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The best laid travel plans-GONE

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I generally have loads to report after I go on a trip whether it be big or small. Well, my trip to New York City last week didn’t go exactly according to plan, which is why I’ve been somewhat quiet on it. A part of me was still getting over the multiple letdown of things over which I had no control.

After I came back from my terrific trip to Portugal in September I was naturally sad that my big international trip of the year was over and yet I still had one more trip planned for the 2012 travel season-a late fall getaway to New York City. My brother was getting married there, so as soon as his wedding plans were announced I decided to add on an extra day to allow for some touring pursuits. Although the amount was ridiculously expensive, I made reservations to stay the first night at the Marriott Marquis, a deluxe hotel located in New York City’s ever congested Times Square area. I had stayed there a couple of times as a child when I went to the city with my family and always had fond memories of it. I also wanted to do a lot of things that I had never done before in areas I generally had never been in before; these included the Eldridge Street Synagogue, a late 19th century house of worship located on the historic Lower East Side and taking the subway into Brooklyn and then walking back across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. In addition I had discovered this rather awesome sounding Venezuelan restaurant. Although Pittsburgh has an incredibly rich and diverse restaurant scene, it does not where Latin American cuisine is concerned; “Mexican” is about as Latin as things get here unfortunately.

Although New York’s five boroughs and New Jersey were (and still are) feeling the destructive aftermath of Hurricane Sandy more than a week later, I thought that I would be in the clear in terms of getting into the city and going about my tourist business. Little did I know that a winter storm by the name of Athena would completely ruin everything. For the first time ever I was to fly Jet Blue from Pittsburgh to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. While all of the major airlines started to cancel their flights into New York on Wednesday, November 7 in advance of Athena, Jet Blue did not. I remained hopeful that our plans would remain unscathed, checking flight statuses up until 11 PM on the night before we were to fly. Sadly, at 5:45 AM the next morning, an hour before the alarm clock was supposed to go off, we got an automated call saying that our flight had been canceled and that we had been re-booked on a flight the next day, going from Pittsburgh to New York by way of Boston. (If you know any American geography you will know that this was completely absurd.) Off we went to cancel our very expensive hotel reservation; thankfully, it was done without any issues since our flight had been canceled and we had no way of making it to New York. The rest of the day I was beyond disappointed. Although I have cruised during hurricane season and flown countless times during the height of the winter, I’ve never had a flight canceled which completely disrupted my travel plans. What was so disheartening about the whole ordeal was that the flight had not been canceled due to a hurricane or a winter storm. And yet a winter storm in early November canceled my flight in all the same.

We made it to New York City the next day and unfortunately encountered more disappointments. The synagogue is naturally not open on Saturdays due to the Jewish Sabbath. The Venezuelan restaurant was also not open on Saturdays. When I wrote down the names and addresses of things I hadn’t thought to check operating hours since I assumed it was open every day as this was midtown and not in the city’s Wall Street area. We walked out of our way only to turn onto a street that was ghost like and barren with nothing but storefronts shuttered with metal grates.

The wedding however, was lovely and it was terrific to see some of my extended family, many of whom I had not been around since last year. And while I certainly endured no tragedies or other losses, it was still a major disappointment all the same to have plans that had been “on the books” for almost a year be ruined just like that.

I do hope to make a couple of day trips next month but New York was my last flying trip of the year. I guess all I can do at this point is to simply look ahead and start planning some great trips for next year.

Maybe next time:
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