NEVER FORGET 20 YEARS LATER SEPTEMBER 11.

It’s been 20 years since those planes slammed into the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and that field in Pennsylvania, but many of us here in the United States will never forget.

If you ever do a 30 Plus Teams Tour of Washington DC or New York City, I would ask that you take a trip down to the 9-11 Memorial or The Pentagon.

Visit One World Observatory, which is where the Twin Towers once stood.

I would ask one thing of you all though.

Please be respectful. These are tourist attractions, but remember, people died here as well.

CHECKING OUT THE NEW PENNSYLVANIA STATION IN NEW YORK CITY.

Normally I take a bus from Port Authority bus station on 41st Street and 8th Avenue in New York City when I go to either Washington DC, Boston, Baltimore, or even Pittsburgh to do a 30 Plus Teams Tour.

This time I decided to take Amtrak because the fares were so low.

Leaving from Amtrak would mean I would have to go either through Penn Station at 33rd Street from the Long Island Railroad or E train if I took the subway from Queens.

Not any more.

As of January 1, 2021, the long awaited new Pennsylvania Station opened up

Its official name is the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall and it’s a work of art, no lie.

It was named for the late New York senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Now for some of you who weren’t born in New York City or just moved here in the past few years, the station may not look that spectacular to you.

But to those of us who remember the old Penn Station, the crowds, the filth, this station is beautiful.

It’s also very convenient if, like me, you’re coming from Queens or Long Island on the Long Island Railroad.

Amtrak trains not only leave from here, but so does the Long Island Railroad.

So when I got off the Long Island Railroad train from Locust Manor, I followed the signs to the escalator to the station.

I didn’t even have to go outside.

The station is located in the old James Foley Post Office on 33rd and 8th Avenue.

The post office is still there, not just as big.

The old Penn Station not only had Long Island Railroad trains, but the subway, Amtrak and New Jersey transit trains.

Now, the New Jersey Transit trains just leave from the old Penn Station, which is still across the street, underneath Madison Square Garden.

However, if your Amtrak train gets in after midnight, sorry, the new Penn Station is closed.

Your train will go to the old Penn Station.

My only complaint with the new Penn Station is the tracks for the Long Island Railroad trains aren’t close to the Amtrak trains.

Coming back from Washington DC, my FLIX Bus stopped next door.

I had to run to catch a 6:45pm train which left from track 18.

Track 18 WASN’T on the main floor.

Needless to say the Sports Diva wasn’t a happy camper being a real New Yorker, running through a terminal to catch a train that was leaving in 10 minutes, loaded down with a purse and a carry-on suitcase.

There are no escalators going down just a ramp and stairs.

(I made my train, by the way)

What I love about this terminal is that you can’t loiter if you don’t have a ticket, and there’s enough security to make sure that happens.

All in all, if the fares are good, I will take Amtrak and enjoy going through the new Penn Station in New York City.

RIDING ON THE AMTRAK DOWN TO DC

Normally when I travel to Boston, Philadelphia or DC, I take a bus from Port Authority, but this time I decided to do something completely different.

I’m going by Amtrak from the new Penn Station in New York at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Hall .

More about this station in an upcoming post.

I rarely took Amtrak because their fares were outrageous to put it nicely, even in coach class.

This time, I kept checking prices and discovered with my senior citizen discount, the most it would be one way was $29-69.

I could afford that and only paid $29

I was going one way on Amtrak because coming back on Sunday, even with a discount, the fares are ridiculous.

I didn’t even have to print out my ticket.

Hello e-ticket, which was right on my phone along with any information about the ride, not to mention those miles I’m going to get from signing up for Amtrak rewards.

I hadn’t been on Amtrak in years especially down to DC, so the Sports Diva was like a kid in a candy shop looking out the window for stations that I recognized like 30th Street in Philly, Newark Penn Station, Baltimore Penn Station and stops that I had no idea where they were, like the Amtrak Metropark station, which I discovered from friends who live near there , that it’s in Iselin, NJ.

When we got to DC after a delay due to switching problems at the New Carrollton, Maryland station, I realized that unlike a bus ride, I wasn’t tired.

I was very relaxed and ready to take the Washington Metro train to meet up with my family.

