Striking it to Seattle

Wed 12/21/2005

I was still awake last night at 3am when the MTA strike was finally announced. I was up wrapping christmas presents, working on a top-secret last-minute PHASE 7 mailing, paying bills and packing for my trip to Seattle. "Crap," I thought, "No subways tomorrow. This is going to SUCK." I finally fell asleep at 4:30am

I wanted to give myself PLENTY of time in the morning, so my alarm went off at 8am sharp. I hit the snooze bar and was about to go back to sleep when I heard something coming through my closed window: horns honking, people screaming, sirens and helicopters overhead. "Hmmm," I thought, "maybe I should get going..."

So I grabbed all my crap and started WALKING the 73 blocks to Penn Station. What I saw on the street was TOTAL CHAOS. Central Park West was COMPLETELY gridlocked and backed up as far as the eye could see. Not only that, but all of the SIDE streets were backed up as well, and when I peeked up to Amsterdam Avenue, it was jam packed too. It was the most god-awful, horrific, morning rush-hour gridlock I have ever seen. It was like being back in L.A.

There were A LOT of other people walking too. Also people on skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, kick-scooters, motorized-scooters, and vespas weaving through the blocked cars. I think the only thing I DIDN'T see was a unicycle. We were all making our way downtown like a pack of zombies.

At 96th street the police had put up a huge barricade where they were checking how many people were in each car. If there weren't four people or more, the cops would direct it down 96th street and send them back uptown to get more people and get back in line. (??!) I probably could have gotten in someone's car, but it was a beautiful clear morning and I had plenty of time, so I continued to walk.

BELOW 96th street it was like a total ghost town. Central Park West was basically DESERTED. When a car or a cab HAD managed to get through the blockade, they drove like a bat out of hell down the street at what seemed like 50 miles per hour. I saw a business man come out of some swanky upper-west side building in his suit and overcoat and stick out his THUMB to hitch a ride. An SUV pulled over, "Where do you need to go?" They negotiated for a minute and then, "Get in!" It was pretty cool.

Below 59th street things picked back up, but still not as busy as things usually are. The creepiest part was that all the entrances to the subway station at Columbus Circle (which are usually TEEMING with people at all hours of the day and night) were cordoned off with police barricades.

I was walking with my rolley-suitcase and a big portfolio, so it was kind of crowded on the sidewalks of 8th avenue (heading right into the heart of times square) so I decided to cut over to 9th avenue, which was ALSO like a complete ghost town. You can really see why the city is going to lose 400 million dollars a day with this strike. The entire avenue, which is usually hustling and bustling with people coming in and out of shops and breakfast places was just totally dead. No one could get to the shops to open them, and no one was there to buy anything anyways!

So it took me an hour and a half to walk to Penn Station. Once there, life was pretty much back to normal. Thank god I was flying out of Newark Airport (which is thankfully serviced by The New Jersey Transit, which was NOT on strike) so I got out there with plenty of time.

And wouldn't you know it? My comics friend Robyn was ON THE SAME FLIGHT TO SEATTLE with me! ??! That was pretty cool. I traded seats with someone so we were able to sit and chat for most of the flight (we also got some drawing done!)

So yeah. I'm safely back in Seattle. It is really good to see my family. I just thought I'd write and tell everyone about my morning because it was pretty crazy--one of those bizarre things that seems to only happen in New York. Hopefully it'll all be sorted out by the time I get back... I don't want to have to walk another 73 blocks back home in the SNOW!

3 comments on this entry


Aaron Dec22

HAN SOLO: I'm workin' on it! I'm workin' on it!!!

Yeah, ACK! Nate set up a thing so I can now block the IP addresses of people posting spam, plus I can delete comments, so I'll get rid of them as fast as I can.

In the meantime, can be your #1 sorce for links to casinos, perscription drugs and porn!

Alec Dec22

haha :-))

i love the way prescription drugs are included in the sinful mix--- just goes to show that there's some truth in it when i say that kevin is a legalized drug pusher (:)> peep!

have a great holiday and a safe, happy new year!!!

p.s. your final light and design illo is just fantastic--- love the way you have your own subway station at 14th street (:)> peep!

stephanie Dec22

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