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Trapped in A New York Subway

Well, Almost

August 2003


Well, almost.  Elaine and I took a trip to New York City in August of 2003.  We flew in, and got a room near Time Square and began to enjoy the sights and sounds of New York.

 On the next day after arriving we did the most important thing you can do when you visit New York, we went down to see the Today Show being broadcast.  I know some of you probably thought the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty were important things to see, but to Elaine, the Today show was a must see.

 We bought a New York Pass that got us into all of the major tourist attractions, the subway, and the bus system.  The country folk had arrived at the Big City.    We toured the Rockefeller Center building, because we were there already there.  We got to go to the Rainbow Room at the top, which gave us a birdís eye view of the City.

 Now it is time to catch a subway train and go see the Empire State Building.  Have you ever been in the subway?  I am no dummy, but figuring out which train and which color line to get on was more than I could handle.

 We picked a train and got on board.  We hoped we were heading uptown toward the Empire State Building.  We were not sure at all that we were on the right train, so we got off after two or three stops and went back aboveground to see where we were.  Satisfied that we were headed in the right direction, we went back down in the subway and went through the gates to catch a train.  We realized that we had gone down the wrong set of stairs so we went back out of the gate, back upstairs across the street and back down into the subway.

 When we got to the gate, our pass would not let us in.  It appears that if you use your pass at a particular station, it cannot be used at that station again for at least 30 minutes.  I approached a window with a person sitting behind what looked like bullet proof glass and explained the situation to the girl sitting there, and she unlocked the gate and let me go through.  As soon as I got inside, I tried to explain to the same girl that Elaine was with me and she needed to go through the gate as well.

 You might as well have asked her to shoot the President.  In fact I believe she would have shot him before she would have let Elaine through that gate.  Mind you she had just passed me through that same gate.

 After 10 minutes of a non winnable argument, I went back out the gate and we proceeded to go back upstairs.  It was late in the afternoon, probably around 4pm so we decided to get a bite to eat.  We found a little open air steak house and went inside.  The interior was a little smoky from the grill, and we were told that the power was and it would be back on in a couple of minutes.  We got the impression that only his power was off so we went ahead and got a plate and proceeded to eat.

 The restaurant did not get its power back, and the restaurant really did start to get smoky.  We ate and got out of there as quick as we could, as it was also getting hot in there.

 When we got back out on the street, we couldnít believe our eye.  Everywhere you looked, there were crowds of people milling about.  I donít believe I have ever seen so many people in one place.  This is when we found out that we were in the largest power outage ever.  A third of the United States was dark.

 No traffic lights mean that traffic was having a difficult time getting around.  If the lack of traffic lights wasnít enough, the streets were filled with people.  All of the people from the subways had come to the surface.  Well all of the people that werenít trapped in subway cars between stations had come to the surface.

 It dawns on us that we could have been one of the people who were stuck in cars.  If it wasnít for our stupidity, and the nastiness of a New York Subway worker, we would have been on the subway when the power went out instead of where we were.  I guess we all get lucky breaks now and again.

We did meet a friendly New Yorker who was trying to give us directions.  We were looking up to see what he was pointing to, but didn't see anything.

  The picture to the right is a view from our hotel window, looking down at the intersection below.





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