Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Worst. Day. Ever.

Filed under: — stan @ 11:55 pm

Months ago, when Cathy told me she wanted to do this trip to New Jersey, I told her that there were two things that I absolutely had to do while we were there:

So Wednesday was our day for these things.

The plan was to drive the car out to Queens and park it for the afternoon at a garage in Forest Hills, which is near the velodrome. Then we could take the E train into Manhattan and go to the museum. This way we could go to the bike races at 6:30 without having to drive very far in NYC traffic.

Wednesday morning, a storm moved through the area and it rained. By the time we were ready to go, it was clear, and a reasonably nice day, so we didn’t really think that much of it. But it turned out that the storm dumped about three inches of rain in two hours, which is a remarkable amount by New York standards.

So we headed out. The trip over to Queens was fine, and we got the car stowed. But when we got to the subway, they said that the tunnel was flooded, and there were no trains into Manhattan. Instead, we had to take a train out to Jamaica and then transfer to the J train to Broadway in Brooklyn. Then we had to take the A train into Manhattan. So what should have been about a 30-minute subway ride turned into almost two hours of riding in stifling hot and crowded trains.

But we finally made it there. We met my old friend Gordon there, and we had a fun time looking at the dinosaurs.

When it was time to go, I decided to assume that the flooded tunnel was fixed in time for the evening rush. We rode the C train down to 42nd St to get the E out to Queens. But they said that the tunnel was still flooded. So instead, we had to walk over to 7th Ave and take the #7 train. The train was crowded, and the air conditioner was broken, so it was very unpleasant. We had to ride it out to 74th St in Queens, and then transfer downstairs to a shuttle train out to Forest Hills. This took a bit over an hour.

We finally made it to the car, and we drove out to Kissena Park. The velodrome has been repaved, and it looks pretty nice. It’s much better than it was back in the ’70s. There we no cracks in the pavement with weeds growing out of them, and they’d even shaved off the big hump in the last turn.

I talked to some of the racers, and I took lots of pictures. It was a fun time.

Then we headed home. We were all in agreement that the day had been quite the trying ordeal. And then it got worse. We got rear-ended on the Cross Bronx Expressway. The car in front of us had to stop. I hit the brakes hard enough to feel the anti-lock take over, but we managed to stop in time. The guy behind us stopped in time, and we thought we were all right. But then a fourth guy in a Toyota minivan plowed into all three of us.

And this was where the real ordeal began.

There was no visible damage to our car or the one in front of us. The Pathfinder behind us had minimal damage, and the front of the minivan was destroyed. A tow truck and the fire department arrived almost immediately. They set out flares and told us to stay there until the NYPD arrived to make a report.

So there we were, standing in the left land on the Cross Bronx Expressway, in stifling heat, with irate New York drivers screaming at us as they passed. I’ve mentioned before that I think that standing on the train station platforms in the middle of the freeway in L.A. is hellish, but this was far, far worse. Yup, just the way I wanted to spend my vacation time.

Nobody was hurt, so the paramedics left. But while we were waiting for the police to arrive, there was a second accident about 50 yards back up the road from us. A driver had been hit sideways by a truck. So the paramedics came back, and they ended up treating the driver on the scene.

When the police arrived, they noted the positions of everything and then stopped traffic so we could drive off the road and so the tow trucks could tow the damaged van off the road. Then we all sat on the side of road for another 45 minutes while they took down all the information for the report.

You can see the scene in Google Maps. We were in the left lane on the westbound side of the road. When we moved off the road, we were standing on the triangle of bare dirt next to the Jerome Ave exit:,-73.912612&spn=0.001234,0.002097&t=k&z=19&om=1

We ended up having to be there for almost two hours before we could leave. By this time, we all agreed that it had been the Worst. Day. Ever.

All of the pictures from that day are here in our photo album.

One Response to “Worst. Day. Ever.”

  1. Jodi Says:

    Geez…I got exhausted reading that post! I hope you have better luck on the rest of your trip.

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