After last year’s travel excitement, I decided this year to not mess around with all that connecting flight garbage and just fly direct in and out of NY JFK airport, and visit my sister in the city. Aside from a minor delay (during which I got to enjoy drinks with Skyler as we crossed paths), my flight went great. JetBlue is so quick, friendly and spot-on with its service, it makes you wonder what the hell all of these other airlines are doing. But of course with a simple plane flight, it must leave room for something else to go wrong. Lo and behold, the NYC Transit strike! I arrived at the airport early Wednesday morning and walked toward the taxi stand not knowing what to expect. What the… ? A short line?! The officer coordinating the taxis asked me where I was going and I said 30th and 1st Ave. “OK, step up here to the front, you’re riding with these two ladies. $30 flat fee each.” Not too bad. That’s about what I’d normally pay to take a cab from the airport. The car was full and the traffic was only a little slow. Police barricades were set up at the key entrance points to the tunnels and bridges onto Manhattan, making sure carpools with 4+ people were the only ones entering. Rush hour was over, so it was smooth sailing. I was the first stop in the city. Pretty painless.
Inside the city it isn’t nearly as bad as a lot of the news coverage makes it sound. People having to walk around does not = apocalypse. Yes it’s cold here, but Northeasterners have dealt with that for centuries. It does suck for a number of commuters, but for every angry testimonial I’ve heard, I’ve seen another person saying their commute wasn’t any different (NJ Transit, Metro North, and a few other lines are still running). It’s mostly a pain for those in Brooklyn, Queens, or people who have jobs/homes way uptown/crosstown/downtown. Overall, the streets are much more crowded with vehicles than they normally are, and you see many more bicycles, scooters, rollerblades and of course foot-traffic than you might otherwise. There are also a ton of NYPD at major intersections, where they help coordinate the masses of pedestrians, traffic jams and car-pool taxi fares. The downside is that most of the traffic around is NY natives. The few touristy areas I’ve been so far were eerily empty, especially for 3 days before Christmas. It really is costing the city a LOT. Aside from limiting some of the distance I can travel in the city (I miss the subway), there isn’t much other effect on my experience yet (knock on wood, we tackle Grand Central and Metro North tomorrow). I took a long chilly walk down to Greenwich Village and SoHo yesterday, and today we’re probably headed up to see the holiday glitz of Rockefeller center. My sister’s location is working out nicely, and it’s finally starting to feel like Christmas.