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Get your boots on! Whether you're stranded in New York City or are lucky enough to get the day off due to the snowstorm, head on out to five of the city's parks for winter fun sponsored by the Parks & Recreation Department.
Brooklyn's Prospect Park and Manhattan's Riverside Park are two of the spots where park employees will be providing sleds and hot chocolate. Toss snowballs, make a snow angel -- but you'll have to jockey with all the public school kids who got the day off for room on the hills. Reminds us of our pre-global-warming childhoods.
· Parks Department Offering Free Hot Chocolate, Sledding Today! [Gothamist]
· Snow Day! [NYCGovParks.org]
· Snow Days coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: What Dave Sees]
Well that's unusual. The United Arab Emirates - a hot, wealthy area known for building elaborate indoor skiing complexes - recently experienced its first real snowfall in a generation. The northern emirate of Ras al Khaimah reported that a five kilometer area in its Jebel Jais mountain range was blanketed with ten centimeters of snow on Friday, a situation so rare that the local dialect doesn't even have a word for it.
UAE residents marveled at the news, which was splashed across the front page of local papers, and many hoped to experience the white stuff for themselves. Unfortunately for them, the mountainous area has no roads, with the only access by helicopter. (Still, don't more than a few Emiratis own helicopters?) Of course, a handful of influential locals got to toss a few snowballs before it melted. Crown Prince Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi got a lift into the area to marvel at the snow, even bringing some back to share with his subjects. Nice guy, that Sheikh.
Visitors to the UAE shouldn't hold out any hope for further flurries, though. Temperatures are above freezing once again in the mountains, and so hot on the coast that they're building an air-conditioned beach.
With about a foot of snow falling on Milan and the rest of Northern Italy, officials closed both Malpensa and Linate airports, though both have now re-opened with "strongly reduced" traffic. (Translation: Your flight is delayed.)
But like a snowstorm in New York keeping your flight out of Vegas on the ground, the winter weather in Italy had wide-reaching consequences: David Beckham, who's been in Dubai training with temporary team AC Milan, will be stuck in the land of high-altitude bars and dirty beaches until at least Friday.
While public transit is still running in Milan, the streets look pretty empty. All the better for photographers to venture out and capture some interesting images, like these, of a city that rarely sees this much snow.
Christmas has come and gone, and the Pacific Northwest is still digging out of its winter cataclysm. Need three reasons to venture out? (Besides delicious food, cabin fever and the desire to take pretty pictures, that is.) We've got you covered with these hot spots. You could also try the bus, the ferry or offering strangers a ride, but it'll be a lot warmer at...
Fifth Avenue Theater: Come for the show (it's the classic musical "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers"), stay for the short-haired girls. 1308 5th Ave.
Re-bar: See the sights beyond your snowy driveway at this DJ-driven bar. 1114 Howell St.
Honorary Xmas/Possibly Fake Missed Connection: We're not sure if anyone could really fall in love with a Salvation Army bell ringer, but it warmed our coal-black hearts all the same.
Yes, TSA made him take it off for screening: Colin Farrell left LAX for parts unknown for the holidays. (We're guessing his native land of Ireland, but that's just a shot in the dark.) JustinBobby, we hope you are taking fashion notes.
Farrell may have just been nominated for a Golden Globe for his movie "In Bruges"--a sort of dark travel fable in itself, in which he and Brendan Gleeson are stuck in Bruges with nothing to do--but even he couldn't get to Seattle for love or money. The Pacific Northwest is this year's Denver, with one memorable difference: Since Seattle isn't a hub like Denver is, the masses are stuck at home in their originating cities--they couldn't even fly in.
And forget going by ground: A Seattle-bound Amtrak Empire Builder train was delayed in Chicago yesterday due to steady snowfall there--and is expected to let all its passengers out in St. Paul instead of risking the journey West. But hey, at least Santa can get in, right?
· As Commuters Grapple With Icy Roads, More Snow On The Way [Seattle P-I]
· For A Good Time, Call Julie [Jaunted]
· Celeb Travel coverage [Jaunted]
Snow-mageddon 2008 continues in Seattle, where Greyhound riders have been shacking up in homeless shelters until the bus company starts service again. Refunds, a spokeswoman says, probably won't be given to passengers who've been delayed for literally days.
Fliers are faring better: Portland's airport is up and running again, as is Sea-Tac. Chicago O'Hare, meanwhile, is buckling under the weight of its own mini-blizzard, with hundreds of flights canceled so far. The city's most famous current resident, however, isn't worried: Barack Obama is vacationing McConaughey-style in Hawaii.
· Travelers in the Air [Seattle P-I]
· Greyhound Riders Sick of Seattle [Seattle P-I]
· Greyhound Abandons 60 Passengers In Seattle, Locks Up For The Night [Consumerist]
· Flights Canceled in Chicago [NYT]
· Photog Gets Glimpse of Obama on Vacation [ABC News]
[Photo of PDX on Monday: scazon]
Hey, we just realized that all our bellyachin' about snow-caused drama on the East Coast is nothing compared to the drama at SEA, where ice and snow are so bad the airport ran out of deicing fluid. Presumably they couldn't airlift more in. (We'll be here all week!)
Portland International Airport, too, is having more snow than is pleasant, and we've already told you about the snowpocalypse in Upstate New York. United and Continental are riding out the storm by cuddling up together, while the people in Oymyakon continue shivering: Their hometown is apparently the coldest inhabited place on Earth. Forecast for this week? Minus 90 Fahrenheit!
