New York. Snowstorm.
The comfort of a hotel bed after a flight is unparalleled, especially when you can luxuriate in 8 hours of sleep instead of a cramped 4 hours in an airplane seat.
New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio had declared a state of emergency just the day before due to an approaching snowstorm. With schools and kindergartens closed, the city – usually teeming with its 20-million population – turned eerily quiet. Well, almost. The subway and hipster cafes remained open, and the snowstorm turned out to be less severe than anticipated.
A snowstorm in New York is a unique spectacle. Due to the city’s proximity to the ocean, the snow is dense, not fluffy. About 20 centimeters of snow had fallen overnight and into the morning, creating a rare opportunity for tourists to see the city free from the usual crowds.
After a delicious breakfast, we set out to explore the classic sights of New York. Walking these streets felt surreal, like déjà vu – I’d seen it all before in GTA video games and countless Hollywood movies. It was like stepping onto a film set.
We planned to explore the iconic views of Manhattan – the Empire State Building, Broadway, but the highlight awaited us at Madison Square Garden. This isn’t just New York’s premier arena; it’s a symbol of America’s entertainment and sports scene. We were lucky enough to get a tour without a reservation or a long wait.
Preparations were in full swing for Justin Timberlake’s concert that evening. And the next day, the same venue would host a Rangers game, followed by a Knicks game. In a city where space is a luxury, it’s not feasible to have separate arenas for basketball and hockey teams. Hence, they share Madison Square Garden, ingeniously converting from a hockey rink to a basketball court in just four hours. The process is more complex when setting up for concerts.
The locker rooms for the Knicks and the Rangers are separate. The Rangers, who had a tough season in 2018, are quite superstitious; they cover their club logo with a special carpet to prevent tourists from jinxing it. The Knicks, on the other hand, proudly display their logo in their locker room.
Our departure from Newark Airport in neighboring New Jersey wasn’t delayed by the snowstorm. Surprisingly, the usually congested journey from Brooklyn took us only 30 minutes, a trip that would typically take an hour and a half.