Crosstown Traffic

Due to my move in November coupled with holiday commitments with the family and in-laws, I was not able to attend Islander games with the frequency I did in October. As December rolled around, however, I knew that I would be back to my old self. And to get the ball rollin', I bit the bullet, and decided to make a weeknight game. Weeknight games present some logistical difficulties, but at this point, I was hurtin' to get back to the Coliseum.

I drove in to the city on Monday (I live north of NYC and work on the west side of Manhattan) and parked my car at the local garage. Throughout the day, I looked forward to the game. All I had to do was sneak out of work a earlier than usual (approx 5.15), pick up the car, and drive to the arena. Piece of cake, in theory.

I left work about a ten after five and went to pick up my car. My first mistake of the night (and there were a few) was to inadvertently take Broadway instead of Columbus and get stuck in the loop at Columbus Circle and shot out the complete wrong way heading north parallel to Central Park. I was able to right myself from this scenic detour 10 minutes later and eventually get to Columbus, where I made the biggest mistake of the evening. Instead of dealing with the certain crosstown gridlock further downtown, I felt the best bet was to get to the East Side via 57th street. Apparently, however, there are tourists that frequent that area this time of year, who knew? Shopping tourists helped create a complete traffic standstill. Lights would turn green, and literally no cars would move. This happened twice before I began cursing (and screaming).

At about 57th and Sixth I really began to lose it as it approached 5.45 and I was sitting still on the West side of Manhattan. This was approximately when I threw an elbow to the vacant passenger seat (see injury report at the end of this blog). Eventually, after an unforgiving western trek I made it to second avenue, and needing fresh air, I rolled down the window (yes, it was quite cold and I imagine it looked quite alarming to passing pedestrians) and flew south to the midtown tunnel. I cleared the tunnel at 6.10, exactly one hour after I left my office.

The LIE, as anyone reading this site will likely know, is a challenge of will. Myriad traffic jams presented themselves, most notably leading up to Woodhaven Blvd and around the Queens/ Long Island border. This game for which I planned so much for, and looked forward to with such enthusiasm, was slipping away from me as I sat in traffic.

At 6.45, as if by the grace of the hockey gods, traffic lifted and I drove with great alacrity to the Meadowbrook and onto the furthest reaches of the Coliseum parking lot where I began my run to the arena in seemingly Arctic conditions. In the end, I walked into Coliseum with just enough time to put my right hand over my heart as the anthem began.

In order to put this night into terms that a hockey fan can appreciate, I came up with my own version of an event summary:

Penalties: McGlynn 2 minutes (elbowing) at 19.26
McGlynn 2 minutes (unsportsmanlike conduct- swearing) various

Injuries: McGlynn (slight bruise, right elbow)

Number of times profanities used: 41 (includes commute and subsequent Islander 3-1 loss)

During the trip to the Coliseum, as outlined above, I swore up and down "never again on a weeknight"; but even though the Isles lost and continued their scoring drought, I was happy being in the building, and thrilled to be in the locker room for the press conferences.

Who am I kidding anyway? I'll do it again. After all, hockey is like religion, and I hear church bells every gamenight.


7th Woman said...

It is a religion, and we are all devout. Good one Jim!

Outsider said...

Isn't it the worst feeling being stuck and sure you're going to miss the game? Until very recently, I worked in northern Westchester and the one time I attempted a weeknight game, it turned out exactly the way your night did, just with different roads. I work in midtown now, so I could probably manage if I'm willing to drive over to work.

If you're up for trying it again, I would suggest crossing over to the east side as far north as you can without going too far out of your way. Maybe you can pick me up on your way!

islesblogger said...


Next time stay on Central Park West and cut through the park uptown. Whenever I am on the West Side that late I either leave via 79th st and head down to the Queensboro bridge via 2nd ave. I try to avoid Midtown this time of year AT ALL COSTS!

If you are adventurous, you can also make good time if head uptown and leave via the Triboro bridge. I t puts you in Queens and you make better time to Nassau.

Keep up the good work with the blog - it was good chatting with you the other night (in the cold and snow).