Sixteen years. Yes, that’s the number of consecutive years I was scheduled to travel to New York in February (I made it for 15 of those trips, but more on that later…). “How was the weather?” most at home in sunny southern California would ask in horror. Well, the truth is – it could be anything from sunny and shirt sleeves to twenty below with the wind chill! It just depends on the year.
Let’s take a step back in time before those 16 years when I lived in New York State (where they actual HAVE weather as opposed to California – where it is “Storm Watch! A dangerous half inch of rain expected” – funny but true). Watching the weather on the nightly news was pretty important. And a weather forecaster was a real job. Everyone had their favorites – mine? Janice Huff on channel four 11 PM news – in later years while visiting I would tune in just to watch her report the weather and it felt like coming home to a warm fluffy blanket which amused my coworkers to no end!
At any rate, I loved it when it snowed in the city (that’s what locals call Manhattan, by the way). Everything looked clean and there was a wonderful silence in the evening. Great time to get a table at a restaurant and feel comfortable staying at that table for the duration. Like the time I introduced a colleague to Sambuca and it resulted in… Well, that’s fodder for another post for sure!
Then there was the year that it started snowing early on my day of departure. Heavy, wet flakes – beautiful but was my flight delayed? Airline said, “no, come on out to JFK, everything’s on time!” So I left for the airport four hours before my flight because it was really coming down heavy and it might take forever…
Little did I know but “forever” was going to be three more days! After sitting in the airport sushi bar with a colleague I’ll call Mr. Radio Voice for ten hours, I hit a wall. I could not sit there for one. more. second! I knew at that point that Airline was lying – there were no flights that were going anywhere that night. Mr. Voice (always the optimist) disagreed. So I left him to the sushi and scotch and went to baggage claim. A kind-hearted sole (perhaps the only one at Airline, certainly the only one who wasn’t lying) was good enough to go and find my luggage. Off I went to the cab line while calling the hotel I just checked out of that morning to see if they would take me in. Hats off to The Muse Hotel and their fabulous customer service! Yes! Finally back in a warm hotel room at 1 AM.
Not being one to say “I told you so”, Mr. Voice should have followed my lead. Sometime after my departure, ALL flights were canceled. He ended up in baggage claim with the thousands of other lemmings and waited another two hours for his bags checking back into the hotel around four in the morning.
“That sucks!” you’re thinking. But wait, it gets even more interesting! Because all the flights were canceled there were no seats available the next day, or the next day or the day after that. You can see where this is headed… As if that’s not stressful enough, the rats, as I call them, are home unsupervised.
This is where the Fairy Godmother (aka – the concierge) steps in to save the day. She found a flight for me…two days later! And this is what that looked like when that day arrived:
Cab to Penn Station.
Train to Philadelphia.
Subway to the Philadelphia airport.
Connect in Dallas for a flight to Ontario CA airport.
But, my car is at the airport in Long Beach (thanks for the lift friend).
And that is the story of my escape from NYC!