Rock You Like a Hurricane: NYC Recap

Remember back in October when my sister and I were stranded in New York by Hurricane Sandy? Oh no? Yeah, I barely do either, and I was there.  But it’s time for me to play catch-up on this little ol’ blog.

So, my sister turned 30 on November 4th. Our cousin is a resident at a hospital in NYC and when he accepted the NYC residency several years ago, I told my sister we’d go to New York for her 30th birthday. We picked the weekend before Halloween because sister is a teacher and that happened to be her fall break, and my go-to source for all things NYC You’ve Got Mail told me we’d heard that Fall in New York is beautiful.

We booked our tickets in July and I started pumping like a mad woman to leave enough milk for Nell for four days away. We stayed with my cousin, and for my sister’s birthday gift I covered the flights and tickets to the Broadway show of her choice…which I knew would be Wicked.

As our trip approached, so did Hurricane Sandy forecasts to make landfall around when we wanted to leave to get home. We didn’t know exactly what to do, but we decided Kate had the time off, B had taken the time off to stay home with the kids, chances were good based on history the storm would change courses, and we had tickets to a show, so we’d go and move our ticket home up to Monday if it looked like the storm was going to hit NYC. Hahahaha.

We got into New York on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and toured uptown with my cousin and his girlfriend before Wicked. We got in all the big sites thanks to Mikey – walked by but not through Central Park, Union Station, The New York Public Library, Bryant Park, Times Square, Magnolia Bakery, Rockefeller Center and Broadway of course. Thank goodness for that whirlwind tour for Kate’s first trip to NYC, because it turned out to be all we got of uptown and midtown Manhattan (at least when things were open). 

Our whirlwind tour of midtown Manhattan on our first day in NYC

Wicked was fabulous and Kate and I had a great time, and the next morning we were up early for a tour of the Financial District and Lower Manhattan with Real New York Tours with our tour guide Jimmy. It was one of the best tours I’ve ever been on, gave us such great history of New York, but real and in depth history and anecdotes. I would take this exact same tour again if I go back to NYC, or I’d take the longer one, too. It was awesome. 

Kate and I holed up in a Starbucks after the tour so I could pump. It was windy and cold, but the rain hadn’t started yet, so we made the decision to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to get pizza at Grimaldi’s, then take the Subway back to my cousin’s apartment on the Upper East Side. The pizza was good, and the Brooklyn Bridge was awesome. As we left Grimaldi’s it was starting to spit rain, so we knew our decision to walk the bridge TO Brooklyn instead of back into Manhattan was a good one. 
Kate, my expert map reading sister, found the closest subway station and as we got on the train to go back to my cousin’s apartment, they made the announcement that the subway was shutting down at 7pm that night. Meanwhile, B had decided Kate and I needed to come home that night or be stuck in New York for days, so he called every airline he could to try and get us out of New York that night without any luck. 

From Left to Bottom Right: Emergency Hurricane Alert; Kate showing off a downed tree; more downed trees and a refrigerator ready to go with breast milk, beer, orange juice and hummus.

So, we went back to the Upper East Side, and stood in line for two hours to buy bottled water, hummus and pasta in case the city really did shut down. My cousin, Kate and I hung out in his apartment on Sunday night, and on Monday, we decided to venture out. My cousin, his girlfriend, Kate and I took his girlfriend’s dog for a long walk in the rain. We encountered downed trees, lots of water, and very little that was open. So we dried off, ordered Chinese food and played games in the apartment. 

Meanwhile, our flights were cancelled and rebooked about five times each, and the soonest we were looking at getting out of New York was Friday. I had a mini meltdown about missing my kids’ on Halloween, then got on the phone with the airlines to rebook us for Thursday. Meanwhile, I booked flights out on a different airline so that we’d have two options, since Southwest seemed to be canceling flights faster than Delta. 

From upper left to lower right: The fire escape (our view of the hurricane); Finding an open restaurant; The Friends Apartment Building; Takeout and Beer on Hurricane Sunday; Kate on the Windy Brookly Bridge; My Mini Breakdown; Pumping like a madwoman to keep up milk supply; Helping Dr. Cousin Mikey apply to Fellowship Programs

Tuesday, Kate and I decided to see the city regardless of the weather. The rain had let up a bit, and a friend told us Shake Shack in Times Square was open, so we walked that way. We saw the dangling crane, lots of broken trees, and lots of closed stores. But we did get delicious burgers at Shake Shack. 
We got home, our flights were cancelled again and pushed back, and so I got on the phone with Southwest. After much back and forth I finally said the customer service agent, “I have a 4 month old in Denver who is running out of breast milk, how can I get out of New York the fastest?” She was not very nice and said, “Ma’am, I don’t know what you want me to do. The only place we flew out of out there today was Bradley”. I said, “Where’s Bradley?” “Connecticut”. “Great, book us on the next flight available out of Bradley”. “Okay, that will be an extra $430 because you’re changing airports”. 
“Whatever, book it and let me talk to your manager”. 

Meanwhile, I went online (because Southwest wouldn’t let me rebook my airfare online) to see what our Delta flights could do. We could switch our flights to Bradley without any cost, and in two clicks we were on a 6am flight out of Connecticut. So when Southwest finally connected me with a manager, I said, “Don’t worry about it, I found a different airline to fly me home, just refund our original tickets please.” So now we had tickets out of Connecticut, we just had to get there.

B called his uncle who lives in Connecticut, but he couldn’t get into the city to get us because of all the closures. So he recommended trying a car service. We lucked out. There was a car service that happened to be a few blocks from my cousin’s apartment. I called at 4:45, they closed at 5, and asked what they could do to get us to Connecticut by 4 am the next day. They could have a car at my cousin’s apartment in an hour. Kate and I threw our things into our bags, called our cousin who was at the hospital to tell him we were leaving, he ran home to say goodbye, and we went via Town Car to Bradley International Airport, where we slept that night waiting for our flight. And just like that, we were homeward bound on Halloween, in time for me to see Thomas and Nell in their costumes and trick or treat with my kiddos.

It was a memorable 30th birthday trip for Kate, that’s for sure. Thankfully, we had a great first 2 days, the 3rd day was fun hanging out with my cousin, and once the mini-panic attacks over milk for Nell and missing Halloween passed, we made the very best of our first ever Hurricane. We Colorado girls don’t see those too often.


  1. awe on your way to Bradley you probably drove through my former hometown if you went I-84. Any time you are out this way again and want to meet up with a blog followr let me know. The hurricane sure was crazy. We lost power for a week. On one of our powerless days I got to go to the YHL book signing. I can only imagine what you were going through trying to get home to your baby. I would have been a wreck. Glad you were able to make it back home.

  2. That is a CRA-ZY story!!!!!! I’m so glad you made it!!

  3. Holy smokes!!!! That is a crazy trip and I’m amazed that you got out of there like you did. It looks like you got a lot of fun while there and saw a ton of stuff. Ive only been to NYC briefly but I’d love to go back. Glad you made it home for Halloween.