The spectacle of the Exploding Meteorologist has been a fixture of New York City winters for at least the last twenty years: the weather reporter breathlessly telling us about the monster snowstorm, which ends up yielding, perhaps, two inches. Of course, every once in a while, a real snowstorm shows up, and the Exploding Meteorologists do their thing.
But this time, the Exploding Meteorologists were joined by an Exploding Mayor. Yesterday’s morning news included this item:
Yeah, right, whatever.
I rearranged my schedule to get through my meetings earlier, and walked out of my last meeting at 12:20 pm.
Back in the office, I put on WINS, the go-to radio station in New York City for bad weather. I found that the Exploding Mayor had been joined by our Exploding Governor, Andrew Cuomo. He admonished us, like little children, not to go out in the snow, and ordered all non-essential vehicles off the road at 11:00 pm.
I left the office about 5:00 pm, and had a pretty normal ride home, except that the trains were not as crowded because most people had left work earlier. Back home, I learned that the ‘travel ban’ also included the subways. Usually, the trains keep running when it snows, and during NYC’s worst snowstorm ever, in 2006, the subways kept running. (I know, because I was travelling that day.)
At 11:00, ready to sleep, I looked out the window: there had been a substantial lull in the storm. So much for the Exploding Meteorologists.
In the morning, my wife noted that the G train was running: we can see the viaduct from our windows. Slowly it dawned on me: the subways could have kept running, and perhaps did to some extent. But we, as passengers, were not allowed to ride them, by order of the Governor.
The morning news reported that the storm had moved off to the east, and the travel ban had been lifted. NYC got about a foot, although snow is continuing to fall, and New Jersey got 2-3 inches: hardly worth complaining about. The subways are starting up and will run on a Sunday schedule for the rest of the day.
In another time, the Mayor and Governor would have declared states of emergency, ordered private vehicles off the roads, and left it at that. Why did they feel the need to shut down mass transit?
Don’t tell me it was to protect the public: we’ve had many, many snowstorms, and this was the first time it was felt necessary to shut down the subways pre-emptively. (Usually, in a really bad storm, lines that run outdoors are shut down on a case-by-case basis as conditions worsen.)
Is it a case of liability making cowards of us all?
Were they simply asserting their authority because they could?
Are they getting us in practice for martial law?
Whatever it was, I’m sure it wasn’t good.