Summer Travel Story- New York, NY posted on: Jul 17, 2010 4:25 AM We've made this mistake before but last time we had a good reason. (It was New Year's). This time we should have known better. But excitement had the better of us! Our teenage daughters love the Big Apple so when Lee, our Australian born navigator, who resides in our GPS, directed us through the Lincoln Tunnel, the two former New Yorker front seat passengers were as happy as the kids in the back. Off we went through the city streets, red lights, green lights, people everywhere! Soon snags met us at each corner. Lee said to turn right but the road was closed. Then Lee directed left-- again blocked this time by a worn out cop want-a be. Rumbling along and stopping for jaywalkers, our Honda Minivan with Florida tags must have resembled Jed Clampet and his gang. We had such good intentions. We were on our way to my mother in law's 80th birthday party. (And every minute present counts for points with her- but that's another story). The generation Y's in the back seat suddenly became experts on travel in the city! (They've seen the lights on Broadway before). "Dad go to the right!" "No Dad, turn around." My once peaceful husband started to stress out. I did not know that a minivan could fit through such narrow spaces! Crossing the isle to the east side seemed like our only survival route. At 34th and Madison a car from Michigan suddenly stopped. The tired looking crown started to cross between the vehicles-- baby stollers, moms to be, saris and animal lovers. All trying to get home on a hot Friday afternoon. We were people watching when all of a sudden two wrinkled, dirty, masculine looking females dressed in NYPD uniforms appeared. They hopped from car to car like they were poor teens cleaning windshields. One of them motioned for us to wait. Michigan man took off for he was never blocked in. Cooperatively we waited and then tried to explain the situation. Not Florida or the story of Lee or even the mother in law could change her stoned appearance. She handed us what looked like a sales receipt. My happy husband's face turned red and I pictured Jack Lemmon in a NYC jail. I leaned over to have a chat with this representative of Mayor Bloomberg's town- but off she stumbled to make another catch. With disbelief we sat with our mouths agape. "Let me read it" was the common cry as we each took a turn trying to see if the other was wrong. The little piece of paper pronounced that we owed the city $115.00! Gripping the wheel my suddenly sun burnt husband now took us on Mister Toads Wild Ride. But in Disney we were not! So many people were never so lucky as our van grazed by. "River Rats" I declared and everyone agreed. That's what they looked like and they must have came out of the sewer! Biofeedback never before came in so handy as I tried to relax my hypertensive crowd. We had lots of time in bumper to bumper as the car travelled on to our destination. The land of my in laws never looked so good! Long Island appeared like the Emerald City! We knocked three times on the Residence Inn door! Thank goodness the clerk didn't ask us to go away and bring back a broom. For like the Three Wise Men we will return by another route.