Braving The Cold | A Survival Story
December 19, 2019
A t about 4:30 PM, The MTA informed everyone still using their system that they would begin shutting down service as the weather worsened. Metro-North and Long Island Railroad were the first, and the buses were next. Finally, surface transit and above-ground stations were shut down. Even though we're past this date, this map might be helpful to those who ever have to go through that again.
S urviving in harsh weather is difficult without resources. I'm glad I had the ability to stock up on Vaseline, heat warmers and some snacks. It allowed me to venture out of the subway system in case I was pursued without harm to my person by nature. Ultimately, people didn't heed the MTA's warning, and were stranded in the system for ten hours. Because certain exits were being overwhelmed with snow, and Sanitation made the streets no-drive zones, nobody who was in the subway system could leave. This made individuals sitting ducks for pickpocketing and begging.
I ventured outdoors for about two of those ten hours. One, was to enter a subway station after exiting another so I could transfer systems [(4) to (R)]. I didn't transfer at Atlantic Avenue, because of the potential for overcrowding. The second time was when I exited 207th St after a homeless peer decided to menace me. Since they seem to say it a lot, I jokingly said "Well, let's take it outside the station then." The individual backed off and decided to harass someone else. I left the station and walked to the 191st Street station, thinking it would be open. I was out of luck. By the time I returned to 207th St, the menacer was gone.
I f you're stuck outside as I was due to the inability to use 191st St, it's important that you drink a lot of water, and keep moving. Limit how much of your skin is exposed, and if it can't be covered, slather it in Vaseline. Frostbite is aggravated by dehydration, and if you lose consciousness, you're much more likely to die. I initially used my resources to stock up on winter-proofing measures, but the rest was put aside for a hotel stay. With the budget I had at that point, I could only afford three nights a month. Because I was actively looking for housing, I always put some money aside for the landlord who would say yes. Unfortunately for me, that answer wouldn't come for another fifteen months.
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