My train is number 93, the Northeast Regional to Norfolk
Don’t judge me. The Sports Diva and Joe must be comfortable
Even on Amtrak, just wear the damn mask my peeps
Baltimore Penn Station
Safety card from Amtrak. At the top is a quote from President Joe Biden, “we’re all in this together”
The Metropark Station in Iselin, NJ
The beautiful waters off Wilmington, Delaware
I tried to check my bag, but for trains along the Northeast Corridor, no can do
If you’re going to Baltimore Thurgood Marshall Airport, this is your station
New Carrollton Station. DC Metro trains stop here, too.
My stop on the Amtrak, Washington Union Station. Now it’s time to take the DC Metro

RIDING ON THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY AGAIN

As I mentioned in my last post, my 30 Plus Teams Tour took me to Jamaica Hospital in the Queens neighborhood of Richmond Hill.

To get to Jamaica Hospital, I had to do something that I hadn’t done since March 2020.

Take the infamous New York City subway.

Since the coronavirus happened I hadn’t taken the subway at all, and given all the negative things that had been going on since the coronavirus happened and people in New York City, who grew up taking the subway suddenly got stuck on stupid, I was apprehensive taking any train, let alone the two lines that are closest to me, the E and F trains.

Unfortunately, the only way I could get to the hospital was on the E train, so I had no choice but to take the train, mask in hand.

Luckily, I only had to go two stops from Jamaica Center.

Nothing had changed.

The subways are still dirty, still crowded and still slow.

There is one major change though.

Don’t forget to wear that mask.

SOMETIMES THINGS HAPPEN THAT’S BEYOND YOUR CONTROL

The suitcases were all packed, checklists done, everything was ready to go for that fun filled few days to get out of New York City and head on down to the Jersey Shore.

The Sports Diva even did the infamous What’s In My Suitcase post.

But sometimes life happens.

Growing up, my parents being the true Southerners that they were, used to say, ” Know a way to make God laugh? Tell him you have plans”

Bless their hearts, it’s true. We plan and God un plans, if there’s such a word.

So no trip to the Jersey Shore, or to be more precise, Atlantic City.

What happened? No one died, praise God.

Let’s just say that when you have three ladies of a certain age, things will happen.

Or like that old Country and Western song says, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it”

Am I disappointed? I’d be lying if I said no, but in all my years of travelling, things will happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.

You just get ready for the next 30 Plus Teams Tour that will happen, God willing.

That’s just what the Sports Diva is gonna do.

COMING HOME ON AMERICAN AIRLINES

When I booked my return flight, the fares were really expensive.

I couldn’t find an inexpensive flight going into LaGuardia Airport, and as for Newark Liberty, nope I didn’t want to fly there no matter how cheap it was or if it was non stop.

That left my home airport, JFK.

The cheapest flight was leaving at 7:30am, which meant that I had to be at Las Vegas McCarran by 4:30am.

It was Las Vegas to JFK but with a three hour layover at an airport that I had never been to before, Austin Bergstrom Airport in Austin, Texas.

It sounded awful a three hour layover, but the time went fast as I was able to do some editing on my blog and check out my emails, let alone eat.

I hadn’t taken American Airlines since February 2020 and nothing had really changed except that I didn’t get a middle seat on either flight.

I will say though, I wish American would make their WiFi easier to use.

Thank God for downloaded music.

My flight was supposed to get back to JFK at 8:45pm but as is always the case, the pilot must have been in a hurry to get home. Our time of arrival, half an hour earlier at 8:15pm.

You think I’d be happy about this but no, the Sports Diva wants to get her vacation destination early not her return trip to the craziness that is New York City.

This was my first airplane trip since the virus from hell and I’m so ready for my next 30 Plus Teams Tour no matter where it is.

HEALTHY DRINKING AT MR. WISH

While doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour staycation of Kew Gardens , I wanted something to drink, but not an adult beverage and not a coffee from either Dunkin Donuts or Seven Eleven coffee.

While doing some exploring around the area near the Kew Gardens Long Island Railroad Station was, I noticed a place called , ‘Mr. Wish’.

It claimed that it had ‘healthy bubble drinks and fruit teas.’

I looked at the pictures on the store window and on the menu, and I saw a drink that I hadn’t had since I lived in Los Angeles .

It was Pearl Milk Tea.

For $3.75 plus taxes, I figured why not get a medium one?

I had time to kill before my train back to Locust Manor came.

The Pearl Milk Tea was delicious , and made just the way I like my bubble tea.

No sugar needed, and big bubble pieces that are big but not that big that they won’t fit through your straw .

It just so happens that Mr. Wish’s teas and fruit juices are the number one brand in Taiwan and besides having stores in Taiwan and the United States , they also have locations in China , Vietnam , plus 150 other locations.

It’s easy to see why.

The store that I went to is located at 80 – 62 Lefferts Boulevard , Kew Gardens .

