane would be delayed for a little bit because it had just come in from Toronto and needed to be cleaned.
After this delay, when we were finally on the plane and in our seats, it still wasn’t time to breathe easily yet. The pilot informed us that we were going to have another delay because they were waiting for further instructions from the Toronto airport. Thus, I slept. Ken watched movies. 😀
When the pilot came back on the PA system to make an announcement, we got bad news. He informed us that there was going to be a three-hour delay — THREE hours!! In short, because they couldn’t have us wait on the tarmac for three hours like that, our flight was subsequently cancelled lol. Again. This time, because we were already on the runway, we had to wait another 40 minutes to taxi back to the gate. Lol. I think I just continued sleeping at that point. There was nothing else I could do.
Once we were back inside the airport, we dashed towards the customer service desk to line up to get an answer for what we were going to do next. Little did we know that we would be standing in this line for over an hour with not much progress. :O
While we were waiting in the line, we overheard others in front of us say that the next flight out would now be on Thursday morning. We were like, “What…. there’s no way we’re waiting until Thursday to go back home — it was only Monday night.” We overheard others discussing the possibility of renting a car together to drive back to Toronto, of taking Greyhound, trains, etc. The downfall of being stuck inside the airport at that point was also the fact that the complimentary wifi lasted only 30 minutes at a time. -_- We looked up the Greyhound schedules and realized that the next bus out that night would be at 12:35 a.m. but that we needed to get to the terminal an hour before departure to buy our tickets. We weren’t able to buy our tickets online either. (Or maybe we just couldn’t find it or something.)
Anyway, since our line was barely moving and another traveller was kind enough to pass out the Customers Relations business card for us to call about reimbursing our situation and not have to wait in line for it, we hightailed it out of there. We knew that there were no seats available for any flights any time soon either. Good thing we didn’t have any checked luggage.
We hailed a taxi to go back to New York to the Greyhound Bus Terminal (ironic because we were just there days before and wanted to leave now). Even the taxi drivers knew about the “AC situation”. We got a taxi and arrived back in New York Times Square. XD
From there, we went to the Bus Terminal. There were self kiosks and when we tried to buy our bus tickets for the next ride out to Toronto, we were dismayed to find out that the 12:35 a.m. ones were sold out. What the…! So apparently some of our fellow travellers beat us to the punch and arrived before us to buy out the next bus. We were shocked but quickly decided to buy the ones for the next, next bus ride out which was 7 a.m. in the morning (oh, dear lol). Again, we had no choice and we had to buy quickly. We realized that the costs were actually jumping up in price in real-time due to the sudden demand. Also, we realized that the tickets from the self kiosk machine didn’t have the correct date on it for the bus ride and I didn’t want to risk having any more trouble with that so we bought from the manned station. Finally, we had a ride home.
But then our dilemma was… we were there in New York City at 11 p.m. at night with nowhere to go. Our bus ride out to Toronto wasn’t until 7 a.m. What were we to do?
Again, thank goodness for free wifi inside the terminal and I looked up nearby hotels and 24 hour public spaces like cafes. We were just minutes away from a Sheraton hotel and a 24-hour cafe. We decided to scope out the Sheraton hotel.
We arrived there, got to the lobby, and sat our butts down in one of their many lounge sofas and chairs. Their lobby was large and had a bar with lots of customers there. We were safe… for a short bit. I used this time to use the restroom to freshen up, change into a fresh pair of comfortable clothes (how did I coincidentally bring a second set of comfy travel clothes with me?!) and even washed my face, brushed my teeth, and filled up my water bottle at the fountain (lol). We were only safe there until 3 a.m. The bar started winding down by 2 a.m. and the staff were cleaning everything up. We had to leave by then. What an experience…
(May 2, 2017. Day 6:)
We headed to the second spot which was a 24-hour cafe called Europan Cafe (672 8th Ave, New York, NY). New York is the city that never sleeps and we got to try that on our trip together. Ha. Ken bought a wrap to eat and tried to stay awake. I bought a BTL sandwich for breakfast around 5 a.m. The sun was starting to come out!
The food was pretty good and they had a large variety of food. I actually wanted to order a porridge but since it was so early, they only served sandwiches and cold items.
Since the bus ride was going to be 12 hours long, I also bought some baked goods for the ride. Ken bought something too for the trip.
Our bus ride was at 7 a.m. but we decided to get to the terminal by 6 a.m. or so because what if it was a first-come-first-serve thing where they oversold the bus tickets? We could not risk that at all. We had to go home!
When we got to the bus terminal and found Gate 22, we were greeted with a line-up already of people. Lol. Figures. We continued being patient and finally boarded the bus at 7 a.m. We were in the clear now!
There were many stops along the route back to Toronto. It was my first time taking a Greyhound bus! I had always wanted to try it and take one but I never thought that my first time taking it would be like this lol. I wasn’t too hungry and since we barely had any sleep the night before, we just passed out during the entire trip. I’m glad I only bought a sponge cake and muffin with me for the ride because I think it would have been uncomfortable to have meat or anything acidic on a long bus ride.
We finally arrived back in Toronto around 7 p.m. on Tuesday and it never felt better to be on home turf again. The bus terminal in Toronto was at Dundas Station.
And thus, that was our five-day trip to New York — extended to six days because of the unexpected delays and two cancellations. I’m proud of us for surviving it and making it through with a crazy adventure to tell. ;D
Still can’t wait to return to New York one day because there was so much on our list that we still didn’t get to check out! 8D