Crying in Public in New York on my Birthday!

One Saturday night in mid July, I achieved a New York trifecta.

I cried on a city bus.

I cried on the subway.

I cried in the back of a cab. 

I pour my sweat (hello heat wave) and tears into this city! On every form of public transportation!

It wasn’t an epic, unending flood of tears but rather fits and starts. I’d think I was done, drained the last reserves of my tear ducts, then start all over again.

Crying in public in New York City: no doubt a New York cliché

Want to achieve this I’m-a-REAL-New-Yorker-Now! trifecta? Of course you do! I’ll tell you exactly what I did, so you can too!

Step 1: Be a chronically late person. The sort of person who considers herself successful when she’s only 5 minutes late. The friend who gets told a fake arrival time, 15 minutes ahead, so that she arrives only 5 minutes late. You always show up sweaty and out of breath because you ran the last couple blocks. You’re that girl.

Step 2: Decide to celebrate you birthday on a party boat! You score press tickets for an electronic dance music (EDM) party on a boat. It will cruise around the East River exactly when the clock strikes midnight for your birthday. You’re turning 29 on a Saturday night, you have to do something a little crazy, this is perfect!

Step 3: Decide to work an event in New Jersey the evening of the boat cruise. It’s only a 15 minute bus ride from Manhattan,  the event ends at 8:30PM, the boat leaves at 10PM, it’s perfect timing! What could possibly go wrong?

Step 4: Finish your event at 8:30PM, waltz through the parking lot toward the buses that leave every 20 minutes. Everything’s working out just dandy!

Step 5: Step on up to a bus that’s dark, but the drivers sitting in the seat. Ask him when he’s leaving. Here him say, “Not until the event is over.” Stare at him dumbfounded. Say something dumb like, “Wait, what? Huh? J/K right?” He is not J/K-ing.

Step 6: Tell him you were told by your employer that the bus would leave every 20 minutes. Watch him shrug, “No one’s gonna be getting on this bus until the event is over. I’m not driving an empty bus back to the city.”

Step 7: Breathe a sigh of relief. A group of your co-workers are right behind you, that’ll fill up the bus! Hooray!

Step 8: The group of coworkers arrives, but the driver still won’t let you on the bus. “I can’t leave unless there are 35 people.” You only have 26 assembled.

Step 9: Tell the bus driver it’s your birthday. Talk to his supervisor on the phone. Beg and plead with the entire bus company. Tell him you will pay the extra fare to make up for the lacking 9 people. Run around the parking lot trying to collect more people. TRY EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF. (Spoiler: NOTHING WORKS.)

Step 10: Download Uber and consider paying $200 to get a car to take you back to NYC. That’s more money than you made working this event.

Step 11: Collect 29 people. The bus driver finally lets you all on the bus. He says he’ll leave at 9:20PM.

Step 12: Sit on the bus, on a shitty, orange plastic seat, under awful fluorescent lighting, surrounded by 30 (one more just showed up) people you just worked with, but don’t know well at all, and feel completely helpless.

Step 13: Start to cry. Just before the bus leaves, so you look really, really stupid. Cry harder because you know you look really stupid, in front of all these people, many of whom you just supervised. You don’t care. You’re going to miss your party because of this stupid, stupid job. Why did you think this would work out? What’s wrong with you? Think every thought you possibly can that will keep the crying jag going. Once you start, why stop?

Step 14: Feel the bus finally leave. Cry harder because you’re so close. It’s 9:20PM, the boat leaves at 10PM. You’ll need a true transportation miracle to make it.

Step 15: Your contact slips out of your eye. One of your co-workers jumps up and brings her finger toward your eye, seeming to want to pull it off your face. Recoil in shock. Refrain from yelling, “Are you crazy? Don’t fucking touch my contact!”

Step 16: Get your contact back in your eye yourself.

Step 17: Everyone on the bus has been trying to ignore the fact that you were crying, but the weird contact move broke the tension. Explain the situation to the bus. Everyone’s attitude changes from, “Crazy Crying Chick” to “Unlucky Birthday Girl”. Suddenly 30 people are all offering their advice on the best transport route. “You still have a chance, you could still make it.”

Step 18: The bus pulls into Port Authority. The doors open and you dash down the escalator, your co-workers cheering you on, “Happy birthday, Mary Lane! You’re gonna make it!”

Step 19: Sprint through Port Authority like a crazy person.

Step 20: Arrive at the subway platform out of breath and HOLY SHIT it’s a subway miracle! The F train is pulling in! Just the train you wanted!

Step 21: Get on the train. Realize it is re-routed to the A train route because of weekend track work. Fuck. So much for a perfect miracle. It’s 9:40PM though, there is still hope!

Step 22: Sit on the subway. Feel hopeful. Decide to transfer at West 4th Street.

Step 23: Get off the train at West 4th. Wait for the D train to come.


Step 24: No subway miracle. The D train is not coming! WHAT TO DO!? Jump on the next train that arrives, it’ll get you closer and you can take a cab! For every minute that passes, rational thought becomes less and less possible.

Step 25: Feel the train stop in the tunnel. Listen to the announcement, “We are delayed due to train traffic ahead of us.”

Step 26: Look at the clock. 9:55PM. You’re not going to make it.

Step 27: Start to cry on the subway. This is the start of your birthday. Everything is awful.


Step 28: Get off the subway at 10:04PM. You’re late. The boat’s gone.

