I left Virginia in haste and failed to set a concrete spot in Penn Station to meet my friend. Stepping off the train with bags heavier than I am, I quickly realized this was a really bad move. I waited where the train had dropped me off, not knowing that visitors weren't allowed in the area. After 45 min of not being met by my friend, I spent a few frustrating hours dragging my luggage around and trying lucklessly to find the booth where you can have people paged.
I gave up at the Long Island railroad and went into a bar to smoke, calm down, and make a few calls.
The absence of phone books at telephone booths in the city I can understand but not having one behind the bar was a bit much. More frustrated than ever, I sat and sulked, wondering how I would ever find my hotel without a $50 cab ride. I knew I was only a few blocks away but didn't know the exact address. I was sure a cab driver would wander all over Manhattan getting me there.
Not only did the bartender politely introduce himself, shake my hand and start giving me free drinks but the patrons who surrounded me were far from patronizing. One wisely advised that I call information for the hotel's international number and describe the location as best I could, (which quickly got me the address). Thanks NYC!