Little Dukes, Big Apple by Andrew Luethke

Tired and content, we watched as the shadow of Manhattan receded into darkness. We sank back and recollected our adventure in the concrete jungle…

Awakening to a misty and overcast New Jersey morning, the three tardy freshmen, Courtney Herb, Lauren Holder and Kaitlin Thomas, (we would later meet up with Nicole) arrived at Russell Zeltner’s house at 9:30 A.M. The group originally delegated the leadership duties, which included heading the convoy to the Park and Ride, to yours truly. As the “elderly” guide to Manhattan, my fellow adventurers felt that age begot wisdom and directional awareness. They were wrong.

After missing the initial Park and Ride, along with subsequent detours and teasing (at my expense), Russ called an audible and we opted for the “more visible” Ridgefield Park and Ride. We purchased our tickets and we began our voyage through the Lincoln Tunnel. Thankfully, there we did not have to venture through seven levels of the candy cane forest.

Upon entering the Concrete Jungle, we met up with our Long Island native, Nicole Bologna. With a more appropriate emulation of the infamous JMU ratio, it was time to begin our adventure.

Our first stop on the NYC tour was Toys R Us.  When we first stepped in the behemoth of all stores, we were taken aback by the sight of a giant indoor Ferris wheel.

The store catered to the little Dukes within, and we quickly lost sight of Tyler and the girls in the giant Barbie house. After an hour of exploration, including the likes of adorable stuffed animals, giant Legos and a T-Rex, the SGA Team of 7 decided it was time to acquire good ole New York grub.Although the initial plan was to eat at an Italian restaurant outside Times Square, the group entrusted the duties of “finding” a cheaper and more eatery to me. After nearly 30 minutes of wandering Manhattan, we found ourselves in the restaurant next door to our initial choice. The freshman women “found” a good place to eat and declared Brooklyn Diner to be our lunch setting.

In the aftermath of three cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, pizza and a larger than life chicken potpie, we departed for more sights along Manhattan.

During the journey, the women of SGA were pleasantly distracted by the discovery of a Forever 21. The store, which numbered four levels, swallowed up Nikki, Kaitlin, Courtney and Lauren. Tyler, Russ and I, although apprehensive to descend the clothing oriented abyss, decided to find the girls before they maxed out their (parent’s) credit cards. The rescue mission was successful, although we had to descend all four floors of overpriced merchandise.

Following the rescue mission in Forever 21, the group headed to the Nintendo World Store.

Among customers half our age, there were larger than life models of both Mario and Pikachu; the former posed with Tyler and Russ, while I was seen with Pikachu.

The store also included a giant display of previous Nintendo handheld consoles, one of which survived the first Gulf War.After the Nintendo escapade, the crew decided to see Rockefeller Center where pictures were taken, and Kaitlin pestered the group to go to Tiffany’s. We relented.

The final stop, Tiffany’s, proved to be the greatest trial and tribulation. Upon arriving at the Tiffany’s entrance, the concierge rudely greeted Tyler, and insinuated that he would be only “window-shopping”. Manners aside, the rest of Tiffany’s proved to be very helpful and conscientious. Unfortunately, the group did not know the elevator existed and we ascended eight flights of stairs. The top floor brought a lot of nervous bachelors, many of which looked borderline suicidal. One exclaimed in a nervous shriek that his fiancée had his credit card, and feared it would be maxed out.

After the guys did their own “window-shopping”, the group rushed back to the Port Authority. Unfortunately, not many of us were great at interpretation public transportation schedules and we almost got on the wrong bus. Nearly 20 minutes later, we were on the bus headed home. In the extremely warm sauna bus, we watched the outline of Manhattan fade to black.

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