Thus, early the following morning, our Greyhound bus pulled into the sleazy, run down area which enclosed New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd and 8th Avenue in Manhattan. We heedfully made our way through the subway network up to the Bronx and Fordham University where we had been told we might be able to find accommodation (as it was end of term) in the student residences.
Once in the Bronx, the New York subway system becomes, as many know, an elevated rail network with singularly depressing views of American urban decay. The frequency of abandoned and burnt out buildings greatly dismayed me, to say the least. In many cases, block after block of large-scale apartment structures lay in complete ruin to the right and left of subway coach windows. Not quite the American dream, I thought.
Presently, we arrived at Fordham Road in the heart of the celebrated borough and made our way over to the university of the same name – “the Jesuit University of New York,” as it was more officially known. Although the campus was lush, the news was bad: no dormitory rooms would be available, for whatever reason, for at least a week or two.
Greatly disappointed, and considerably fatigued (neither of us had really slept on the bus the night before), we headed back to the subway with our eyes set on the ever-eclectic Greenwich Village, the east coast mecca of flower children and other free spirits in all their colouful array. There, at the opposite end of New York City, we were convinced shelter would be found!
Passing through Washington Square, one could easily appreciate that spring had only shortly arrived in the region as hundreds of people just lay about soaking up the sun’s golden rays while others entertained themselves in diverse, picturesque ways.
In a state of complete exhaustion, we did eventually find lodging, the nature of which was such that on a scale of One to Five Stars our temporary abode would not even have found itself in the ratings! It served the immediate purpose, however, and within a few days we unearthed for ourselves a respectable, yet affordable accommodation in Room 2028 in the Hotel Manhattan Towers at Broadway and 76th street, just west of Central Park.