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Scotian News

Nov 2012

Edition 93


Congratulations to the following Former Pupils who have reached milestone birthdays this month:-

70 Desmond McInally; Mike Sexton;

65 Peter Kelly; John Cameron; Josef Niedzielski; Michael Rule; James R Casey; Chris Pope; 

60 Ronald Andreetti; David Gordon; Gerard McBride; John McInerney; Michael Croan; Alexander Nicholson; Paul Pelosi; Anthony Rogers; James Campbell;

50 Josef Boni; Jeremy Hogarth; Andrew Harris; Andrew Bogle;

 School News

We are delighted to announce that Chris Martin is getting married today (30th Nov.) in Australia. Our congratulations are offered to the happy couple.

Change of e-mail address:-  Jim McDowall; Robert Ronaldson;

We received a bit of a shock this month in an e-mail from Bert D’Agostino. He had suffered a heart attack and had visited hospital in Edinburgh. He is now on the mend, as can be read in his e-mail:-

 Here is a snippet for your next newsletter. Following a reprobate lifestyle I have finally succumbed to a heart attack! I am in the ERI awaiting an angiogram and expect to be home, unscathed, tomorrow. The angel of death has had a swipe at me…and missed! 

As a result of mentioning the Hurricane Sandy, we received two e-mails about the event, one from Mark Tobin Moore, who is resident there, and one from Mike Crean, who was on Holiday in New York. They read as follows:-

Thank you for your good intentions towards us here in the US. Actually, here in West Virginia we endured some serious damage from Sandy and my household went three days and nights without electricity, and it was cold! We had eleven days w/o power last summer when the Derechio rolled through here, but surviving sub freezing temps is a whole different game than enduring heat. We live in a really beautiful hilly area, and by the love of God (we like to believe anyway) our house hasn't been damaged or crushed, as so many others have around here.
So, we are buying camping equipment for Christmas! We finally understand that things are indeed changing around here.


My wife, Jenny, sadly died in March of this year and as a treat to my 14 year old son, James, I booked a trip to New York for the English Schools’ half- term holiday.
We flew out with British Airways from Terminal 5 at Heathrow on Saturday morning 27th October.  I worked at Heathrow for 25 years and someone must have remembered me as we got upgraded to Business/Club class.  A really nice surprise – BA Silver Service all the way !

After the usual long wait at JFK Immigration, we got a taxi to our Midtown Manhattan hotel in early Saturday afternoon their time.  The Affinia was an old hotel but recently refurbished and very pleasant.  It was right opposite Madison Square Garden and just a few blocks from The Empire State Building, so very centrally placed.
The TV channels were full of the incoming Hurricane Sandy and all doom and gloom was predicted.  They forecasted that it would hit the New York region on Sunday evening and all day Monday.
Just our luck, I thought.  The one week in the year we come to New York and we get hit by a major hurricane !

However we managed some sightseeing for the remainder of the Saturday.  In particular Times Square which James loved and The Rockefeller Center.
Sunday morning it started to blow, but you could still manage to get around.  We even managed to get up the Empire State Building, although it was pretty gusty and later downtown to the Ground Zero memorial site.  Very impressive.

By the afternoon the weather was really getting wild.   The authorities announced that all public transport was stopping at 7pm – in particular the Subway system.
This meant that everything started to shut down by around 5pm to allow the staff to get home.   By 6pm everything in Manhattan was closed – all cafes, restaurants, shops etc.  You couldn’t get as much as a cup of coffee in a Macdonald’s  - everything shut.

As a completely separate issue, our hotel had experienced a kitchen fire the previous week.  So despite having a flash restaurant, numerous coffee shops and room service, all their catering services were out.  Therefore we couldn’t even get any meals or grub in the hotel !   Talk about bad luck !
However, we did manage to find a small deli that was still open and we stocked up on packets of sandwiches, Hershy bars and Pringles etc.
Bearing in mind that this was Midtown Manhattan and not some remote island in the Caribbean !

We spent the rest of the evening in our room  and then the hurricane really struck with full force during the night.   We managed to sleep, but you could clearly hear the wind howling outside.

