I approach the intersection of 36th Street and Madison Avenue frankly a little clueless. Drew asked that I meet him here but I’ve never met Drew and therefore have no idea what Drew looks like or what …
And then, the signal changes and I am forced to stand on the corner staring ahead at a hearse. Yes, a large, black, antique hearse just waiting for me on the other side of the intersection. It’s a Monday morning not long after most working people in New York have punched in at an office – stragglers still pass me, looking hungover and unsure of whether or not they are ready for a Monday! What am I doing with my Monday? I’m about to cross this intersection and, I guess – get in a hearse. I’ve never been more unsure of what will happen next than I am at this minute!
I see the walk signal and knowing there’s no time like the present – I start walking. Drew steps out of the hearse and greets me. I get in what has to be the most comfortable and inviting hearse I’ve ever ridden in. “Wait,” I think “compared to what? How many times have I actually ridden in a hearse?” But I have [ridden in a hearse before] and this is [the most comfortable and inviting hearse I’ve ever ridden in] and before I know it we’re off. Stares and all.
This hearse, expertly maneuvered by Drew through the streets of NYC – and that’s saying something since driving in NYC is a competitive sport that many will never win – invites stares like I’ve never experienced. Unlike a hearse actually used for funerals, these windows are not blacked out. I can see everyone we pass and everyone we pass can see me. Note to future tourists traveling with Dead Apple Tours: accept the fact that people will stare at you as if more than just your shirt is on backwards! In fact, one woman runs into a light pole because she is staring at us in this hearse!
Drew explains we’re in a Desdemona and only 468 of these beauties were ever made. I should have recognized it, this was also used as the Ghost Busters vehicle! Hand to head. My nerd badge should get revoked.
I start taking notes, we’re pulling up to the Empire State Building and Drew launches into the stories of New York City’s dead. I laugh when he talks of this being “the point of departure” for so many. It won’t be the last time I chuckle today. For as gruesome as the topic of death can be, Drew is talented at making the right jokes at the right time. He’s a master storyteller. Stares and all – I enjoy my ride through downtown, the Village and the Meatpacking District. I’m a history geek with a deep appreciation for the art of storytelling. Furthermore, death is interesting to me – just in that sense that we all die … eventually. It’s interesting to me that none of us can avoid it. So whether we go out in a blaze of alcohol fueled self pity like Dylan Thomas and his 18 whiskeys or soaring from the heights in the style of “The Bobst Diving Team” … we all die. We all leave stories behind us when we go.
“This is fun!” I think to myself.
I could have spent the day at the history museum, or the MET as I so love to do. However, now that I am here – I know this is exactly the place I want to be! I’m riding around in comfort and warmth on a cold day in the city. I’m learning about my favorite town from a point of view many overlook. I’m seeing things I’ve never noticed before, I’m laughing and I’m smiling.
Somewhere around Broome Street and the story of my favorite Aussie is when I realize I should stop taking notes, after all – when I write about this – I won’t be recounting every fact and antidote that Drew is sharing with me. Doing so would be pointless for recommending people take Drew’s tour. What would be left to learn if I’ve told all the stories?
Here is what I do know riding in this hearse with its windows to the world … I can highly recommend this tour!! Why? Give Drew a call and see for yourself …
Dead Apple Tours run 6 days a week in New York City and are approximately $45/pp. The Desdemona hearse accommodates 7 passengers at a time. Call 1-888-557-1313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for your reservation today! Also, check out the Facebook fan page and twitter profile for more information!
This tour was made possible by the kind invitation of Drew and Dead Apple Tours. However, the views and opinions in this post are strictly my own.