My Brief Visit to NYC Last Week
Had a trip on Wed-Fri that took us into JFK Thursday. Our approach brought us in from the Atlantic off the Jersey coast, but the undercast obscured our view of the damage. As we approached Fire Island from the South, and then over toward Hempstead on Long Island, a lot of coastal flooding was evident.
After waiting nearly two hours in the blustery cold inside the “Horse Shoe” of Terminal 3 for our transportation service, our limo finally arrived, and parts of three different crews piled into the black SUV. The driver apologized, and explained that fuel supplies were running dangerously low, and their company would most likely have enough for that day’s commitments, but Friday was a different story. He reckoned that fuel would be gone for their fleet. The local news station was playing on the radio, and we could hear reports of long lines of people waiting to buy gas, and sporadic outbreaks of violence related to the shortage. Since there were no rooms near Kennedy, the limo driver drove us into Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge (59th Street), over to 45th Street and Madison Avenue (The Roosevelt Hotel). The roads from JFK to Long Island City were jammed with traffic, but the traffic on the bridge was extremely light, as the authorities were allowing only vehicles with three occupants or more to traverse it.
For the most part, everything seemed almost normal in the part of Manhattan we visited… something seemed slightly amiss, but it was hard to describe. The only evidence of the effects of the storm that I witnessed was the beer taps that had run dry at one of the pilots’ favorite watering holes on 3rd Avenue, the Blarney Stone. Luckily, the style of beer that I enjoy were still flowing from their taps (IPAs)!
Just a few blocks South of us, say 34th Street and South, it was quite a different story… Electricity was still off, flooding was all over. I didn’t venture in that direction, as we were advised that it wasn’t safe.
After changing into my “civvies,” I headed over to 5th Avenue, then North to 50th, to attend the last All Saints Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral this year. As usual, the cathedral was beautiful, and full of locals and tourists.
After mass, I headed East on 50th toward Park Avenue to grab my dinner from a street vendor. Chicken and rice, Halal-style. Continuing on, down 50th to 3rd Avenue, then South to just past 45th, I enjoyed a large glass of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA at the Blarney Stone (to aid in digestion, of course). Then West on 45th back to the Roosevelt.
To my great surprise, my limo showed up at 4:10 am the next morning to transport me back to JFK for my deadhead flight home. Apparently, there was still a supply of gasoline for the transportation company’s fleet.
My brief visit to NYC made the aftermath of Sandy much more “real” to me. Of course, my life didn’t suffer one little bit, but it gave me a great appreciation of the suffering that so many have endured and are now still enduring. It is my prayer to those affected that their lives return to normal soon.