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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

#60: Bite-sized Chunks of the Big Apple — Part One

Five boroughs.  45,000 runners.  2,250 portapotties.  One goal.

To be honest, the 2010 ING New York City Marathon came at the wrong time for me. One of the things you need in the Big Apple, along with keeping your wits on a leash, is a big, fat wallet – brimming with cold, hard cash. Or, at the very least, a credit card armed with the strength of Milo and endurance of the Great Greenwoodo (Ellie to her friends).

Unfortunately my wallet was small, wafer thin… and brimming with cold, hard Canadian Tire dollars. Totalling around 75 cents.

A challenging two years on the work front had left me still swimming against the tide. But I’d committed to this trip: the show had to go on. And besides, this was New York. Which I’d heard had a bit more razzmatazz than the ‘Old’ York. The last time I’d been there my parents’ Volvo was raided and my back-pack swiped. This was a 'New' start.

So my flexible RBC Avion friend was forced to take the strain, as I tackled ‘the greatest city in the world’ on a budget. Comfort Inn Midtown West (CIMW); $5 deli meals for lunch and cheap sushi for dinner. Marathon merchandise? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaah… No.

While Mickey P. was forcing Mizuno and Asics to call in emergency supplies as he generously kitted out half of the Lower Mainland running community, I made do with my NYCM gun-metal grey long-sleeved technical top that came as part of the $275 registration fee. The official garb that, nine times out of ten, is so drab and dreary that it’s absolutely perfect to wear… under several layers of other clothing during a winter fartlek. If a passer-by stares intently enough he or she may spy a brief glimpse of sleeve. 

And transportation? With dollar bills to spray around, a New York taxi cab – almost as famous in the Big Apple as its iconic statue of freedom on Ellis Island – is always the way to go. Stick your thumb out and hail one of those banana-yellow babies that buzz by in a blur. Five hours later, with your thumb now a lighter shade of purple, scrap the taxi plan and hit the Subway.

Taking the latter (well, public transit generally) was my original plan – but as I, and a trio of NYC marathoners-to-be I’d befriended en route, headed out of La Guardia Airport into a pitch-black and rainy Gotham City, we decided sharing a cab would be a better plan.

To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.

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