Continuing from my beautiful prologue about ticket troubles, I’m going to talk about my experience in the line outside the venue of the Infinite One Great Step concert in New York. I am convinced I missed all the big drama that happened towards the beginning, but it didn’t get any better from there.
The flight from Kentucky to North Carolina and then there to Newark was not bad at all. My friend and I landed in New Jersey (The other five drove up) around 9:45ish pm. We took the Airtrain to P4 where we had a shuttle for our hotel take us to the wonderful land of comfiness. Of course, we couldn’t enjoy it for long. There was a pull-out sofa bed and two beds. Once we dropped off our carry-on luggage there and changed, we headed back out. To the city we go!
At the time, we didn’t think of a cheaper way to get to New York City, so we had the front desk call for a taxi. I was trying to charge my phone in an outlet so it wouldn’t be dead before Saturday even started. The taxi ride was $25 to get to the Newark Penn Station. (Later, we got smarter and took advantage of the airport’s Airtran to save fare.) By that time, there weren’t many people there, asked security where to go, and then went to buy the tickets. So expensive. Everything. Ugh my bank is probably crying now even from just transportation costs. We saw machines but then my friend had taken the train there before so knew that the ticket we wanted was not an option there. She asked someone who worked there and turns out there was this orange/blue machine that was specifically for the train rather than for the metro. We saw people buying metro tickets, and I happened to pay attention to an Asian guy (no, I was not interested in him or anything) walk up to the metro machines and buy a ticket.
My friend and I started to fangirl while we waited for the train to arrive. Then, I noticed that the Asian guy was talking to the same person who helped us out. He walked over to the orange/blue machines afterward. Ahh, he had bought the wrong ticket! Then, he came back and stood somewhat next to us. The train arrived not long after and my friend and I went in to sit down. I, having never taken the train there before (I used to live in CT and visited NY often but always by car, not public transportation), asked if the ticket was supposed to be scanned. Nope, just punched through like crazy by the train ticket dude who was supposed to go through each carriage. Some people hadn’t paid beforehand so had to pay a fine (I think?) in person. We ended getting stuck in one place on the rail for like 30 minutes before it started moving again, and it was 11-something p.m. by then and I was starving. My stomach was hurting and I was also super thirsty. Fangirling, texting friends and complaining helped to pass the time. By the time we arrived at the New York Penn Station, it was around midnight Friday. I caught a glimpe of the same Asian guy from before looking around. I secretly had hoped he was going to the concert as well, but that wasn’t the case.
We exited and saw Madison Square Garden, which was where SM Town had a concert before, my friend told me. I was staring around at everything that I had not since since four years ago and took a picture of Times Square with what few seconds I had at a stop light. We immediately went looking for a place to eat and my friend asked if I wanted burgers or pizza. Not being a burger fan, I said “PIZZA.” So we went into Sabarro. The pizza was so delicious just because I was that hungry. I also ordered a Pepsi (they had no Coke yo D:<), since I could need the caffeine to last through the night and the whole next day.
My friend asked me if I wanted to go check out Korea Town first or go take a look at the venue first. I said the venue, just in case. Turns out my decision for us was smart. There were less than 20 people huddling in small clumps, standing not under the venue’s shelter but around it. We walked up to one group and got the details that there was lots more fans there before we had reached the venue. Things were talked out about order of lining up, but then a huge fight broke out. It had gotten so bad that the police had to drive onto the sidewalk and force people to leave. Well, the group we talked to said that the police did not make them leave the area completely, so they stood off to the side. We waited there with them, and it was around 1 am Saturday at that point. We talked about biases, about where everyone was from and how they got there, about MTVK and other random things. A little later, we all sat down on the cold ground. Then, we decided to move on over to the side of the building next the the Manhattan Center and stood in line, making sure there were no disagreements about who was there before who. Everyone sat down again, this time for a long time.
