It was 2005, and they kept talking about a possible transit strike. It was a few days before Christmas, and I didn’t think it would happen. Then on December 20th, it happened.
I was working at a restaurant in Times Square, and management told us if we didn’t come to work, we would be fired. They had arranged for vans to pick up the back of the house staff, but the front of house was on their own.
Cabs were impossible to get, and I couldn’t afford the inflated fares, so I walked to work.
It was 6.1 miles to the restaurant, and I left home 2 hours before my shift in freezing temperatures. I worked on my feet for 8 hours, then I walked the 6.1 miles home.
The second day I met up with my friend Andrew, and we walked together. After our shift, we were able to get a taxi back to Queens for a reasonable price, and I avoided the long walk.
The third day was the worst. I was leaving for Pittsburgh the next morning and they weren’t sure if the strike would be over by then. So to make sure I would make my train out of NYC, I walked to work with a 50 lb. hiker’s backpack on my back planning to sleep in Penn Station for the evening. By the time we finished the 6.1 miles, my legs were shaking. That was the hardest most tiresome shift I have ever worked. I just wanted it to end.
I barely made any money that night, but the strike suddenly ended. However, not all the trains would be fully up and running until the next morning, so I went along with my plan of sleeping in Penn Station.