Blog · Travels

Stranded in the NYC Blizzard

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A.k.a Pics of the storm that put the city that never sleeps to bed

Written while listening to: The “SNL” show I could have seen the live taping of…but eh

I’ve never been in New York when you’ve needed to wear anything more than leggings and a thin excuse for a sweater.

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Times Square just hours before the storm hit — the roads lined with cars, streets packed, and ZERO snow on the ground.

So when I decided to go during the winter months this year, I knew I was in for a different experience.

I just didn’t know I’d be leaving the Midwest for The Day After Tomorrow:

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New York Saturday afternoon, looking like the apocalypse!

Hoards of people gathered at the ticket booth in Times Square, presumably to get their money back for the Broadway tickets that were now useless.

I’m from the Midwest, so I’m a little jaded when it comes to winter storms. To us? A winter storm isn’t bad until we have trouble getting the front door open.

Even my 5’2″ self doesn’t really consider a storm bad until the snow is up to my knees and makes a 15 minute walk back to my apartment impossible without a beer stop at a bar at the halfway mark (true story).

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Times Square Saturday night, a strange calm amid the usual hustle and bustle

So when the news was saying that NYC’s blizzard was gonna be bad? My mom and I went “PFFFT!” and continued with our unfazed lives.

Then we woke up Saturday morning…and saw this:

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Little did these poor souls know that the “Book of Mormon” tickets they waited for this morning? Would be useless later when ALL Broadway shows were cancelled.

And also this:

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People take in Times Square through the whiteout blizzard

Aaaaand, last one, this!

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Yours truly, lovin’ life.

The roads were completely shut down, and the city that never sleeps was at a standstill. The yellow cabs lining the NYC streets and so synonymous with the city were replaced by people having snowball fights in the middle of the road.

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Times Square shut down at 11:00 PM on Saturday

Times Square — usually claustrophobic with crowds despite the blocks of space it inhabits — was fed by deserted streets. People stood in the middle of the usually treacherous roads to take pictures, to just take a stroll.

The city was transformed.

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Me bundled up, takin’ a pic of the snowpocalyptic Times Square

Of course, this wasn’t without risk…I almost got run over by a snowplow. Like literally almost got run over by a snowplow. Because just like the people here, the snowplows DO NOT STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS.

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People hangin out in the streets at 11:00 PM on a Saturday night

I kept having people tell me, “go to NYC in the summer — why would you go in the winter?” But after experiencing this city in the wintery, Frank Sinatra-esque season, plus this massive storm? I’m afraid I’m now forever spoiled with New York in the eskimo months.

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Snow drift reflecting the lights of the screens lining Times Square.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 7.55.58 PMMost people come to NYC for Broadway shows, to get a bag from “The Strand” bookstore, to get ambushed by people in Olaf and Minnie Mouse costumes on Times Square who butt into your picture then ask you for tips (if it sounds like that’s coming from personal experience, it is).

But I came to New York this snowy weekend to see the “Superheroes of Gotham” exhibit at the New York Historical Society. Yes…I traveled to NYC from Chicago just to see an exhibit about comic book characters. And it was great. *Pushes up nerd glasses*

But as fun as that was, being here during one of the city’s biggest blizzards ever? Well that’s been a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And this weekend gave us every reason to be a bummer; Our tickets to “American in Paris” were rendered useless when it was cancelled. We couldn’t get “Hamilton” tickets (because no one can get “Hamilton” tickets). Our Sunday flight was cancelled. We had to drop money on another night of hotel-livin’.
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People climbed snowdrifts pushed up by snowplows to throw snowballs, take pictures, and just have fun.

But the abandoned city streets allowed us to appreciate New York in a completely new way. The sidewalks — usually anger-inducingly crowded with mall-walker people who walk like bulldozers — were nearly devoid of people. There were more people in the middle of the streets than there were cars…because cars were banned for the day. There wasn’t an Elmo costume, person in a Party City-bought Iron Man costume, or person on stilts in a Statue of Liberty costume to be seen on Times Square to hustle and hassle anyone.

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A couple holding hands in the whited-out cityscape of Times Square

Rather than the insane blizzard causing more stress, it actually did the opposite. It eliminated the things that usually make New York a super stressful place to be and replaced it with the quiet of snowfall, beauty of winter, and made the city that never sleeps yawn for the first time in a long time. And where most people would see this as an unfortunate weekend to be traveling? I see this as an adventure.

Cheers, NYC. And may you find some time to take pause again.


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