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This Day in History, 2007: NYC Subway Meltdown

A year ago today, on August 8, 2007, severe rains flooded the New York City subway system, adversely affecting the commutes of many, many New Yorkers. Quite a few friends of mine got caught in the whole mess, and reading their reports made me nostalgic for where I grew up.

So, who wants to be the first to share their reminiscence of the event?

(And apparently in commemoration of the event, at 6:36 this morning we heard a boom and the power went out in our apartment and in other parts of Brookline. I'm guessing it's a blown transformer; there's one on our block that has had issues before. We hear NSTAR is on the case, so we're hoping to have power when we get home.)


It was a pain and a hassle, and it meant walking from 71st Avenue to Junction Blvd to get the bus to the 7 train, then walking from Grand Central uptown, riding a bus that took me from 59th Street to 72nd Street (where it turned) and walking some more.

The funny thing is that yesterday, I walked from my house to the 71st Avenue station because the Q64 (formerly called the Q65A) was running really, really late. So sometimes mass transit can be bolloxed up in NYC without a drop of rain.
I woke up this morning and also discovered there had been a power outage. My place had power by 8:00 AM however.
That's good to hear. Maybe it means our power is back on.
I had to go check my LJ to remember what happened! That's when the tornado hit the edges of my neighborhood in Brooklyn. It took me two and a half hours to get to work (it normally takes a little under an hour). I wound up taking the subway in the opposite direction to the last stop at Coney Island, then back again. Seeing the Cyclone in the morning is always a vaguely surreal experience.
Actually, I would love to reminisce as I was just coming back from the Caribbean a day after. I heard it was bad and I worked from home for a few days to let the Subway dry out, as mine is above ground. Manhattan is under.
I called in weather 'cause the subway was my one real way of getting to work. Yes, I could have tried to take 2 buses, but based on the crowds during the subway outage a few weeks before and during the subway strike that winter (when I got a ride with a colleague), it would have taken me half of the main workday to get there.
After growing up in NE Flushing and having to take a 20+ minute bus ride just to get to the Flushing terminus of the 7 train, and enduring a 75-90 minute commute each way to get to school in Manhattan for 6 years, I swore I would never live off the subway grid again. I hate NYC bus service!

Then, after a few years of living in Brooklyn and Manhattan, I bought a house in NE Flushing about 10 blocks from where I grew up in order to have space and good local schools for my kids. And the proximity to my parents (who still live in the house where I grew up) was also invaluable as they often can help to pick up or watch my kids (my Dad's retired and my Mom works from home a lot).

After a year or two of the hour-long commute via bus and subway (a bit shorter than my HS commute since my office is in Midtown), I began driving to the subway using the Park-and-Ride lot at Shea Stadium, which is about 15 minutes from my house. This cuts out the variability and drudgery of waiting and then taking the bus, and shaved about 15 minutes from my commute each way (30 mins a day) at a cost of $3 plus gas.

After the blackout in the summer of 2003, I began fantasizing about riding a scooter or motorcycle to work instead of spending an hour each way riding the bus and subway, as I watched all those riders zoom off to Queens while I walked... and walked... and walked.

In February of 2004 I put fantasy into action, and got my motorcycle learner's permit. By the end of March I was riding a Vespa GT200 to work about 75% of the time, taking only 30-35 minutes each way to do so.

And so I was basically immunized to the subway problems of 2007 as well as the strike in December of 2005. Sure it was COLD to ride in to work in 15F weather, but I got there in pretty much the same 30-35 minutes as ever.

Plus I actually look forward to my commute now instead of dreading the delays due to signal problems or sick passengers... The express train service that becomes unavailable about half the time it rains... The crowding... The doorway fights that erupt about once a week... The increasingly weak or absent air conditioning...

December 2016

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