Tag Archives: subway

Hurry Up and Wait

“Hurry up and wait!!” Those were the words of my esteemed disaster response director when I worked for the Red Cross. Hurricane Sandy, we’re hurrying up and waiting.

We tried to be smart and prepare early, starting on Saturday. We didn’t prepare as well as we thought, because by Sunday, we were back out again buying supplies. We kind of missed the boat on that one. We hit seven ATMs before we were finally able to get some cash since the machines were out of money. The supermarket was out of bread, water and milk. Gas stations ran out of gas and Home Depot was bare of hurricane supplies like drains, lanterns, batteries and flashlights; though that wasn’t a huge surprise. 

Before 3pm ET, we got the call that work in New York City was shut down and the transit system, including the subway, PATH, MTA, and NJ Transit were closing until further notice. Wall Street would not be trading, the first time its closed since September 11, 2001. And we just got word that the Holland Tunnel is also closing this afternoon. 

For the last two and half days, we have done our best to secure the house and our belongings. The outdoor furniture was taken inside and the cars were moved into the garage. We sealed the basement to prevent flooding, brought up all our personal items and stacked the washer and dryer on cinder blocks.  We cleared all the leaves from gutters nearly three times and stored away the fire wood to make a fire when we lose power. The flashlights have all been tested, the candles are ready to burn and the food and water are stored. We’ve done everything we can to prepare for Sandy. 

I have lived in Jersey my whole life and have never seen anything like this. When a snow storm is on its way, of course, the shelves are bare of food and supplies, but that is what we have come to expect. People get nervous and you work to prepare.  We laugh about it, saying it’s just a storm, not the end of the world. But this preparation is one that I have yet to experience. Even working in the disaster field, where you see this kind of response more frequently, didn’t prepare me for when it would happen in my own town. 

So now what? As our trusted disaster response director Bill used to say, “We hurry up and wait,” for the worst, knowing we prepared as best we could for an impending disaster. Stay safe and heed the warnings my friends. 

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Get Up for the Pregnant Women!

I was always taught that you give up your seat on a bus, train or subway for a pregnant woman or the elderly. Most people I know were brought up the same way. Yet somehow, I have seen a ridiculous amount of pregnant women standing on the PATH (the subway to Jerseyans) without a single person, male or female, offering them a seat.

I know that it is sometimes difficult to tell if a woman is expecting; come on, let’s be honest. But when you see a woman resting her hand on her very large belly that is rounder than that of say an overweight person, you offer her your seat or politely just stand up making the seat available.

In the last week, I have seen two women who are clearly having babies denied a seat on the PATH which I think is disgusting (note: yes, I am standing!). The first time was when the conductor had to literally ask passengers to get up from their seats for a woman who looked as if she was ready to pop.

The next time this happened, I got kind of annoyed and said something. A woman got on the train and stood next to me. She seemed to get a little lost in the shuffle while boarding. It took a minute or two to notice she was pregnant, but she was trying to make it as obvious as possible.

In the seats in front of us were two passengers, a man and woman. They both acknowledged the woman, but didn’t offer her their seat. I understand that they may not have recognized she was pregnant, but in time, my gut tells me they did. These two repeatedly stared this woman down, kept looking at her and for the reactions of those around them. It was almost like they didn’t know what to do or were hoping no one saw them deny this woman seating.

In the end, the pregnant woman was left standing. As I approached the Christopher Street station, I took it upon myself to say, “Don’t you think it would be nice to offer your seat to a pregnant woman?” I don’t know if anyone offered that woman their seat, but at least I knew I did my part to help her.

It’s definitely tough to tell if someone is expecting, but when in doubt, just get up and stand; give women an option to sit. If nothing else, you help out another human being. If you have two legs, stand and be happy you paid it forward.