No regular post tonight
I got home tonight about a quarter past 11, over five hours after leaving work. After walking to the subway station at 55th and Broadway, then taking a couple of subway lines, I arrived at Grand Central around 6:40. I quickly learned that all train service on the Metro-North Harlem Line (my route) north of North White Plains was suspended, because of flooding at the Valhalla station. Valhalla is one of the stations I need to go through. So I waited, and waited, and waited.
At 7:45 p.m., all the trains I'd take were still cancelled. So I took an 8 p.m. local (read: very slow) train up to White Plains, which is two stops short of Valhalla. I arrived at a quarter to 9. At worst, I figured, I could get a cab, though it might cost a few Andy Jacksons. But the ticket counter rep told us that if we took the next train to North White Plains, the MTA had buses to take us past the Valhalla and Pleasantville stations (the latter was also flooded), up to Chappaqua. Had I known that, I could have stayed on the train I came in on -- it was going to North White Plains. The next one didn't arrive until 9:15.
The North White Plains station was a nightmare. There were hundreds of people, perhaps a thousand, and we were all trying to get home. We could have been extras in a movie about refugees. We looked the part, tired and haggard, clutching our bags and parcels, standing in a long line as we waited for the school buses that the MTA had commandeered. It was a complete mess as the police officers and MTA employees sent off several buses that were only half or two-thirds full. We could see the many empty seats through the windows!
I finally boarded one at 10:15, which dropped us off at the Chappaqua station around 10:40. It was only several minutes before the train came, and I got to my stop a little past 11. In hindsight, I should have taken a cab from White Plains to home. Next time, I'll know better not to trust the MTA. It was a good idea, and fairly quick action to get the school buses, but we were herded around so inefficiently, and as I said, buses were being sent off before they were filled up.
Here's a New York Times article that explains the debacle with the buses. I was one of those it describes, holding a cellphone as I tried to get in touch with family or a taxi.
The flooding may not be cleared away by tomorrow morning, meaning I may not be able to go to my job in the city. I strictly refuse to risk my car in Manhattan, so I might wind up with the day off.