This is some crazy shit... In anticipation of Hurricane Irene assailing New York City, for the first time in history (aside from strikes), all public transportation has been mandated to screech to a halt Saturday at noon, including subways, buses and Long Island Railroad, New Jersey and PATH trains, and Metro North commuter lines. Bridges and highways will also be closed, essentially placing the city's 8 million residents in lockdown.
While the storm isn't expected to hit New York until Sunday—if at all—as it continues to weaken in intensity, politicos are having a major Nanny State hissy. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg postured at a Friday press conference, "It is a matter of life and death. Do not be fooled by the sun outside. That is the calm before the storm."
At 4 p.m., Hurricane Irene was making its way through the Carolinas, 685 miles southwest of New York City. The local forecast is calling for 5-10 inches of rain Sunday evening, with winds reaching 60 mph and potential power outages. Residents have been ordered to evacuate low-lying areas of the city by 5 p.m. Saturday, including Battery Park City, Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Far Rockaway, and parts of Staten Island. JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports are closed.
Meanwhile, in Long Island, Fire Island shut down this afternoon, with ferry service running only from the island. Winds are expected to sweep across L.I. at a peak 100 mph Sunday, where the brunt of the storm will center locally.
In New Jersey, the city's 11 casinos will close their doors Friday, only the third time in history that gambling halls have been closed.
Back to NYC: Bloomberg admitted it takes MTA eight hours to shut down the subway system (asinine). To add insult to injury, he said a transit shutdown also takes hours to re-start, meaning there will be no mass transit until Monday afternoon. Perhaps Bloomie forgot that the tens of thousands of residents who must reach their jobs in the meantime don't have the luxury of a private helicopter... The MTA carries 5.5 million passengers on an average weekday.
Seems there's only one way to get through this: Stay home and hold onto dear life with a bottle of booze. Good luck, cool cats!