i went to new york city for a hearing this morning. it was quite a zoo. we reached newark, new jersey (the stop before NYC) at about 8:30 a.m. just as we pulled into the newark train station, the conductor announced that no trains were allowed to enter new york penn station, so we would have to stay in newark until they gave us the all clear. "we're gonna be sitting for a while, i just don't know how long," he added. (the delay was because of this, but no one on the train had a clue at the time)
i could see across the newark train platform that the PATH trains were still running. so i got off my amtrak train, and switched to the PATH. it went to the world trade center. i knew the president would there and that it would be crazy with crowds and security, so i switched trains and got myself to 33rd street, only a few blocks from penn station where i was originally supposed to arrive.
meanwhile as i switched from amtrak to PATH train to other PATH train, i kept calling my ride. my client was supposed to meet me at penn station to drive me to brooklyn for the 10 a.m. hearing. i don't know why he didn't want me to use the subway. when i spoke to him last week he insisted on picking me up, even though he lived in brooklyn and would have to drive into manhattan and then turn around and drive me back into brooklyn--all during rush hour. he drove into manhattan via the brooklyn-battery tunnel. at some point while he was in the tunnel, a bunch of dust puffed out of the ventilation system, blinding all the cars stuck there in rush hour traffic. as he later described the scene, this caused complete panic among the other drivers. some got out of their cars and ran away, which only made the traffic jam even more intractable.
once he finally got through the tunnel, then he ended up in another traffic jam surrounding the WTC site (the very site i tried to avoid when i took the PATH train. if i had realized he would be driving by there, i would have just taken the PATH straight to the WTC site). after navigating that through that second traffic jam, he eventually managed to reach me on 32nd street, where i was standing on the street corner waiting for him. i had been standing there for over an hour. it was 10:15, we were already 15 minutes late for the hearing and still had to get to brooklyn.
luckily, the drive out was a lot faster than my client's ride into manhattan. rush hour was over. we sped south past the world trade center site. on the radio the client was playing the memorial service where they read off the names of all the victims. when we road past the site, we rolled down the windows so we could hear the names live.