Today was an inefficient day. I was meaning to do a few things in New York City, but I didn't organize them properly, so I just wandered around.
First up, there is a secondary bus system, other than NJ Transit, that takes you into Manhattan from Teaneck and which costs less. The trip in is through beautiful foliage for most of the way, and then over the Hudson River. I had forgotten just what Fall is like, since we don't have one in Israel and I haven't been in the U.S. in the Fall since 1989.
After arriving in Manhattan I got on the easy public transportation system, with complete rail maps posted in every station and also handed out for free to anyone who asks. Trains come every few minutes. And I bought a weekly pass. What a difference.
I was looking forward to some good New York food. Certain things about America are better than Israel, including American Kosher meat. Also, my cultural taste is still American when it comes to some types of food preparation. On the other hand, my financial situation is more limited than the last time I was here, so I am expecting to buy a bit less and choose more conservatively.
What I didn't expect, although I guess that I should have, is that the prices have gone up dramatically since the last time I was here. An eggroll that I'm pretty sure was $1.75 only 4 years ago is now $2.75 . Maybe I am just not remembering properly. I grumbled and bought a meal at Kosher Delight anyway, consoling myself that at least the food would be tasty (in the fast food sense), but ... urkle. It wasn't, really. The Chinese food was bland, the rice dry and boring, and the eggroll almost totally uncooked. Tomorrow I must get a hot dog. They can't mess that up at least, and a hot dog is one of those things that is (or was) much better here.
So I did a lot of walking downtown, through the Diamond District and the Fashion District, all those brand names that I never remember in big letters on the buildings, forgotten again once I pass them. Prices, of course, are unbelievable. FAO Schwartz is a small shadow of what it once was, although two people were giving a demo on the walking piano (see Big).
A few minutes in Central Park, a park that would be nice if it didn't have the smell and sounds of traffic and exhaust, the sight of large buildings towering over the trees, and the lingering fears about muggings and other sorts of craziness. The back to the subway.
I had bought a NY Times hoping it would have an events section, but it didn't. It had two sports sections, however: regular and about the marathon. I had no use for them so I raised them over my head on the subway and shouted:
"Anyone want the sports sections?"
Lots of people looked at me.
Believe me. I am not the weirdest thing on a New York subway.
The couple on my left said they would like it, so there you go.
I rode up north to see some more of my friends from Israel, also in the U.S. for the last year and a half. When I asked about a mutual friend of ours, they didn't know where she was. A few minutes on the Internet and we discover that she is not 500 yards from their apartment and they didn't know it for the last year and a half. This tells you a lot about the insular world of Manhattan. We popped over to see her and her husband. Back to my friends for dinner (simple food, yet much better than lunch).
During dinner, I told them about my game. Dina asked me if I had a game, or could help her create a game, involving Hanukkah that would also teach Math for her students in second grade. I love a challenge, but this one took me all of ten seconds.
"Give each player a board with eight candles, and each candle has a number 2-9. Make a lot of cards with numbers 1-10. Deal each player 4 cards. On the player's turn, s/he can either lay down a number of cards that add/subtract to light any candle they still have unlit and then draw back up to 4 cards, or discard a card and draw one either from the deck or the discard pile. First to light his/her menorah wins. Obviously you have to experiment with the number of cards in the hand to see if this works well."
Bonus points for telling me what game this resembles.
Back to New Jersey.
I am leaving next Sunday. I explored the possibility of ordering some games that I wasn't able to pick up at the con from an online retailer and having them shipped to me before I leave, but unless I am willing to do overnight shipping, (which I'm not, since for the same price I can just ship them to Israel) I may not get them before I leave even with 2-day air.
So, things to organize:
- Mail more prototypes to publishers
- Arrange game in NYC/NJ
- Buy unnecessary items to bring back home
- Trade Magic cards, if possible.
- Other things to do in NY/NJ: inexpensive dance, plays, music, nature walking