Step 29: Get in a cab. You feel like shit. Your birthday’s already ruined, how are you supposed to salvage the night from here? Start to cry in the cab. You have to go meet your friends but all you want to do right now is go home.

And that friends, is how I spent the last few hours of my 28th year crying in two states, on 3 different modes of transportation, in the presence of about 100 people.

But the story has a happy ending! When my cab pulled up to the dock, there was a huge line outside. The boat hadn’t left yet!! Everyone counts on tardiness in NYC! My friends met me with a box of macarons and helped me wipe the mascara off my face. I managed to recover from my “EVERYTHING IS RUINED” attitude with a little food, followed by a lot of booze, amazing views of the city skyline, and an hour on a crazy dance floor.

A birthday miracle: the lead up was horrible, but when the clock struck birthday, everything was great. And I’ll tell you all about the actual EDM dance party boat cruise tomorrow!

As much as I hate to admit, I think all the crying might imply I’m not exactly thrilled a year older…I’m not exactly where I want to be at 29. How’s that for a cliché? Here’s hoping I get there by 30!

Do you have any stories of crying in public in New York? Or in any other city? Birthdays that were salvaged at the last minute? I’d love to hear them!

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

16 thoughts on “Crying in Public in New York on my Birthday!

  1. Aww I’m sorry you had such a stressful birthday and I’m glad it ended on a good note Why would someone just reach out and catch your contact?
    I have cried for no reason out of frustration but I don’t recall why I was crying . I must have been hysterical or recovering from a break up. When you have a sappy love song playlist on my phone expect, outbreaks of inappropriate crying.
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    1. The contact thing was so weird! Just a complete blind spot to personal space I guess?
      I don’t think of crying as being weak, so it doesn’t really make me uncomfortable to do it in public! A lot of people do NOT feel that way though! Glad you’re not one of them 🙂

    1. What more could a New Yorker want for their birthday than a New York Miracle? It was definitely a good one!

  2. It’s tough when you have to have a good cry and are in the city- There’s like no private place!

    I once agreed to drop a bf who was going to Europe for 2 months for job training, off at THE LAX airport. I was 18 and super broke and he promised to give me the gate fare, welll we forgot about that during our goodbyes. I Was already in tears from having to say goodbye to my first love, then I got into the car and freaked out because I realized I didn’t get the money. I found 60ish cents and it cost like 10 dollars to get out of parking so I had another melt down, I called my mom who told me to just calm down explain my situation to the parking guard. (She has such a positive outlook towards people.) so I pulled up to the gate explaining my situation to an unsympathetic man, in that pathetic trying to talk without crying way- he kept saying “find me 10 dollars” and I got hysterically crying telling him all I have is a bunch of dimes and what is he going to do, hold me hostage? Arrest me?? I checked the nooks and crannies of my car as if there would be 10 dollars of change lying around it and I cried the whole time yelling about how my bf is so stupid and saying I needs call my parents. After about 15 minutes and a line of honking cars behind me, he rolled his eyes and said “just go f* off”.

    That same bf, a few months after he returned to USA, broke up with me in public (because I lived on Long Island, he in Connecticut, we would meet up for dates in the city). He told me right as my train home arrived that he decided to move to Europe permanently. Then he had the hutzpah to tell me not to make a scene in front of people and everyone was staring (well no shit, maybe don’t break up with someone in a public place)!!

    Happy birthday! Bet your birthday is such a relief to look back on and laugh about how much stress and tears it was at first. It can be a blessing that NYC runs on its own time!

    1. Ahhh! I don’t like your ex-boyfriend! Or that parking attendant man! At least he finally did let you leave though! It is so hard to know the best place to break up with people- especially in NYC. Like it’s either in public or your bedroom- because of roommates- and both totally suck! I’ve been thinking about writing a post about places to break up with people… Thanks for leaving such a great story, ah to be 18 again!

      And yes, hooray for NYC time and looking back on things and being able to laugh!

  3. Phew! Mary! What a night! I would never even have the confidence to plan to work and go to a party on the same night with 90 minutes between but I am the type of person who is half an hour early for everything.

    I am glad it worked out for you. Happy belated birthday.

    1. hahahaha how kind of you to say “confidence”! If I’m being positive I’ll say it was optimism. Negative I’ll say STUPIDITY! I’m the kind of person who is 5 minutes late for everything. If we put our habits together, we’d be on time!

    1. haha it is definitely a huge difference between men and women: how uncomfortable does public crying make them. It’s also a big social acceptance difference. No tears were needed, but it actually helped me get out the stress/anxiety. If I hadn’t cried, maybe I would’ve vommitted instead!

    1. The funny thing is I ALMOST put “crying in public” on my list! Haha! Wow, I’m taking it as a big complement that I made your heart race! Hope it slowed down faster than it took me to stop crying 😉

  4. I was so tense reading this, but gripped! I’m SO happy (and almost cried with relief) that you got to the boat in time! I now will read the post about the boat party! I’ve had situations like that so many times – and actually one recently when I was in NYC trying to get to a press brunch on time, but took 1.5 hours to get from W4th to the LES all because of that stupid F-Train/A-Train scenario! That took us to the hideous Chambers Street station!!! I got stuck on the Subway like a loser!

    1. omg that’s so sweet! You almost cried with relief!
      Being stuck on the train is THE WORST!!!! SUCH a New York Cliche!

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