At one point, it started to rain, and some people pulled out umbrellas. My friend and I had one each, so I let two other girls borrow mine. Then, I had to go to the bathroom. Whoot. It was a randomly early time where no stores were open except for those 24-hr ones. I temporarily stepped out with two other girls to go find hot cocoa and a bathroom. We wandered on the streets and found some places that were open but claimed their bathrooms were closed, or places that claimed they were open 24 hours outside the window but were totally closed. My stomach was starting to hurt again and my bladder was crying for help. We found a place that sold hot chocolate, then went on searching for bathrooms. We ended up walking all the way back to where I had come out from: the New York Penn Train Station. ARGH. Luckily, one of the girls I was with remembered there was a restroom in there and we went and relieved ourselves before heading back to the line. By then, the line had grown a little bit longer, and the rain got worse. At least it wasn’t pouring hard at any given time that I remember. Sitting on cardboard, newspaper and plastic bags didn’t help too much though. Hours passed, lots of talking and almost nodding off to sleep. My pants got soaked, especially my butt. I didn’t even realize it at the time, and I had a $5 red fleece blanket wrapped around my legs that was starting to get wet. Later, I found red fuzz all over me. Hmm, I wonder why.
It was still raining, and the newspaper that I was sitting on was getting wet. (Thank you to the kind Inspirit who gave me a sheet) My upper body, head and hands were nice and toasty, but my butt, legs and feet felt really cold. At least no water went into my boots, that would have been horrible to deal with. At times, my head got a little too warm from my black bear-ear hat/scarf/mitten combo. Holding up an umbrella was somewhat of a pain, but my friend and I switched off on umbrella duty. The rest of the group arrived around 6:10-ish a.m., and by that time, I’m pretty sure my butt was rooted to the ground. I had so much trouble getting up, but I was so glad to see them so that my friend and I could go back to the hotel and freshen up before coming back to the line. We took the train and then the taxi back to the hotel. My shower was quick and easy, as was my friend’s, and we ended up getting back to the line around 10 or 11-something due to stupid long waits and the shuttle guy totally missing all the terminals and stops at the airport, looping back around to the hotel and then starting again. There were a few flight attendants on that shuttle with us who were running late, along with someone who had to go catch a flight. Wonderfulness.
When we got back to the line, a significant amount of people had arrived in between, and barricades had been set up. Apparently security had kept saying they’d lock the barricades so that people couldn’t get in or out, so one of my friends texted to hurry and get back to the line. We were trying out best! >n< The rain had also stopped too, and I got a muddy umbrella back, haha. I remember I had one bite of a lemon-flavored cake at the hotel before we left, since breakfast was being served at that time. And I drank a lot of water, which wasn’t smart. I told myself I wouldn’t eat the rest of the time until after the concert. Bad choice. I drank hot chocolate and water, which caused me to have to run across the street to the cafe there and use the restroom countless times. Which meant I had to leave the line countless times and squeeze myself between the barricades. Which also meant I had to buy food for my friends and order while looking at the lengthy list on my phone that they sent me. Because I was so blur about the list, I forgot to pick up the breakfast sandwich from the counter, so I had to run back to Dunkin Donuts to retrieve it. But my friends let me keep the change, yay!
Hours passed. I kept staring at the IMAX theatre digital sign across the street that was streaming names of movies it was showing. I talked to and met three girls who spoke Cantonese and at one point, a lady was going around with her DSLR and interviewing and video taping people who were sitting in line. A significant amount of people tried to cut throughout the whole day claiming all sorts of stories and security was all like, “NO YOU DON’T, these people have been sitting here for hours and hours. I don’t care that you _______. Go to the back of the line.” Fill in the blank. I applaud for how security stuck up for us.
Er, well my opinion of them overall kind of changed after we were treated like cattle and herded messily around 3pm-ish? My legs were so tired, but I could not sit unless I wanted to be trampled and squished flat like a pancake. The last bathroom trip I took, the cafe had gotten smart by then and there was this guy watching over the bathrooms and asking for receipts before one could relive herself. I bought a pack of strawberry flavored Haribo gummies, the first thing I laid eyes on. I did not eat them, fearing I would have to drink water and go to the restroom again. Some fanbases handed out some free goodies, such as banners to hold up during certain parts of the concert. There was a poster poll going around about who in Infinite would be the most compatible for the NYC lifestyle. I voted for Sungjong and his awesome outfit choices, naturally, haha. (And I actually found the results posted on tumblr after!!) Security widened the barricade to make more room. As a result, people who were further back could push their way closer to the front. Welp, I was no longer one of the first 20 in the line by then. Pushing, shoving and yelling was heard, and while I had missed all the drama that had happened prior to this, this was getting bad fast. A couple of us managed to link arms so that it’d be harder for others to push pass.
