Superheroes take Manhattan (not a story about Marriott management)

Supergirl and Ninja have made it to New York, a city that could use their combined skills at present. They, and the rest of Clan Magennis, left last night just after midnight on a Greyhound bus from Baltimore. Amtrak is running again, but all the seats were booked and so an overnight bus trip was the family’s only chance of making it to Manhattan.

” What an adventure” said Peggoty. ” What a real piece of Americana” said Weatherman Sam. They were trying to be encouraging. All our hearts quailed at the thought of the trip (a tough one at the best of times) and at what would face the intrepid explorers when they arrived in the big city laid low by Hurricane Sandy.

The Greyhound was meant to deposit the party close to their hotel (of which more later) near Penn Station at around 6:45am. In fact it pulled in just after 4am. (this after a long wait to get through the recently flooded Lincoln Tunnel). Not much traffic, which would usually be a plus, but 4am is a brutal time to arrive on the streets of any city, and particularly bleak on this Friday morning in New York.

If you have been keeping pace with the maladventures of Clan Magennis, perhaps you are thinking: “Good old Marriott hotels. It looks like they came through”. No such luck. We have yet to hear from the Marriott group although the website for the Downtown Marriott (close to Wall Street where the family was to stay) now shows that Hurricane-bashed hotel will be out of action until November 11. The site still advises displaced guests to call Marriott HQ for help with rebooking. Don’t do this. It will do no good. Instead do as the Magennis’ did and call Hotel Pennsylvania direct.  The hotel offered the family hope that their holiday could be salvaged when they booked by phone. (No help from STA Travel in the UK who for two days kept insisting the Downtown Marriott was still open and, if only the family could hire a coracle to get there, that everything would be ok. No help from the US agent Tourico who continued to maintain that their UK partner would have to be the ones to help).

When Clan Magennis arrived in NYC in the middle of the night and stumbled into Hotel Pennsylvania’s reception, they were immediately offered early use of their room to nap and freshen up before hitting the sights and the shops. The usual rate was much reduced. Good old Hotel Pennsylvania. That’s where I will stay when I am next in New York. I am sure Marriott, Tourico and STA Travel UK are busy working on the substantial Magennis refund for the original travel plans even as we speak…

For those of you wondering why the family chose to put themselves into a disaster zone, read on: They are flying home from New York (let’s hope this happens on Sunday evening) and so a trip to the city was inescapable. It seemed a shame to come so far and not get even a glimpse of the Chrysler building; conduct a thorough examination of Abercrombie and Fitch; and eat in a Jewish deli or two.  Three of the four have never been to the US and thus never seen New York. This was to have been the trip of a lifetime.

The Superheroes and their super parents were not the only visitors stranded in Itchy Ankle as Hurricane Sandy hit. Weatherman Sam, one of the Rockwell fraternity, had blown into town from California in the few days before the storm. “It will hit to the North of here” the meteorologist proclaimed triumphantly Wednesday a week ago “New Jersey will get the worst of it”. He was right about this but completely failed to realize that his flight from DC would be affected as Sandy splashed down last Sunday evening. It was the following Friday morning at the crack of dawn before he was homeward bound.

Of course there were compensations. The superheroes from London, England enjoyed an Itchy Ankle Halloween where candy is doled out by the hundred weight.  It was a plus for the kids that most of Washington’s monuments and museums were shut down by the weather emergency. Taken 2 provided welcome solace at a theater in Annapolis when the power went out–who wouldn’t cleave to Liam Neeson in a crisis? Magennis Mere and Pere remained calm and optimistic throughout, modeling their unique marital mix of London blitz spirit, absent-minded karma and Scottish stoicism. We had a bit of a laugh, and it was nice for me to have so much of them to myself.

Supergirl straightened my hair while we were shut-ins, and still had power. She then took photos and advised me on my dating life. All most welcome support and advice, although galling to be so grateful to a super-glamorous 14-year old.

Spud called from Ireland to see if the rain was any worse than a Wet Wednesday at home. He is spending his birthday weekend at the Ballymaloe House and Hotel in Co. Cork. He reported yesterday that the sun was shining, and he was enjoying scones and tea in the conservatory. Wish I was there.


About Liz Barron

US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger,cook, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveler.
This entry was posted in Crone in America, Culture with the Crone, Customer service, friendship, weather and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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