Where Were You When the Great Rainstorm of 2007 Shut Down the Subway?

It was a year ago today that New York’s iconic transit system was crippled by a rainstorm that, at least to me, didn’t seem all that major as I set out for the train.

From August 8, 2007:

The Great Rain Robbery

Far as we could tell, it wasn’t quite a Nor’easter. It wasn’t exactly a snowstorm, and you wouldn’t really call it a steam pipe exploding next to Grand Central.

So what the hell caused colossal malfunctions on Metro-North and the subways this morning?

The bike ride to the train was completely uneventful; a few puddles to avoid, that’s about it. Was waiting for the 8:16 when G. Francis texted from Mamaroneck: sitting on the beleagured New Haven Line train, conductors instructing riders to get off, hop the eastbound train, and go home.

Ten, 15, 20 minutes pass. A muffled announcement says something about no trains in and out of Grand Central, but no one has heard the announcement clearly. I get talking with a few fellow platform paisons–young, sort of cute Westchester Italian princess, portly Russian emigre dude. I share G. Francis’ dour news and we debate going home and going to bed (our respective beds, not one big one).

At 8:40, people start arriving for the 8:43. A moment later, the train shuffles in to the station. It’s half full. We consider not getting on, if it means being stuck somewhere in the Bronx for an hour. We get on and the doors close.

Text from G. Francis: Stuck in New Rochelle. Keeping eyes open for New Roc City rioters.

Our train chugs along, stops in North White Plains, a near-empty platform in White Plains. It’s surprisingly smooth sailing.

Instead of going express from White Plains, we stop in Hartsdale, Scarsdale, Crestwood, Tuckahoe (most limerick friendly stop name ever), until the train is packed; basically, if you were wearing a collared shirt and standing anywhere near a train track in Westchester, we were stopping for you.

Text from G. Francis, stuck in Pelham.

Us, we’re rolling right along. We enter the Bronx, the site of the morning’s flooding. We keep hustling.

Text from G. Francis, who’s staring at an abandoned car in the brush near Fordham: “It’s the Bronx’s biggest trash!” he gushes.

We hit 125th, and are in Grand Central all of 10 minutes later. All told, we’re 45 minutes late. It could’ve been worse. In fact, it was for G. Francis, who was delayed 1 1/2 hours. Damn those pantograph shoes on the New Haven Line! [Editor’s Note: “Pantograph Shoes” would be a great name either for a punk band or a Steely Dan tune.]

Alas, the trauma didn’t end there. I descended the subway stairs at Grand Central for the 6, ran my card through the turnstile to the tune of two bucks, and found out no trains were running. I exited Grand Central and began my walk, passing the some of the sweatiest dudes New York has known since the days of the Tunnel on the way west side.

All because of a phantom rainstorm.

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2 Responses to Where Were You When the Great Rainstorm of 2007 Shut Down the Subway?

  1. William Hays says:

    What is your point?

  2. William Hays says:

    I went home early, arriving in Fleetwood about 5 PM, on the day of the “Great Blackout of the ’60s”. Was that ’63 or ’64? CRS. I was sitting in the barber’s chair when the power failed. He finished up, somewhat, with candles and scissors. I went home to find out what was going on, walking up five floors to my parent’s apartment. No big deal, as they had both grown up without electricity. Candles were burning, but, being WASPs, none of them were votive! No TV, no radio, etc, but a nice Roper gas range. Din-din was served, on-time. I decided to check things out and walked down the Harlem Division to Woodlawn Junction, “JO” tower (now CP 122x). The towermen at WO were in the dark, too. We chatted, for a while, and I went home.
    The next day, I found out what I had missed. PARTY-PARTY-PARTY at all of my favorite bars, and even on the NYC and NH bar cars!!! The GCT commissary was totally depleted of booze. People were sleeping in the luggage racks! They shut it down after a few fell off the platforms. Damn! I missed an experience, methinks!

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