· Headaches Continue at Sea-Tac [Seattle P-I]
· Storms in Pacific Northwest Strand Passengers [The Mercury News]
· United, Continental Favor Living Together [Chicago Tribune]
· Temperatures Could Hit -70 C in Northeast Siberia [Novosti]
· Snow Days coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: North Bend Eric]
So much lake effect snow fell on Upstate New York last night that the Thruway Authority completely closed a 134-mile stretch of I-90 for six hours. It's since reopened, and now that the roads are finally plowed, it's time to take advantage of all that snow by strapping on the cross-country skis and setting out in search of tranquil winter bliss.
A PR firm in the region recently sent us a link to a really cool Google Maps mashup that pinpoints dozens of cross-country skiing spots across the Finger Lakes, complete with photos, prices, trail guides, websites and, obviously, directions. We'd embed it here, but it's so full of info that it's better to view it full screen.
Of course, in Upstate New York this time of year, you may not even need a map to find decent cross country skiing: Just get to the nearest park and go from there. Today's forecast for Syracuse? "Snow squalls" bringing as much as a foot of new powder.
Delay Dispatch / JetBlue / JFK / T5 at JFK / Eero Saarinen / Snow Days / → All Tags
While Ellen Wernecke was dealing with the five stages of flight delays at LGA recently, our occasional correspondent JetSetCD was enjoying the new T5 at JFK, built by an airline that knows something about awful winter weather.
As New York City buttoned up on Friday for its first snowstorm of the season, I headed straight into the belly of the beast. Although I've been to JetBlue's new Terminal 5 at JFK twice before on trial runs, I'd yet to actually fly out of it under full operation. With strong winds and heavy snow forecast for the day, I decided to forget about the possibility of delay for my flight and instead focus on watching the new, innovative terminal stretch its legs.
Despite the flood of New Yorkers headed out of town on the Friday before Christmas, the wait at security was non-existent and I quickly found myself snuggling in with the WiFi warriors in the food court. When JetBlue described this concourse as inspired by Union Square in New York, they must've meant something more like Whole Foods; there is a deli-style buffet with an abundance of fresh salad choices, barrels of bags of apple chips versus potato chips, fresh fruit to cure your travel scurvy and the best looking donuts I've ever sunk my teeth into. (The perfect frosting alone was award-winning food porn.)
Some of us are going to LaGuardia Airport again this morning to attempt to break through Airport Hell and make it home in time for Christmas. After our Friday travel nightmare we'd rather have taken a covered wagon home, but a weekend's perspective and all the wine in the house have allowed us to put things in perspective.
With apologies to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, we present our five stages:
Denial, before you've even gotten to the airport. Even though it snows every December, and airports always shut down when it happens, I'm totally fine. (Or: Since my flight home last year was a nightmare, this year's going to be great--just you watch!)
Depression. Compounded when gate agents warn you to stay in the gate area to inform you of delays--and the only news is "we're going to be delayed for a while."
Anger, at the gate agents. What do you mean, "They haven't even started plowing yet" at my destination? Who's running the show over there?
Depression, with actual crying by adults. If occurring around Christmas, may also include skipping songs on your iPod like "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" or "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." Stupid songs about holiday abandonment.
Seemingly irrepressible anger. Stupid person behind me in line at ticketing! If you run your Smarte-Carte into me one more time I'm going to punch you!
Swearing you're never going to fly again. Come on, who are you kidding? This is a travel website. If we could stop, we wouldn't be here.
Bargaining. How about you rebook me on the next flight and throw in a three-martini lunch for my troubles? No? Uh, how about just rebooking me then?
Resignation. Maybe the couch and the first season of "Weeds" are better than US Weekly and gate B18.
Returning to the airport. Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more!
· Flying Can Have Its Indignities, But It's Still Awesome [Jaunted]
· Winter Storms in the US Leave Snarled Flights and Snarling Passengers [Jaunted]
· Delay Dispatch: Snug As A Bug In A Rug At JFK's Terminal 5 [Jaunted]
Travel Snapshots / Delay Dispatch / JFK / T5 at JFK / JetBlue / Airport Hell / Snow Days / → All Tags
Flights canceled to Buffalo, Rochester... and Palm Beach?! Ah, the joys of the holidays.
In JetBlue's new Terminal 5, people are drinking wine while waiting for flights. Those scheduled before about right now seem to be having only minor delays whereas later flights aren't faring so well. But people are happy, not stressed; just chilling. It's a nice environment, so I guess that helps. There's lots of action in the food court and in the kids play area.
Check another photo after the jump:
Snow Days / Airports / LAS / Winter Travel / Travel News / → All Tags
After New Orleans got dusted with snow, another place we always associate with sweating our faces off has been hit by winter weather. Las Vegas saw more than three inches of snow Wednesday, the most in nearly three decades, grounding flights at McCarran International--the world's sixth busiest airport--because LAS doesn't have snow removal or deicing gear on hand.
While the airport isn't closed per se, here's the latest from its official website:
Snowfall and poor visibility have greatly reduced the airlines’ ability to conduct normal flight operations. All passengers or those planning to pick up travelers at McCarran should contact their airline for updates.
As passengers rebooked flights Wednesday night, many decided to cab back to the Strip to spend another night in Vegas, the Review-Journal reports. Given how horrific cab queues normally are at LAS, we're glad we didn't have to be a part of the mess--even if McCarran officials insist things are running as smoothly as possible.