Mr. Wish claims that they have ‘authentic Fruit and Bubble Teas.’

They do.

If you can’t get to New York City or the borough of Queens, see if there is a Mr. Wish in your city.

You won’t be disappointed and the prices are very reasonable .

JOURNEY TO THE END OF LONG ISLAND , MONTAUK

My 30 Plus Teams Tour staycation took me to a place that I hadn’t been to in years .

59 of them to be exact.

People on Long Island call this village, ‘the end of Long Island’, because technically , it is.

You can take a ferry across the river and you’re in the state of Connecticut .

You discover , as I did, if you’re listening to your radio and expect to hear stations from New York , no such luck.

Try stations from the Nutmeg State, Connecticut .

The village is Montauk and if you look on a map of Long Island , you’ll discover that it’s on the very tip of Long Island .

If you go by Long Island Railroad as I did, be ready for a long ride.

3 hours to be exact, with two transfers to get there going.

My first transfer was at Jamaica – JFK , the next transfer was in the village of Babylon .

Coming back though, I just had one transfer at the last stop, Jamaica – JFK .

If you go in the summer , especially on a weekend or a holiday, expect to see a really crowded train.

When I was little, I went fishing with relatives out to Montauk .

Nothing has changed, Montauk is still known for fishing.

Don’t be surprised to see young and old bringing their fishing equipment on this train.

Technically , the village of Montauk is part of those ritzy Long Island villages known as The Hamptons .

The Hamptons are made up of the villages, West Hampton , North Hampton , Hampton Bays, South Hampton , Bridgehampton and East Hampton .

Montauk is part of East Hampton .

Like many parts of Long Island , Montauk is known for its beaches.

Many of the beaches on Montauk are now private, but you can take pictures.

Montauk’s most famous landmark is the Montauk Lighthouse , but because it’s not close to the Montauk station and I didn’t have that much time to explore, I didn’t get to see it up close and personal.

Every picture you see of Montauk, you’re going to see the lighthouse .

It’s that much of an icon here at the end of Long Island .

To say that I was tired from this 30 Plus Teams Tour of Montauk would be an understatement .

I was and I walked so much in the wrong type of shoes that I got blisters on the back of both of my feet.

But call me crazy, I would do it again .

No, not get blisters on my feet , go out to Montauk .

If I had one problem with the station at Montauk it would be get some benches on the platform.

Other than that, I enjoyed my journey to the village known as the end of Long Island .

A DAY IN SPRINGFIELD PARK

I didn’t  have  to  take  Nassau County public transportation for this 30 Plus  Teams  Tour .

I  let my feet do some of  the  walking.

I did take a bus but just for 20 blocks and walked the rest of the way, all 5 blocks.

I could have walked the whole way, but I  was saving my walking for the park.

Springfield  Park on Springfield  Boulevard  is located at the end of the city  of Springfield  Gardens  and the beginning  of the  city of  Rosedale . 20200811_12150220200811_11545620200811_11544720200811_12035420200811_12011720200811_12244320200811_12011120200811_12132420200811_120738

After you leave Rosedale ,  you’re  out of New York  City  and on Long Island .

Surprisingly ,  I was in this same park four years ago  to the day.

I didn’t  remember  this but leave it to Facebook  Memories  to remind me.

It was a beautiful  day, but as we are a week or so away from most of us not having any power  thanks to the hurricane, trees were down all over the park.

Queens  is the borough  of New York  City  that has the most trees, and they are NO MATCH for a storm with 75 plus mph winds  let alone rain.

It was hot but a really beautiful  day  and I’m forgetting  that I’m  not really traveling  like I used to.

Sort of .

SPENDING TIME IN FREEPORT, LONG ISLAND

If I have to run any kind of errands , they’re usually done in the cities of Springfield Gardens /Locust Manor, where I live or either in the cities of Lynbrook or Valley Stream on Long Island .

I decided to do some errands in another city on Long Island , the incorporated city of Freeport .

I’ve been to Freeport before, sort of .

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Transferring to another Nassau County bus at Freeport Transit Center doesn’t count, though.

Neither does waiting at the Freeport Long Island Railroad Station .

Like everywhere else, social distancing is the norm in Freeport .

This means, have those masks, and stand six feet away no matter if you’re in the line for groceries , medicine or money at the bank.

I’m sorry that I didn’t spend a little more time here in Freeport , but I will.

It was such a nice day, but a hurricane which ended up knocking out my power for almost 4 days, was on the way .

Tell me what else can happen in New York City in 2020?