Dashcam Video – Driving in NYC during Thursday’s Snowstorm

About 44 minutes of dashcam footage of various parts of the city. Links to locations available in the video description on the YouTube page.

Last Thursday, I was out and about in the city, driving around. I run a dashcam, because you can really never be too safe. Plus, there’s always the chance that something consequential or bizarre will happen and get caught on camera.

I didn’t expect the snowstorm to be as bad as it turned out to be. The weather report predicted 1-3″ followed by warmer weather and rain that would basically wash the snow away. I found out later that we wound up getting about 6″ total, but I knew we were getting more than 3″ while I was out there in the street.

This was the first time I’ve ever driven around during a snowstorm. We had a lot of snowstorms last year, but I just left the car parked because we knew in advance it was going to be something I didn’t really want to drive around in. Not that driving around in the city is ever that much fun anyway, but you know what I mean.

I was pretty happy with how our 2017 Honda CR-V handled the snowy streets. I only lost traction two times. Once was because I braked too hard and slid up to a stop sign instead of decelerating towards it. The other time was when I was making the U-turn near the Governor’s Island Ferry to head north on the FDR. I was going just a little too fast.

But, I never got stuck, which is more than I can say for some other people out there on the road. Not that it’s really too different from usual, but people were driving really stupid out there on Thursday.

First of all, people in 2WD cars were out there driving. That’s pretty dumb to start with. I saw a guy pushing a car on the FDR that was stuck on an incline while the driver floored the accelerator. That sounds like a good way to have a car slide backward and crush you. Here he is:

Second, it seems that snow means that you have an obligation to block intersections on north-south avenues and prevent crosstown traffic from getting past you. My experience looked basically like this:

And, of course, people were cutting each other off, jumping between lanes, and speeding, as usual. I had a guy cut in front of me to make a left turn and just expected I would be able to stop as usual. I’m glad I have an AWD vehicle with tires that don’t suck.

Travel time in the city was insane. Looking at stuff on Twitter and in the news now (regarding the kids being stuck on school buses) it looks like most people were experiencing vehicle commutes that were 5 times longer than usual, like 5 hours instead of 1. And most of that pain was self inflicted. To all of you out there that were blocking intersections, I hope your cars throw a rod. Jerks.

Anyway, I left my car downtown and took the train home. I was home in about the same amount of time as it usually takes me to get to Union Square. And, thankfully, the city used some common sense and canceled ASP rules for Friday morning, so I didn’t have to rush back downtown to get my car. That wasn’t really the point of it, of course. It was to keep people from circling in that snowy crap Thursday night trying to find parking that was good for all of Friday.

So, I read that this winter is going to suck, basically, because of El Nino. It’s supposed to be ~8 degrees cooler than usual in January and February. It’s pretty cold right now, actually. A lot colder than usual, and we don’t normally get this kind of snow until January or February anyway. So it’s probably just going to be a bad winter season all around.

I need to get some winter cycling gear.

January 2016 Winter Blizzard

Earlier, 6:55 PM:

So, we’re moving into a blizzard weekend. Two weeks of laundry to do, groceries to get. I thought we had until tomorrow afternoon, but now I’m checking the weather channel (online of course) and I see that we’re going to start getting snow around 11:30 PM here. Whiteout conditions, until sometime tomorrow. 24 hours of snow. 14 inches of blizzard apocalypse. Can a guy get laundry done during a blizzard? I wonder what things will be like on Sunday?

I have to prioritize food. I don’t want to rely on food deliveries that might be cancelled tomorrow. I don’t think we’ll be going anywhere either. Maybe we’ll just lay around and watch TV. That’s not so bad, as long as the heat stays on.

Now, 11:51 PM:

Going to the grocery store was like walking into madness. It looked like everyone in the neighborhood was jammed into Key Food on 172nd Street. We got there just in time to grab a jug of water. They ran out while we were in line. We figured it would be best to stock up, just in case a pipe broke and repairs couldn’t be done for a while. Mostly we just got regular food and some snacks. The lines snaked around to the back of the store and people were constantly squeezing past each other or bumping into each other. Something that we noticed was that no one was losing their temper or acting crazy, though. Everyone was pretty friendly, in fact. Camaraderie in suffering, I guess.

Anyway, we’re home now, relaxing, and ready.

A case of Stella Artois.

Stella Artois

Are We There Yet? When is Spring Coming?

This winter has been really long and unpleasant. Every time the snow on the ground is about to melt, we get hit with another snowstorm. This morning, I was excited that the weather was warming up. Today it got up to 54 (a heat wave!) and tomorrow it will be 53, but then I saw that next week the temperature is going to drop down close to freezing again.

I just wish we could get a good solid rainstorm to get rid of the snow and all the filth that’s covering everything. On all of the exposed concrete there is a layer of grime that looks almost like dirty, blended newspapers and mud. It’s most noticeable on the stairs leading down into the subway stations. It gets on everything.

If it has to be cold, can’t it at least be clean? Snow is only pretty for a few minutes in New York City.

Wine, Cheesecake and Winter Break

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Today, my wife and I had a relaxing dinner at home followed by cheesecake and wine. The cheesecake is from Veniero’s Italian Pasticceria downtown on 11th Street and 1st Ave. The place is pretty famous and attracts a lot of tourists. It’s been there since 1874 and it lives up to its reputation. We used to eat at there all the time when we lived downtown. Maybe it’s a good thing we’re not close by anymore, though. It’s hard to meet fitness goals with this big a temptation right around the corner. I could eat their desserts every day!

A week ago, I was rushing to finish a paper at the last minute for a class I had this past Fall semester. I was rushing, doing classwork up until the last minute. No matter how often I tell myself I’m not going to get bogged down by class-work during the last week or two of the semester, it never works.

Oddly enough, now that I should have time to relax, I’m even busier than I was during the semester. I’ve been out all day, every day, trying to take care of errands and chores that I’ve been putting off for four months so I could focus on school. It’s a lot to get done, but it’s getting there. I have new glasses and I’ve done some much needed shopping. I still need to get some winter boots.

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One of the things I’m most excited about is that I have time to go back to the gym now. I’m hoping that’s a trend that will last into next year and next semester. I’m taking it easy for now, and trying to build up my distance walking first. I kinda miss when I was running 6 miles in an hour.

Anyway, I’m hoping my rushing around now pays off and I get to spend at least two weeks just sitting around doing nothing (except going to the gym) before I start preparing for next semester.

I’ll still be an officer in the CCNY History Society, but I’ll be taking it easy, relatively. Last semester I took Arabic 3, Hebrew 1, Jesus the Jew, a graduate Historiography & Historical Methods, and an Independent Study. In the Spring, I’ll only be taking four courses: Hebrew 2, Sacred Objects, Art of Jerusalem, and a graduate history course on the Arab-Israeli Conflict. They all sort of tie into each other, and I’ll be spending a week in Jerusalem as part of my course of study, so it should be a very cool and very fun four months.

End of the Semester

Every time the end of the semester starts coming up, I say to myself that I’m going to try to get ahead of things and not get bogged down with work during the last week or two and every time I seem to fail. I have two language finals next week; one on Monday and one on Wednesday. Then I have a 15 page paper due on the following Monday that requires me to read four books. Let’s just say that I’m not on schedule with the reading. Going to be a lot of long days this week.