Gap Year Diaries: New York winter wonderland

Winter in New York

Just to recap, this is the second instalment of our gap year blogging series. This is the story of our trip to New York and the Caribbean, crashing our daughter’s honeymoon and healing my husband after unforeseen health issues altered his life plan forever.

We had been in New York almost a week when one of the biggest snow storms ever recorded dumped over 27 inches of snow on the city

Living in Western Australia, we don’t get a lot (if any!!) snow and it was pretty amazing!

But when the Mayor of New York announces “My message to all New Yorkers is to prepare for something worse than we have seen before” we began to wonder just what we were in for.

From the warmth of our midtown hotel we watched as the world became white under a blanket of snow flakes. That blanket of snow became thicker and heavier, progressively choking all public transport and ultimately closing New York down and restricting travel to emergency vehicles only.

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Winter in New York
Cars under a layer of snow

As the hotel could only muster a small number of staff there was no room service and limited housekeeping. Fortunately for us, our room had both a fridge and a microwave. As we had picked up some soups and sandwiches from Hale and Hearty, we weren’t going to starve in the short term.

Like a lot of other people, we were looking forward to seeing Bruce Springsteen at Madison Square Garden, this too became a victim of the snow storm.

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The emergency shutdown lasted about 48 hours and as the crisis passed, New York reopened for business.

As we emerged from our enforced hibernation we were greeted by scenes of cars encased in snow. Snow plows on many streets and snow piled high everywhere. That pristine white mantle soon became grey slush and melted snow refroze to form black ice. But all of it was a magical experience.

Winter in New York
The Empire State Building

Late one evening we strolled past The Empire State Building on the way back to our hotel after dinner. It was open and there was absolutely no queue. What an opportunity to see the city from this iconic lookout. We have never been so cold but the photos from the top were worth risking frost bite for.

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Winter in New York
The view from the top of the Empire State Building

About now we started to get emails from Royal Caribbean with regards to the cruise part of our adventure.. The snow storm had delayed the ships arrival in New Jersey, pushing back our departure. This didn’t cause us too much alarm. Our hotel was able to extend our stay by one night (and our travel insurance would reimburse us). The delay also changed the cruise ports. For us this made little difference as, like Christopher Columbus, we had no real idea where we were going.

But first we had to get to the port. Bayonne is further from new York than we realised. Once we were inside the port it took another hour to reach the ship due to traffic congestion. Despite appearances the boarding process was efficient and effective.

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I had never been a fan of bigger ships as I thought it was like going away and taking a small city with you. But this trip was not about me, it was our daughter’s honeymoon and by her grace, her Dad and I were tagging along.

And then …Anthem of the Seas, just blew me away!

Stay tuned for the next instalment of Dianne’s Gap Year Diaries blog series. Have you been to New York during the winter? Let us know about it in the comments section below. 

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