[doesn’t the MTA have an umbrella?]

Topic: Around Town
So, did you enjoy yesterday’s commute? An early morning downpour brought sections of the subway to a halt, leaving commuters stuck for extended periods in nonmoving trains, or else waiting endlessly on hot, sticky platforms for trains that weren’t coming. I managed to make it to work just a half-hour late, riding the 2 train, which normally runs on the West Side, from Brooklyn into Grand Central. For others, the commute was worse.

As the New York Times notes, yesterday’s episode was eerily similar to a subway tangle on August 26, 1999. I remember it well because I was leaving the city that day for California to attend my sister’s bat mitzvah. At that time, my commute was from Forest Hills, Queens, to DoubleClick’s offices near Madison Square. Hauling a suitcase and a garment bag with my suit in it, I spent two-and-a-half exhausting hours getting to work, including an ill-advised transfer and much walking around Court Square in Queens. When we finally crawled into Manhattan and just stopped, I climbed out of the subway to try for a bus, but they were all full, so I made the final stretch in a shared cab. And the whole time, I kept thinking how ridiculous it was to work this hard to get to Manhattan, when I’d be leaving at 2:30 to go back to Queens for my flight out of LaGuardia.

All of this raises the question: why hasn’t the MTA prepared for this sort of thing? It’s sort of worrying that a heavy downpour can paralyze New York. It’s going to happen again, guys. Can we maybe thing about how to improve things the next time?

Oh, and that picture you see in the Times of the flooded street is just a couple of blocks from my good friend’s new apartment, and also close to a giant Lowe’s store that is mysteriously full of Chassidic Jews late at night. If anyone can explain either the flooding of Smith and Ninth or why the spiritual descendents of the Baal Shem Tov shop nights at Lowe’s, let me know.