Friday, July 30, 2010

Sometimes the longest part of the trip is the airport to your apt

My sister recently came into town from Colorado for a weekend visit. The plan was for her to go up to my parents' in Connecticut first, and then come stay with me later over the weekend. She comes into town often so it's all pretty routine by now. Flies from Colorado to NYC. Takes the bus to Grand Central. Either takes Metro North up to the parents or takes the subway down to me.

So you can imagine my surprise when I got this call after she landed:
Sis - So I landed. I'm at Newark.
Me (thinking I misheard) - Oh, you're in New York. Cool. How was your flight?
Sis - No, I'm at NEWARK.
Me - What??

Yep, as if gridlock on the ground in the NYC metropolitan area weren't enough, turns out there can be gridlock in the air too. My sister's flight got to NYC airspace 30 minutes early, circled for about an hour and finally was diverted to Newark so they could refuel. And then the plane was going to fly from Newark to LaGuardia. As in about a 5-minute flight, if that. Holy moly.

Funniest to my sister was that the holding pattern put her right over the Financial District, aka my neighborhood. So she was circling over my apartment for about an hour. And circling. And circling. I thought they weren't allowed to do that after 9/11, but I guess those restrictions got lifted.

After all of that, the idea of another takeoff-turned-almost-immediate-landing wasn't exactly appealing. Passengers were allowed to deplane at Newark so she left. (Pity those who'd checked baggage -- the plane's baggage was not being unloaded until arrival at LGA.)

The other issue is of course that getting from Newark into Manhattan is a real pain in the ass. There's New Jersey Transit, which is a joke. There's a cab, which is robbery. And then there's a car, assuming you have one. Which is environmentally inefficient but sanity-wise the best option. Zipcar to the rescue! Being the awesome sister that I am, I grabbed a Mini Cooper to go get my sister.

And the longest part of the trip? Waiting on Varick to get into the Holland Tunnel after finding the Canal St approach closed. Gridlock -- it gets you every time.