New York for ABGT 100 – Day 4

On Monday morning we woke up, packed up, checked out and left our luggage with the YMCA left luggage system, and took the metro to the Staten Island ferry.  The ferry was running every 30 minutes, and we barely missed a ferry that was leaving.  As such, we sat down and read about the ferry and Staten Island in the Lonely Planet New York guidebook.

As we were boarding the ferry, JT suddenly realizes he no longer has his wallet.  We hurry out of the boarding area to go search where we had been sitting to see if it had fallen out of his pocket.  The wallet was no where to be found.  We searched our day pack as well, with no luck.  Hence, there were two possibilities: (1) JT had been pick-pocketed as he was trying to board the ferry or (2) JT had taken his wallet out when we were sitting waiting for the ferry, forgot to put it back in his pocket when we got up, and someone quickly swiped it.

We abandoned hope of getting on the current ferry and instead went to the police station in the ferry terminal to file a report.  All we could file was a ‘lost property’ report, since JT could not say he felt his wallet be taken.  This process, as well as calling to cancel the various credit cards that had been in the wallet, took about 1.5 hours.

JT’s ‘lost property’ police report

We eventually decided to take the ferry in order to see the views, and then take a ferry back soon after.  The Staten Island ferry provides great views for much less than the cost of the sight-seeing boats (free!).

A Staten Island Ferry going the other direction

The Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry

 Downtown New York City from the Staten Island Ferry

After the Staten Island ferry we took a free shuttle over to the 9-11 memorials.  The memorials were well done, and rather emotional to experience.

 One of the footprints at the 9-11 Memorial

We walked from the 9-11 memorials to the nearby Essex World Cafe, where we ordered sandwiches and fries.  However, imagine our horror and embarrassment when Katie’s credit card got rejected.  Apparently when Capital One cancelled JT’s credit card (since he called and said it was stolen), they also decided to cancel Katie’s!  JT called Capital One, but they claimed it was impossible to uncancel Katie’s card.   Their initial “best offer” was to overnight a card to my location. JT reiterated that we had a flight in a few hours and that was not a reasonable offer. Then, they said that they could do a “voice authorization” for the restaurant – where they pretty much would tell them “we will pay you later”. The restaurant cashier laughed at this and told us to not worry about it.  The last thing they said they could do was send a Visa representative to my location with a temporary card, but it would take 1-2 hours and I would have to remain on the phone the entire time – as verification of my identity. Since our flight departed JFK at 9pm, this was also unreasonable.

Hence, we had no cash on us and no working credit or debit cards.  The cafĂ© was very understanding and insisted we eat our food and not worry about paying.  We greatly appreciated their understanding, and promised to mail them money for our food as soon as we returned home. Although they told us not to bother, we did anyway!

Repaying Essex World Cafe

After eating, we needed to get to JFK in a hurry, with no money, and with only one MTA pass. After finally finding a subway entrance with a MTA agent, we explained our situation and begged our way on. We rode up to Grand Central station, where JT took Katie’s subway pass and sprinted to the YMCA to grab our bags. Katie transferred to the E line and JT met her in that station to take the E line together to the airport.

Once at the AirTrain ($5 each), JT had to beg a police officer to let both of us through. The officer verified that we had a flight and even called the police station to verify our paper police report was valid. But, finally, we were allowed through. Once our AirTrain got to JetBlue’s Terminal 5, we ran as fast as we could to the JetBlue counter, but got there just after the 30 minute cut-off for checked baggage. While they could do nothing about getting our bags checked, the JetBlue agents were very helpful in checking us in and getting us to the front of the TSA line.

There, JT had to go through extensive security screening – including a call to Washington DC to verify his identity – in order to be able to fly without ID.  Katie took our carry-on luggage and went to wait at the gate.  The agent at the gate claimed he was closing the gate, but Katie begged for 2 more minutes claiming she saw JT coming through security (even though there was actually no sign of him).  But then with about 1 minute left, JT comes sprinting out of security and Katie pointed out the running man to the gate agent.  The gate remained open until JT made it to the gate.  We successfully boarded well after the stated 10 minute cut off, gate-checked our roller-board because it would not fit in the overhead bin, and the plane pushed back from the gate shortly after.

We both slept most of the way home, as the end of the day was extremely stressful.  One kind man on the airplane heard about JT’s wallet being stolen, and insisted on giving us $20 ‘just in case’. The flight attendants likewise were very nice and offered us any food or drink we wanted. Although having JT’s wallet get stolen was a low point, it did show that there are also some really good people and businesses!

As a final bout of bad luck, our roller-board never appeared on the baggage carousel in Austin.  It had been left at JFK, and was delivered to our apartment the next day.

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