When it came closer for the early entry ticket holders to go in, we were given blue bracelets to separate us from the rest. Another barricade was put up on the street next to the one we were contained in. People did not file neatly or in order into that side. People were losing their spots as others pushed their way to the front, and ones right next to the edges of barricades or at the very front were being squished into the bars. I could only try to stand in place, right up against the people around me in all directions. The way security went about doing it was highly disorganized and unfair. At one point, I felt that everyone around me was supporting how I stood, and sometimes I was sideways, and other times diagonally. My legs were begging to rest, but I forced them to stay planted to the ground as best as possible. Two friends were playing with the pom poms on either side of my head to pass the time.
Merchandise started to sell, and individuals were walking up and down the mob of a line to see who wanted to purchase shirts and jackets, holding giant packets in their arms. From Tumblr posts, I knew that they would only be selling shirts and jackets. Surprisingly, they were cheaper in NY than LA. $5 cheaper, to be exact, so I got my jacket for $70. T-shirts were $40, but I had no interest. I had decided before then that I would set aside money for a jacket and whipped out a Benjamin Franklin. I wanted a dark blue jacket, but they ran out of smalls. Ugh, just my luck. I settled with a medium that I immediately put on afterwards. It’s a bit oversized, but I put up with the baggy fit and it was warm.
I had a totally unexpected brief reunion with a childhood friend who I had not seen for like SIX years. Out of all places, at a KPop concert. She had seen my Times Square picture I posted on Facebook and thought that I was probably In New York for Infinite. Being part of press, she messaged me that she was going to go around and interview people and try to find me in the process. I told her to look for a girl with two huge pink pom poms in her hair. We linked hands and exchanged a few words before she went on her merry way and I remembered I was stuck in the miserable herd. Some more people tried (few were successful, and this had been an ongoing thing throughout the day if I didn’t mention that already) to cut into the line at the front. Of course, the ones already lined up would loudly object and oppose their presence. Some people were arguing for so long that the line down the block and around the corner just kept growing longer the more that they tried to prove their point.
After what seemed like forever, security started saying stuff and pushing us farther and farther back… starting from yelling at the front. They told us there was plenty of room to back up when there was like, NONE. Inspirits started to shout to security that they needed to tell the people in the back of the barricade section to back up before we could. We were getting pissed. Someone turned on their stereo and played Infinite songs to lighten up the mood. A KPop dance cover group went across the street to perform a few numbers but vehicles kept getting in the way. Wonderful rush hour’s fault, though there’s always lots of cars on the road during the day there.
Suddenly, security said stuff that I couldn’t exactly hear, but it sounded like they were going to let Early Admission in. The mob got more restless and started pushing forward quite violently. I then heard things like “Walk, do not run!” and how if people ran… I couldn’t hear the rest. No pushing no shoving! I kept hearing those words (or similar, I don’t exactly remember) over and over. BAH, as if people would listen. The cattle herd of a “line” shoved forward very quickly and it was like trying escaping from the apocalypse. The Floodgates of Early Entry opened around 6:30-ish. I was pushed in all directions and one of my friends managed to keep hold on my arm so we wouldn’t be separated. When I finally made it to the opening, my other friends save for me and the one holding onto me were already inside. (Or so I thought. Later I found out another was separated too but was by herself!) I was pushed forward into the guard and he had to keep me from falling and let me go while yelling at the ones behind to stop shoving people. I went over to the bag check table which inspected my contents a little too quickly, perhaps? Not that I was going to bring in anything that was prohibited, because I wasn’t going to risk not being able to see one of my favorite KPop groups. After that, I quickly walked into the venue.
*Note: I probably forget stuff already ahhh… Oh well.
TO BE CONTINUED…