New York in the snow

Despite a great deal of advice to the contrary and against my own common sense, I went to New York for the blizzard a holiday weekend of theater and window shopping and the Met.  (It was that or a family holiday in Texas; I love visiting my sister in Texas, but have a low tolerance for large family trips or togetherness, so I skipped it.  Will visit separately, thanks.)

It was perfectly clear when I left Baltimore and on up through Philadelphia.  About half way through New Jersey to Manhattan, it began snowing like crazy.  And it was blowing pretty fiercely but nothing seemed to be sticking.  The trip took about 20 minutes longer than usual, which was not bad considering the weather.  

Time Stands Still — this is an excellent play, and I’d highly recommend it if you can get to NYC before it closes permanently. All the acting was good, but Linney was particularly amazing.  There are no set changes, and the action takes place within the apartment of the main characters.  Sarah, a photographer, is returning from Afghanistan after being injured by a roadside bomb; her partner, James, a foreign correspondent, is struggling with writer’s block and post traumatic stress after a suicide bombing.  The bulk of the plot is about their attempts to adjust to a "normal" life, whatever that is.  Meanwhile, they have the example of their friend and colleague, who is suddenly in love with a much younger woman (Christina Ricci) and building an entirely new life with her.  (In the hallway, I listened to two older ladies basically dissect Sarah’s character and call her unfeminine, unnatural, and a heartless bitch for the choices she’s made in her life.  Ouch.)

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown — this is a good play, objectively speaking, but it didn’t really work for me, because I am a huge fan of the movie upon which it is based, and it didn’t measure up.  Although, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure any stage production could have.  Probably I should’ve chosen to see The Importance of Being Earnest instead.  Ah, well, next time.

It was actually easier to get around Midtown and Times Square on Sunday during the snow than it was on Monday, in part because the clean up was kind of disorganized and also because fewer people were out and about on Sunday.    Plus, the snow hadn’t had a chance to melt or turn into a slushy, slippery mess yet.  The state of the subway stairs was kind of surprising — of the four different entrances/exits I used, not a single one had been salted or shoveled.  They were all reduced to a single track that people going up and down had to use.  

Also went to the Metropolitan Museum; enjoyed the exhibit on Haremhab, and the Steiglitz, Steichen & Strand photography exhibit.  Many of the exhibition rooms, including much of the museums’ collection of European paintings and Impressionist masters that are housed upstairs, were closed, which was a little disappointing but I still managed to spend 6 hours wandering around the museum.  

Stayed in SoHo for the first time — usually I stay in Midtown — and was pretty pleased with the hotel.  Would go back.

Hadn’t really worried about the weather, despite being out in it all day Sunday, until I came up the stairs from the subway onto Canal Street.  The neighborhood was utterly abandoned —  I didn’t see another soul until I walked through the hotel doors — and the streets and sidewalks were in terrible condition, with deeper snow than had been uptown.  Eh, I should’ve known better.  The next morning, people were out shoveling and clearing off.

Really, the only bad part of the experience was the trip home:  Amtrak’s customer service and communication about train status was abysmal.  Zero information was available.  Calling the 800#, I either got a busy signal or was disconnected immediately.  Its website had so much traffic that the server couldn’t handle it for hours at a time.  And when I went to the station for my train (which was expected to be on time according to the website), I learned that it had no estimated departure time.  Sat for more than two hours.  And then the trip that normally takes 2.5 hours took 3.5 hours.  The problem wasn’t the delay generally, since the passengers all knew the trains were running in poor conditions and with heavy holiday traffic; it was the utter lack of communication and unresponsive staff.


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