The news Thursday night and Friday was focused on one thing: the impending arrival of a huge winter storm that the Weather Channel was in full-on
“OMG SNOW IS COMING!!!1!eleven!!” mode with reporters throughout New England doing man-in-the-street reporting on the weather that was coming.
Venturing out Friday morning, I stopped at one of the many Starbucks in the neighbourhood for a hot chocolate and then headed along 42 Street to Times Square. The weather consisted of variations on sleet and small ice pellets that stung when they zinged into your face. I sipped my hot chocolate as I walked and quickly came to the conclusion that that particular Starbucks was particularly inept at making hot chocolate because while there was definitely hot chocolate in the cup, it tasted of burnt coffee. (The Starbucks in question also didn’t have a toaster, though they were selling bagels. Very odd.) After about ten blocks I ditched the mostly undrunk cup in a garbage can.
Times Square is as impressive now as I remember it being when I was last there in high school. Enormous electronic signs pretty much everywhere. People standing around gaping at everything and taking pictures. And stores everywhere.
And Weather Channel reporters doing man-in-the-street (or in this case woman-in-the-street) reporting live from Times Square.
After posing for a photo with the Weather Channel’s Stephanie Abrams, I headed to the nearby Hershey’s store where I picked up some chocolate and then went across the street to the M&M’s store for some more chocolate. The M&M’s store had a really cool machine that could print almost anything on M&M’s, so naturally I had to have a bunch of custom M&M’s printed up. It was a very clever machine because it only printed on the side of the M&M that didn’t have the M&M logo on it. Not the cheapest M&M’s I’ve bought, but definitely the coolest.
There are a few webcams in Times Square. Rob texted me directions to one he found so he could grab a screen capture of me standing in the sleet. The blue-grey painted pavement was quite slippery! If you happen to be in Times Square, you’ll find this one on the west side of tkts, under the jumbotron sign over Bluefin by the W hotel. I counted about half a dozen cameras there, so I’m not sure which camera was the webcam Rob found.
From there it was on to another Starbucks (they have free wifi so I could post pictures to Facebook) and then I made my way north, passing by the Ed Sullivan Theatre where the Late Show with David Letterman is shot.
Continuing north a couple of blocks, I eventually turned left and walked a couple of blocks west before turning right on 9th Avenue (I think) and heading north, with my goal being Central Park. I ended up at the Columbus Circle where I sought refuge from the elements for a few minutes in the shopping mall there. There was a CNN crew filming the incoming storm and the people struggling with the wind.
On my way to a nearby Starbucks (there’s always a “nearby Starbucks” in NYC), I heard the unmistakable plop of a somebody dropping a bundle of papers out of their briefcase followed by gasps from people in the area as they were blown away by the wind (the papers, not the people). Together, we retrieved all of the papers that had been dropped and took the now sodden wads back to their owner. Sadly, I think most of the papers were ruined, but I have to admit I was impressed by the response of everyone who helped gather them up. At the Starbucks I figured out a plan of attack for the rest of the day with Rob via IM and made my way to the subway station at Columbus Circle.
Catching the subway back to Grand Central Station, I managed to pick the exit that was the furthest one away from the hotel (of course!). I met up with Rob later in the afternoon at a Starbucks and we headed out to see what was still open as many businesses were closing early due to the weather.
We headed across the street to Grand Central Terminal and checked out a very interesting display on the history of the station and visited the Apple store, before grabbing a gelato from a gelato stand in the station. I saw someone from WCBS 880 radio doing man-in-the-street reporting from the main hall of the station. I’m not really sure what he was reporting on, but he was bundled up as though he expected it to start snowing inside the station.
From here we made our way to one of the Sbarro’s in Times Square where we grabbed a bite to eat before calling it an evening and returning to our hotels.
Next time: The aftermath of Nemo