The Blackout of 2003 - Sunday, August 17, 2003

Yes, we were still in the US.

Over a late lunch, the power went out in New York City. People gathered on the street around a man playing his car radio at full tilt. We were all wondering if there was a terrorist attack. Thank goodness no. Mayor Bloomberg said the power would be out for several hours and maybe even the night. We grabbed flashlights from our hotel and decided to leave a bit early for our dinner date with friends Julie & Brent.

The walk from Midtown to Greenwich Village (~25 blocks) was quite interesting. People were pouring out of buildings to start the long walk home in the hot, humid, Texas-like weather. Buses were free and packed with people desperate for a ride and air conditioning since Subway power was out. Every taxi was full...lots of ride sharing. Smart shopkeepers put coolers on the street with ice, cold beverages, and ice cream. Do you think they broke even? Think how many cartons of milk, yogurt, and packages of meat went bad!

Enterprising street vendors were selling "I LOVE NY" t-shirts for only $2.50 for the overdressed workers on their long trek home in the heat. Waiting for the police to be deployed around the city, we witnessed many volunteers at various intersections directing traffic. Of course being NY, everyone was yelling at the overly enthusiastic volunteers to do their job better!

Pizza joints had lines around the corner, as well as restaurants with gas ovens....the only hot food available in the city! Not surprisingly, the bars were PACKED. Wall to wall people. Dave and I debated whether or not to stop for a cold one since he was sick and I was getting sick. How could we NOT stop for a cold beer? It was the best $12 spent on 2 beers in a long time... mmmm... NY prices are a bit over the top. It's not like we ordered Chimay (fancy Belgian beer)...just Pacifico!

Not surprisingly, Julie & Brent had figured out how to make Margaritas without a blender or ice. Love them. They have a gas stove, so we ate gourmet from the corner store - Mac and Cheese. MMMMMMM..... It was fun hanging out with candles, beer, and good friends.

The long walk home was a bit eerie. No lights in NYC means very dark streets. At first it felt a bit unsafe, but after a while, we realize that their were cops and army reservists on almost every corner. Also, everyone was just trying to get home and make the best of the situation. It was still very hot out, even at 10pm. We came upon Union Square on the way home where a full scale party was in effect - music, drinks, sleeping in the park. FUN! We also noticed many locked out of their hotel rooms b/c of the electronic card locks. What a bummer!

Our flight to Europe was scheduled to leave Friday night. The car service never came to pick us up, nor was there a cab to be found. Our flight ended up being cancelled anyway. Glad we didn't end up stranded at JFK!! Next flight available was Sunday, but M caught D's bad head cold. We ended up staying at Chez Gruber (Aunt Edie & Uncle Marty's house) on Lido Beach. Too bad we were both sick or the beach would've been good fun! After a few days rest, we are now roaming around Oslo, Norway kicking the last of our colds. It is GORGEOUS here... no more humidity!!! We go to the fjord region this weekend.

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