Thursday, February 08, 2007

New York Nightmare

"Wintertime in New York town,
The wind blowin' snow around.
Walk around with nowhere to go,
Somebody could freeze right to the bone.
I froze right to the bone.
New York Times said it was the coldest winter in seventeen years.
I didn't feel so cold then."

Talking New York Bob Dylan 1962

Thursday, 9:45am. Just made it into work after a hellish commute, one that usually takes a half-hour but today took almost two.

When I got to the Ditmars Blvd. train station this morning a little before 8:00, I knew something was wrong because there were like a gazillion people milling about on the platform, with no train in sight, and then another couple of hundred people down by the token booth bitching about no train service. Great. Turns out there's a busted rail at the 59th/Lex. station, so no N or W trains going past Queensboro Plaza. Instead they provided a shuttle train from Ditmars Blvd., totally packed, where we could get the 7 train. That doesn't really help me, as I need to get to 50th Street and 8th, but after sneaking in behind someone thru the gate--I wasn't gonna pay for a ride that may be going nowhere--I managed to squeeze into a packed subway car and after a miserable ride, caught another packed 7-train at Queensboro Plaza, then got out at Times Square, or to be exact 41st & Broadway, leading to a hellish walk in cold that cannot be overstated. In fact, let me check Yahoo Weather for today; we're in the middle of a week of frigid temps that's setting a record for coldest stretch here in two or three years. (I have no idea what it's doing in the rest of the country and frankly don't care.) Well, apparently it's 19 degrees outside but with the cursed wind chill factored in, it's closer to 11 degrees. It feels a lot fucking colder when you're walking in it and an arctic gust of wind hits you. In fact, when it's this cold you can't help but personify the weather and use anthropomorphic descriptions like bitter, brutal, nasty, heartless and cruel to describe it. The good news of course is that the dew point remains at 1 degree.

In fact, this morning I felt like absolute crap and seriously contemplated calling in sick for the first time since I started freelancing. I woke up with a horrible hangover not so much from the 2 or 3 Heinekens I had last night with a friend, but from the 3 or 4 harsh Marlboro Reds I inhaled last night. After not having a butt for weeks, it just ripped my throat to shreds and I had trouble falling asleep at all; I was having these horrible hot smoke filled hiccups, is the best way I can put it ... I can't believe I got much more than 2 hours real sleep all-told.

But that's not the half of it, as they say in geometry. As I said, I went out for a drink with a bud who was coming in from Long Island. Names, if not identities, will be protected, because it turns out we hit a topless joint in Jackson Heights on Astoria Blvd., a real dive where the young, full-figured South American ladies actually pranced around a small stage in their flimsy bikinis. They were hygienic and clean but not at all attractive to me. I don't think I had a woody the entire night, even when a girl would come offstage and sit by me and ... my friend. We hit them with a few singles and got the chance to slip the bills between their tits, and they seemed appropriately grateful. We played a few games of pool, and then around 10, 10:30, knowing I had to work this morning, I decided to hit the bricks, but my pal wanted to stay for the duration. Problem is, he drove me there and it was a good 3 miles from my house. So I split. I left the topless dive and started looking for a cab as I walked.

Now, I should have had the common sense to call a car service, but I figured I'd get a yellow cab. Being so close to LaGuardia, I figured it wouldn't be a problem. But after walking about 3 or 4 blocks constantly turning my head around to look back for a cab, I was now too far gone to go back to the bar and still far, far away from my ultimate destination. So I made up my mind to stop looking back and just forge ahead. The human body is amazing, because even in such conditions you will generate enough warmth. As long as you keep moving, because if you stopped moving in these conditions you'd probably last about 10 minutes tops.

Of course I had no hat and no gloves, only a thin sweater under my totally inappropriate-for-the-winter leather jacket, even with the wool or faux-fur lining zipped in, as I chose fashion over warmth for the night, naively thinking I could depend on my friend for a ride home. So I froze my ass off last night, got home about 11:30, and then this morning's horrible commute. For some reason, my MP3 player joined in the fun and decided to torture me this morning by somehow increasing the volume to an ear-shattering 40 on the old 1-40 scale and just stubbornly remained there, which it had only done once before in its 3-year history; there was nothing I could do to make the volume go down, so even that small diversion was not available as I walked the long, cold blocks from the subway to the office here. And I was really looking forward to listening to the new Arctic Monkeys album (arctic, how appropriate!) I had just downloaded onto my iRiver yesterday. Not to be.

Finally I arrived at my coffee guy's stand, surprised that he had braved the cold to man his post on this icy day. But then again, if you don't like the elements then you're in the wrong business as a street vendor. Just ask my Uncle George, professional vendor, hot dogs a specialty, if you should see him plying his trade on the corner of John and William Streets. I will say that I can never remember anticipating the creature comfort of a hot, caffeinated beverage more than this morning. What a stressful couple days. If I'm not deathly sick by this weekend then my immune system is kicking it a higher level than I thought.

So I sit here manning my own post waiting for some work, trying to de-stress like the rest of the City. According to the Yahoo forecast, we will not get a high temperature above freezing until next Monday at the earliest. That's just savage. Life's just gotta get a little easier from here on out. Now excuuuuuuuuse me while I read up on Wade Phillips, reported to be the new coach of the Dallas Cowboys by ESPN radio this morning.

See also:

Living Inner City

Caper From Hell

Schadenfreund Friday

Demented Fan of the Year


jimithegreek said...

Wade Phillips? At least he is a good Def coach. See smoking will kill ya!

Annie said...

Word. If the N/W train were a crippled old Greek lady, I'd still stab her in the neck for what she did yesterday. I ended up walking to the Steinway R/V after waiting with the cattle on that damn Broadway platform for like an hour.

WardensWorld said...

Annie, I feel your pain, but let's be nice to old Greek ladies. You never know how the old reincarnation thing is gonna turn out! I was almost going to head to Steinway Street, but 59th/2nd Avenue would left me a long, cold way from where I needed to go.