On Monday morning we went down to the hotel lobby.  We went to the front entrance to see what was happening.   There were two policemen on the doors preventing anyone from going out – it was too dangerous.   All you could see was torrential, driving rain with the full force of the wind blowing dustbins, cartons and debris etc down 7th Avenue.   There was no traffic at all and no sign of life out in the streets.
The hotel was packed – mainly with English families who, like ourselves were there for half term.    Everyone was naturally concerned about the situation especially with the lack of food and supplies.   The good old British spirit was much in evidence, however, with most folks “keeping calm and carrying on” !

I have to say at this point that I, personally, was feeling pretty hacked off.   The year had been really bad so far, with first my mother then Jenny passing on.   I’d paid a lot of dosh for the trip and wanted to show James all the sights of New York.   Here we were holed up in our hotel with the worst hurricane ever to hit the city.    My rotten luck was continuing !

However we managed to keep our sense of humour and stayed in our room for the rest of the day watching tv.   All the news channels were full of the hurricane situation.   All the outer boroughs were being very badly damaged.   New Jersey, Queens and Staten Island were taking the full force of the storm.
In lower Manhattan all the river and sea areas had suffered a ten foot wave surge.  This had flooded all of the tunnel and subway areas and caused massive damage to power stations and water supplies.
TV footage Canal Street subway station, where James and I had used on Sunday, to be under some six feet of water.
Lower Manhattan lost all power and water supplies and suffered a complete black out.   Fortunately our hotel was just above “ the great divide” and all buildings around our area – and further uptown  - maintained normal services.

Towards early Monday evening the storm began to subside and the police let us go for a wander outside.   By good chance the nearby Deli store was again open and we were able to stock up on fresh supplies.   However nothing else was open or moving and the whole area was like a ghost town.
By good luck most of the buildings and infrastructure in the main city areas had escaped major damage although a lot of clearing up was required for all the debris etc.

On the Tuesday morning the storm had completely gone and the weather, although grey and overcast, was back to normal.   Ourselves and lots of tourists and New Yorkers wandered the streets but, again, nothing was open.   All public transport was still off and most of the road tunnels and bridges were closed.    No staff or employees could get into work so everything was shut.   All tourist attractions, shops, cafes, offices were closed – it was like something out of Jeff Wayne’s “War of the Worlds” !
We finally stumbled upon this one Macdonalds which was open.  The only thing was that the queue stretched right out of the cafe and half way round the block.   Nevertheless we took our place “in line”  and after some 50 minutes were rewarded with two big mac meals and the first coffee I’d had since Sunday morning.
Now we know what wartime London was like after a “blitz” attack !!

For the next few days things remained the same.  We were able to wander around and visit most popular spots around midtown and upper Manhattan.  However most places were still shut and you couldn’t get in anywhere.  This included all the main shops, Macy’s etc, everything closed.
Even Central Park was closed due to fallen trees and branches etc.
However Times Square, with all the lights and sounds, was fully operational and we both enjoyed hanging out there.
Lower Manhattan was mainly “out of bounds” with all power supplies etc cut off indefinitely.
We were both disappointed that our planned boat trips to the Statue of Liberty and Staten Island would not be taking place.  Still, there’ll be a next time.

Eating out was still a problem with most cafes and restaurants remaining closed.  We survived on hot dogs from street vendors and the odd Starbucks or Macdonalds which we found open.

By Thursday, a few shops began to reopen.  James was delighted to find his beloved Apple Store on 5th Avenue finally open and we spent a pleasant time trying out all the gadgets.  (He’s already got an IPad, so I didn’t have to shell out for something new!)

Friday evening we were due to fly home and fortunately all the BA flights were back to normal so no delays.  On checking in at JFK’s Terminal 7 we were amazed to find that we’d been upgraded again (my luck was improving !)    We were able to enjoy the BA Club Lounge with all the luxuries which went with it.    Then onto our luxury sleeping pods for our flight home – including again the full BA silver service all the way.

So back to Heathrow and Dorking on the Saturday morning.    We still had a really good time together – despite missing out on a lot of New York’s attractions.   At least we can say that we experienced the full force of Hurricane Sandy.

Mike Crean
November 2012.

Your editor thanks you all for your kind words about his daughter’s forthcoming nuptuals. Unfortunately, no financial help was included, so he may be seen on Princes Street looking for a handout.  


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