29 January 2008

Halloween Town.

[Note: This entry has been sitting in edit mode since, I shit you not, October 25, 2007]

Back in October, Topher, Betty Boop and I rented a ZipCar and made our way out of the city, intent on discovering the best place in the world to get into the proper spirit for the coming holiday.

Short of driving to Salem, Massachusetts, we figured the best place locally was to go to Sleepy Hollow, New York. The town made famous by Washington Irving and his story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

So we loaded the puppy into his crate, packed up our Ford Escape, and headed north.

Sadly, I was behind the wheel.

That, combined with the fact that signage on the highways and byways around New York City sucks terrifically huge snot, meant that we were bound to make a wrong turn at some point.

Which we did.

I was celebrating the fact that we had found our way across the Tri-Boro Bridge, and as a result missed the exit for the Major Deegan Expressway, and stayed on I-278 right into the heart of the Bronx.

Now, had we kept our heads about us – wait, I shouldn't include the others in this... had I kept my head about me – we'd have just breathed easy and stayed on I-278 until we hit the Cross Bronx Expressway, which would have connected us with the Major Deegan again.

But I succumbed to the suggestions of my fellow explorers, and we got off the highway at Hunts Point Avenue, hoping to turn around and head back the other way.

True to the sorta Murphy's Law nature of my life lately, there was construction at the exit, and we ended up not being able to get back onto the highway going south.

Yay us.

It was at this point that tensions in the car over competing ideas of what to do nearly wrecked our excursion before we even got really started.

Still, after much consternation and finally stopping to ask for help from a kindly, if not terribly helpful, surveyor guy, we eventually made our way onto the Cross Bronx Expressway (via a circuitous route through the bowels of the Bronx), and we were on our way again.

Eventually, we made our way through Tarrytown, NY and into its famous valley, Sleepy Hollow.

Our first stop was the old Dutch Church, in which boneyard are buried the people upon whom the main characters in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow are based. It was a pretty amazing place. Hundreds of years of not-poor people are buried there, not least among them Washington Irving himself. To the left there you can see the top of Katrina von Tassel's headstone. It's amazing how, four hundred years later, it's still in fairly good condition.

I have no idea who John Buckhout was, but I loved his tombstone. He died April 10, 1785 at an age I can't read, and left behind him (I must be reading this wrong) 240 children and grandchildren.


Thats freakin' Biblical. I must have read it wrong. You can look at the largest version of the photo here. Let me know if I'm crazy, please.

There were a number of really cool tombs in the boneyard – I suspect I could have spent the whole day just wandering the place and come away with hundreds of interesting shots. Here are just a few:

Atticus, too, had a good time in the boneyard.

Once we'd had our fill of the boneyard, we returned to our rented Zipcar, only to find that it wouldn't start.

I looked down at the gas gauge and found that it was near empty; not so near empty that I thought the car shouldn't start, but pretty darn near empty.

Assuming that was the problem, Topher and I hoofed it down the road (a thankfully short distance) to a gas station, where I bought a gas can and a gallon of gas, so we'd at least have enough gas to get us to the gas station.

It was only after we hoofed it back that we discovered lack of gas wasn't our problem. In hindsight, I should have known that wasn't it, since the engine wasn't even making the attempt to turn over when I turned the key.

Finally, like the man who should stop for directions, I swallowed my pride and called Zipcar to arrange some roadside service. The customer service agent says, "I think I know what happened. The computer here doesn't have any record of your having swiped the car out of the garage, so it might think the car's been stolen and the security system's kicked in."


We followed his instructions carefully (holding my Zipcard to the reader while trying to start the engine) and within a few moments were on our way. To the gas station.

The rest of the day, spent wandering the grounds of Washington Irving's home and exploring Tarrytown, was uneventful, as was the drive back to the city (no missed turns this time):

On balance, despite the missteps and the occasional tension, I really enjoyed our outing, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do it again someday soon.

Just not 'til summer, I think.

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