Wednesday, I had a day that could only happen in NY.  The first part of my day will reassure anyone considering a family vacation to New York City that Manhattan is a surprisingly friendly place.  (Here’s my friendly native New Yorker tip: NO ONE who lives here EVER EVER EVER calls it The Big Apple.  Never.)  The second part of my day will convince anyone who is on the fence about this town, that coming to New York is a really really bad idea.  In other words, I had the kind of day that epitomizes New York: complicated, surprising, diverse, friendly, and scary…all at the same time.So what happened?  Read on.

My day started, as all weekdays do, riding the bus to school with my kids. I realize that for non-city moms, that makes me sound like the single most neurotic parent on the planet: I take the bus WITH my kids.  But it’s not a school bus.  It’s a city bus. And of course I take the kids- they’re eight.Anyway – this being the day before the Third Grade overnight, I was bringing a ziplock bag with my daughter’s eczema cream to school so that I could give it to the school nurse for the trip.  This being me – I let my daughter carry the bag, and this being her – she left it on the bus.I figured that was the end of it.  It’s just a tube, after all – the prescription info is on the long-lost box it came in.  But I was wrong.  The industrious bus driver noticed a phone number on the random sheet of paper I had written the nurse a note on, called it, and found my husband at work.And that is how I found myelf standing on the corner of 86th and Third for twenty-five minutes watching buses go by, waiting for Tony and bus number 1033.  But I got the cream.  I thanked Tony.  And I took his bus home.  You gotta love New York.

Later in the afternoon, on my way to pick up my daughter, I had a NY experience on the other end of the spectrum.  While waiting for a friend to walk across the park to pick up the kids from school (no, we don’t drive them.  We WALK in this town.  1.5 miles there, and 1.5 miles back with the kids. No carpools here.)While I’m waiting, I bunch of kids from the local Public High School start coming down the block.  I notice a boyfriend/girlfriend fight happening.  Which was sort of quaint, until the boyfriend got a strangle-hold on the sixteen year old girl friend and started dragging her into on coming traffic screaming “B#^&%, I’m gonna kill you.”While most of the people on the block just stood there and stared, yours truly (bravely? stupidly?) ran down the street SCREAMING “I’m calling 911, I’m calling 911!”  Within two minutes, the police had arrived in force: two running down the street on foot, three police cars, and even a van with police in riot gear  (overkill, perhaps?) The cops cuffed the boy, rescued the girl from the middle of a four lane busy road, calmed down the driver upon whose car-hood the boy had been strangling the girl, and everyone just went along with the rest of their day. Oy.

So – New York has it all: the nice bus driver, the violent boyfriend, the disinterested crowd watching a violent act, the crazy mom running down the street to….actually, I have no idea what I thought I was doing.  If you want to take a vacation here – know this: in New York, you never know what you’re gonna get.  Man, I love this town.