New Yorkers Will Laugh at This

Xperience GrowthblogpostsLeave a Comment

In New York City last week I attempted to be a “real New Yorker.”

Thanks to Xperiential MBA events, I’ve traveled to New York 3 times in the past 14 months – in addition to previous trips – so I was feeling really confident in my abilities to navigate the city. (Of course, a huge shout out to the Google Maps team for being my navigator!!)

I decided that *real* New Yorkers take the train to and from the airport to Manhattan.  Granted, I have no clue if that’s accurate, yet it sounded good and presented a little challenge for me.

Arriving at JFK airport to start the event, I took the train easily enough. I knew my destination in Lower Manhattan, knew the stop I needed AND it’s a direct shot via the only train line that connects from the airport. Success!

Going back to the airport was a different story… After a very experiential event in NY, I was flying home to Austin the next morning. As a kudos to myself, I stopped off at my favorite bagel shop for breakfast before jumping on the train back to the airport.

Immediately after ordering and paying for the meal, I sat down, opened my phone and noticed my flight was delayed and I would not make my connecting flight. There was a flight leaving 30 minutes earlier that would still get me home at the same time, so I rebooked. My new flight departed at 11am. I was in the bagel shop in downtown Manhattan at 9:05 am waiting on my food order. Google said the most direct train would take just over an hour to get me to the airport. I can do it!

After inhaling my eggs & everything bagel with cream cheese (because, hey, I’m in NY), I hurriedly made my way to the subway entrance near the shop door.

To get from my subway station to JFK, you simply take the A train to JFK stop and hop on the airport train system that will take you directly to your terminal. “I got this,” I thought. After all, I was quite successful coming into the city.

I walk directly to the tracks where the A & C trains stop. It takes a few minutes for the next train to arrive and I start doing the mental math on when I might arrive at the airport. My clock is ticking.

The train finally arrives and I immediately jump on it and we take off toward the airport. A few stops later I realized that I’m on the C train which does NOT stop at JFK. As the clock ticked, I realized that I must get off and get on the A train.

I got off at a stop that also has the A train line. I wait for another 5-10 minutes for the A train to come. I can feel my nerves rising as time is ticking. I’m still 45 minutes away and it’s 9:25.

The next train stops and I made SURE it’s the A train. I get on and we start to go. As I’m standing there counting down the stops until my destination, I don’t see the stop for Howard Beach/JFK Airport. I’m definitely on the A train, yet as I looked closer at the Subway map, I realized the A train has 2 different schedules & stops. And again, I’m on the WRONG ONE.

Luckily the train made one more stop before I would have traveled past the opportunity to get off and get on the RIGHT A train. I get off the wrong one, and *finally* get on the right train towards the airport.

I successfully get off at the correct stop, get on the airport train and make it to the terminal at 10:20 – 40 minutes before my flight.

As my luck had it, NO LINES at security… a HUGE win for me! I waltz through security and get to my gate just after the plane began to board.

I did it! A real New Yorker, right?? Probably not, yet a guy can dream.

Obviously I re-learned a few lessons as I finally exhaled on the plane. These are applicable not just for New York subway travel, everywhere in business & life.

Lesson 1: Study first

Had I taken a moment to really look at the transit map and follow the A train, I would have realized it splits and that one goes where I want to go and the other does not. I would have jumped the correct A train.

Lesson 2: Stay alert

Clearly I was in a rush and not paying attention. I jumped on the first train that came to the track where I was standing. I knew it was the correct track, so I blindly got the C train because I was not paying attention. Trains are clearly marked.

Lesson 3: Slow down

As the time ticked away, I felt more pressure. That pressure caused me to simply move too fast. I didn’t adequately study the map. I didn’t take 2 seconds to make sure I was on the correct train. I jumped on the next train because I was anxious to make progress toward my goal – making my flight. Slowing down would have probably saved me 15-20 minutes and a whole lot of unnecessary stress.

So, that’s my story of a tourist trying to be a local. Next time I’m in New York I will still take the train. I’ll just cool it on thinking I’m a *real* New Yorker!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *