27 Jan 2015

New York in lockdown waiting for storm Juno to hit

Manhattan is shut down. It’s a rarity even in extreme weather. But this time around, in preparation for the full force of the storm they’re calling Juno, not much is moving, except for the snowflakes.


Penn Station is a ghost town. The departures board thick with cancellations (anything north to Boston a definite no-go).

The subways are closed, the buses aren’t running, and since 11pm local time, any non-emergency vehicles are subject to a $500 fine if you’re caught driving around the slushy streets.

Under the hashtag #blizzardof2015, New Yorkers are tweeting photos of liquor stores with no beer, convenience stores running dry of milk and bread, and their favourite cancellation announcements of the day.

At schools and businesses, nary an employee is due for work on Tuesday. Although we did meet one security guard at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal who was planning to work a double shift for quadruple his usual pay.

But on Wall Street it’s expected to be business as usual.


The homeless shelters are full. A “code blue” is in place, which means anyone who needs a bed can turn up to any city shelter and find one. No need for the usual paperwork.

On the rounds with the Coalition for the Homeless, the lines of homeless men and women waiting for new dry socks and soup and bread were shorter than normal.

Those who did stand on the street, where the Coalition stops every night of the year, told us they’d found somewhere for the night.

Except for Jorge from El Salvador who needed directions to a drop-in centre, since the place he usually sleeps – the subway – was closed.

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