How to Survive a Blizzard in NYC

NYC, story, travelVirginia Hart2 Comments

Santa gave me a nifty little instructional book titled, "The Worst-Case Scenario Pocket Guide for New York City". The book includes chapters like "How to Sneak Past a Doorman After Eviction", "How to Free Yourself from a Dog Walker's Leash Tangle", "How to Survive a Rat Bite", "How to Survive a Sample Sale", "How to Escape a Swarm of Pigeons" and even "How to Swim Across the East River".

What it doesn't include? How to survive a blizzard.

Thankfully, Little Lady survived last night's mayhem and is here to tell you her story.

Last night, I journeyed on a north-bound train from Virginia. It was such a pleasant little excursion. My seat partner left after a couple of stops so I had two seats to myself for the majority of the trip. With a bag full of food from my favorite college-town restaurant (Bodo's, for all you Wahoos), I lounged and listened to music as I watched the pretty snow. All was peaceful on my personal Polar Express.

I talked to friends who ran into trouble on the roads and in airports, but I remained optimistic and certain that I had avoided all weather-related problems. I was going to get back on time in an easy-breezy fashion with no problems whatsoever.

And then Mother Nature declared, "YEAH RIGHT."

After the conductor helped me unload my four bags, I found my way to an escalator to take me to ground-level at Penn Station. To give you an idea - I had one enormous suitcase, that I had to stand on in order for it to zip, that had everything inside from shoes to sweaters to a heavy vintage house phone. (Yes, I now have a "house" line and it makes me oddly excited despite the fact that my number is nearly identical to that of a sex hotline.) I also had a large duffle that was coming apart at the seams. Oh and I had a large leather bag full of books, sketchbooks, magazines and a computer. Oh and then I had my purse. A black hole of 50 million heavy things I am never able to find.

So there I was.


I thought to myself, "My apartment's just a quick little ride away and then I'll be home!"

As I got outside, the snow was falling sideways (let me rephrase, shooting sideways) into my eyes and my tiny hands were turning purple from the cold. My long hair wrapped around my head and stuck to different places on my face so I couldn't see. At one point, a nice British fellow helped me carry my bags to the street so I could be closer to the (sliding) cars with hopes of getting a cab. I'd see one, grab all my bags and hobble to it. Nearly 20 cabs shooed me away. I started to chase another one down and lost my footing, toppling backwards - my bags falling on top of me.

I went back inside Penn Station to thaw out for a second and call home.
"You don't understand", I said. "I don't know how I'm going to get to my apartment!"

I thought about trying to get my bags down to a subway, but in hindsight I'm certainly glad I didn't as people were stranded all night in subway cars without any heat.

Then I saw my only hope. My chariot. My...white party stretch limo.

I discussed my plan with a friendly stranger and the two of us convinced the driver to take us to our destinations. To my apartment? $50. To downtown where he needed to go? $150. Desperate? You bet. Flashing colored lights lined the ceiling of the limo; snow covered ever single window and I felt as if we had boarded a spaceship. We inched down 7th Avenue and began to slide uncontrollably.

And then we got stuck in a ditch.

After help from the other passenger, we got back on the road. We continued to head south.

And then we smacked into a car.

Our determined driver didn't stop, however. Well, until he got to the end of my street since he refused to turn down the snowy block.

So there I was. Back outside. With all 4 bags. By myself.

I managed to get halfway home, but the snow was up to my knees. The wind whipped down the street and I fell sideways into a ditch, tearing my pants and scraping my leg. At this point, I was frozen solid, bleeding, down a bag-strap, and my suitcase handle wouldn't budge. I was going to lie there and freeze to death. I'd always be known as the girl who couldn't carry her bags home.

And then I entered full survivor-mode.

I saw three friendly guys walking down the street and I yelled for help.


They helped me up and kindly got me settled on top of my stoop with all my luggage.

I made it, I thought. I finally made it.

I took a big sigh of relief, unlocked my door (after the guys had left) and turned around to watch all four bags roll down the snowy steps and bury in the snow. I wanted to scream. So I did.

Sidenote: I forgot to mention the fact that I had not gone to the bathroom since I left Virginia as I have a thing about public bathrooms. Ahem.

After heaving my bags one by one up my stoop and inside and then heaving them one by one up to my apartment, I collapsed in my kitchen.

I quickly discovered I had no hot water.

Ya know, right before my power went out.

I honestly wish I had had a video of my trek home, even though my mother is convinced she saw me in one on the Today Show this morning.

I feel like I fought in a war.

Little Lady vs. Blizzard.

I am still disheveled, face is entirely chapped and my kitchen floor is covered in snow residue...

...but I survived!

my street this morning

So how do you survive a blizzard in NYC? You cry, you ask a lot of people for help, you yell, you laugh deliriously, and you remind yourself it's all one crazy adventure.

until next time,