Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Working in a Ticker-Tape Parade Zone

The New York Giants' Super Bowl win on Sunday meant a ticker-tape parade on Tuesday. Since this is at least the third ticker-tape parade in the four years I've worked in Lower Manhattan, it's old hat. But that doesn't mean my coworkers and I like it.

Obviously I have many colleagues who were extremely happy at the win, and a few went out to see the parade on Broadway, just a half-block away. But Giants fan or not, a ticker-tape parade results in many hassles for workers in the area.

It wasn't that bad for me. I normally take a single train to work, without transferring. However, that train deposits me on the west side of Broadway, and my work is on the east side. Crossing Broadway is nearly impossible on parade days, so I transferred to another line that goes on the east side. So far, no problem.

But the Broadway exit that I would typically use that deposits me a half-block from work was closed by the police because of the crowds, and all commuters at the station -- where something like eight subway lines converge -- were being herded to a single exit a couple of blocks from Broadway. I finally made it outside and fought my way south, when most parade-goers were heading north. Both street blocks that have entrances to my building were closed, but a kind officer let me through when I explained that I worked there. All in all, I got to work about 10 minutes later than I normally would have.

Crowds one block from Broadway, one hour before the parade.
Freedom Tower in background.

A co-worker was not so lucky. He had no choice but to start his journey to work on the west side of Broadway. Innumerable officers pointed him this way and that, and for a time he couldn't even cross Broadway. There was a clear divide, he said: Giants fans in blue, others trying to get to work in black. An hour and 15 minutes later, he made it.

When I left work at 6:30, there were still some stray bits of confetti (shredded paper, really), but the crowds had long since dissipated. At the bars, I suspect, or at home sleeping it off.

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