Thursday, July 7, 2011

traveling with the sweet baby

I got a phone call from my father last week. He asked what ely james and I were up to for the 4th of July. "Why, going to CT to hang out with you, of course!" I replied.

With it being a huge holiday weekend and add on being newly unemployed, renting a car was completely out of the question. This normally would not be a problem. Just hop on a train and go. But we have a sweet baby to think about!! This sweet baby:

Seventy pounds of sweet baby. How does one travel, in NYC, with 70 pounds of sweet baby and no car?

There are rules. Plenty of MTA rules. So, for subway riding the MTA says this:

Small domestic pets are permitted on the subway and on buses of New York City Transit, MTA Bus, and Long Island Bus only when they are carried in kennels or similar containers that can by accommodated by you on your lap without annoyance to other passengers.

Small? On your lap? Ridiculous. Truly unfair. I think there should be a last car clause for bigger dogs. If your dog is bigger than 30 pounds you can travel with it in the last car of the subway only, type thing. Of course, in a carrier of some sort. Don't want there to be late night doggie rumbles or anything. If you're scared of bigger dogs then don't get the fuck on the last car. Right? There should be a new rule. As it is, you mostly see this:

We started to search for carriers for bigger dogs. There seem to be two options. A crate, which is not at all easy to travel with, or a pet stroller. That's right, they make pet strollers. They are ugly and over $200.

I mean, seriously. What it the point of this thing? I guess if your dog is old and can't walk anymore, it sort of makes sense to get it out and about. The price tag alone made this option a big fat no.
When I started to google what the rules were or really what you could get away with, I found a blog posting about traveling around NYC with these guys:

It's so big there are two dogs in there! These guys tested all the ways to travel with it and didn't get in any trouble. I think, even though these dogs are not small, the key words to bending the MTA rules are 'similar containers.'

Our solution was to travel early. Less people to freak out with a big pitbull in a bag. Yes, a bag. Which is a similar container!

We added some patriotic bling in case we were approached by officials. Thought it might soften some hearts.

Stage one was complete! Total success! Although, it could have been that we picked the car that had two homeless men in it so no one wanted to be in there anyway.

Now, the MTA rules loosens up a little when you get to the Metro-North. They say :

Small domestic pets are permitted provided they're carried in kennels or similar containers, or are securely controlled on leashes throughout the trip and do not annoy other customers. Pets should not occupy seats and are subject to approval by the conductor.

Securely controlled on leashes?! Awesome!!

We picked the front car of the train but were still nervous about being kicked out. So we tried to downplay the situation:

But once we got to Stamford, we decided that we were past the point of caring. If we got kicked out, we'd have to call the 'rents to pick us

Now, the trip home was a whole different affair. It consisted of: us feeling more confident; leaving sweet baby out of the bag until we reached Grand Central; then me being left alone at Union Square while ej went off to rehearse with the boys; loosing my confidence; feeling totally alone and thinking that I should have washed my hair cause I'm sure I looked like one of those homeless 'travelers' that hang out in the East Village or Williamsburg:

The ride continued with: a woman that screamed at me as she almost sat down next to me and the sweet baby; having her glare at me for the rest of the train ride; a nice woman who moved from her seat across from us to next to us so that no one else would have to; the normal conversation you have with people who understand that every dog is an individual and you shouldn't be prejudice of a breed; realizing this nice lady was a little off since she had blood on her baseball cap and was really talking to sweet baby the whole time and not me.

But we made it! We picked a busy travel time and I don't like being paid attention to at all so, I'm not sure how often this experiment will be repeated but it was worth it in the end:

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