Fresh-off-the-plane (FOP)

Posted: August 30, 2009 in All and Sundry

john and the new york times building

john and the new york times building

When we arrived at the JFK airport in NYC last tuesday August 25, my co-IFP fellows and I spent a few hours trying to decide which mode of transportaion we should take to get to the Port Authority at 42nd st. in Manhattan. After a lot of discussion and almost losing my patience, we all decided to just take the taxi, all for of us. Jennefer was an exception as she left earlier thant us because someone picked her up at the arrival section of the airport. One of the possible disadavantages about getting a taxi for all four of us that Joie kept pointing out was that the taxis may not be big enough to fit us all and our luggage. Well, we were proven wrong. The taxi that came to pick us was large enough to fit four people and our luggage. The downside was that it was driven by some cranky African-American driver. Not that the color of his skin mattered, he was just very cranky and rude and running low of patience, I wanted to bang his head. When he shouted at us as if we were uneducated people, fresh off the boat, my head started to really ache. We didn’t need this kind of aggravation after that 19-hour plane ride, I thought. But it proved futile to even communicate with him. So we just let him be his cranky self and allowed him to bring us to Manhattan. Of course, we had no idea what the Port Authority building looked like or that it’s located near Times Square, one of those really iconic streets one can only recognize in movies. So when he dropped us off the side of this busy street near a building and a construction site, I was caught off-guard, I looked at him incredulously. But he shouted at us to get off, so we all did, hastily grabbing our heavy pieces of luggage in the process. Joie and Jason told John and me that they’ll go ahead because they had to catch a bus to Syracuse and New Jersey. Another 5 more hours for them. We said our goodbyes and good lucks. Then John and I stood by the street corner for ahwile, definitely looking lost than ever, but really trying to remain calm and taking in the bustling newness of the city. When we looked up we were shocked to be facing the New York Times building standing tall and I must say, proud right across the street, with Dean and Deluca at the corner. I gasped. If you’re familiar with American pop culture and media culture, you’d know that the New York Times is very iconic, in fact, for sometime it is considered by some to be the place for journalists to work in. Of course, more than that, it’s one of the oldest news papers that is regarded with respect for its reportage. Looking at the building and the name plate plastered on it, I felt chills down my spine. It almost felt like finally being able to see the Daily Planet! Yes, the New York Times for me occupies the same iconic value as the fictional news paper that Superman worked in as reporter.

Of course, I ended up taking a snapshot of John just to keep this memento. Such a touristy behaviour, really. But we really didn’t care. After all, if you come to think of it, derogatory baggage and all, we were really kind of fresh-off-the-boat (fob). Or off the plane. No use denying it. 🙂

  1. Ted says:

    Welcome to America, Claire!!! NYC is pretty much like Manila–noisy, crowded, and polluted. Don’t be shocked by the rudeness of the taxi drivers–it’s pretty much part of the city as Brooklyn bridge. There’s a Family Guy episode where Peter Griffin asked to be beaten up by cops in LA as part of his tourist experience. NY Times is consumed mostly by snooty liberals from the north east; the rest of middle America listens to conservative talk radio–which has a more populist voice. Try Laura Ingraham–she’s my favorite.

    Anyway, hope we can meet up sometime. Visit me in Chicago!!!

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