“You can’t go.” My roommate said simply, a look of mild horror painted across her face.
The thought hadn’t crossed my mind. But…I have to go. I replied. If I didn’t go, who would? I was in Manhattan, the wedding was in Queens. That’s probably the shortest distance I will ever travel to a wedding. As long as it was still happening, I would be there, or at least get soaked trying. I had even planned to go by subway. This proved impossible when Bloomberg announced New York City’s entire transit system would shut down at 12PM on Saturday. So what did I do? I changed my plan. I would take the subway out to Brooklyn before noon and spend the day with my GBF who was my date for the wedding. Worst case scenario: I’d end up spending the night in Brooklyn and be stranded there until the subways started up again. Not so bad.
I woke up early Saturday morning. Getting to this wedding was going to be an adventure. In this day and age of constant cellphone communication and GPS, having a bona-fide adventure isn’t so easy. After writing down all locations I would be at, my GBF’s cellphone number, and promising I would stay safe, I said good-bye to my trepidatious (and touchingly protective) roommate and headed out into a sunny day. You’d never guess a hurricane was coming. The sun was shining, a few harmless looking clouds streaked the sky, a comfortable breeze ruffled the trees. “The calm before the storm” cliché. Too calm: the streets were deserted, beyond bizarre for Manhattan.
I had an errand to run before heading out to Brooklyn. I had to pick up my dress. Having heard rumors, and perhaps watched one or four rom-coms and as many episodes of Sex and the City on the subject, I’d been led to believe weddings were a great place to meet eligible men. As such, I’d purchased a new dress from Macy’s for the occasion. I had bought it on “pre-sale”: upon purchasing I was told Macy’s was having a huge sale on Saturday and that if I bought it now but picked it up then, I would save an extra 25%. Being
hopelessly cheap (don’t tell the eligible men!) brilliantly frugal person I am, I of course jumped at the chance.
Emerging from the subway in Herald Square, something felt off. The streets were not deserted, as they were in my Lincoln Center neighborhood. Instead, droves of tourists wandered around aimlessly, aware they had chosen a horrible weekend to visit New York. I was across the street from Macy’s, trying to figure out what felt strange, when I realized. No one was going in the store. My heart sank. Could it possibly be closed? I’d considered this, but there was no note of it on Macys.com or any social media. Crossing the street, my fears were confirmed. Closed. No way. So much for my perfect get-me-a-man dress. So what did I do? I changed my plan. Raced back home, grabbed a dress out of my closet without over thinking it, and jumped back on the subway, still with plenty of time before the looming Subway Shutdown.
I arrived at my GBF’s place where I joined him and several Manhattan refugees, including my college roommate who was the officiant for the ceremony. I hadn’t seen her for months, so my greeting was especially enthusiastic. When her response was a flapping hand motion, I realized she was on the phone. When she ducked into a bedroom and closed the door, my GBF informed me she was on the phone with the bride. The bride whose pre-wedding jitters had been magnified ten fold by the pending Irene. The bride who was having sympathy heaped on her by any one I’d mentioned my plans to- “You’re going to a wedding!? This weekend!? The poor bride!”
When the officiant emerged from the bedroom, we knew by the look on her face that she didn’t have good news. “I feel so bad for her,” she said, “She’s freaking out! Their venue just canceled.” We all gasped. So what did they do? They changed their plan. “They found an alternative space in Brooklyn, right next to their place. And their figuring out what to do for the reception.” My stomach twisted in commiseration, I couldn’t imagine the stress this was putting our happy couple through! “Well, at least we don’t have to trek out to Queens,” my GBF said, “We can even walk there now, if we have to.” Call her back and ask her if there is anything we can do to help! I said. Next thing I knew, we piled into a cab, and were off to clean up the place where the reception was now taking place. Where are we going exactly? “Somebody’s loft in Brooklyn.” Turned out it was the loft of the groom’s brother’s ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend’s current boyfriend was an arial artist and used the loft they lived in as a living space, classroom studio, and now wedding reception hall. Read that again if you didn’t understand it. Everyone, from friends to 3-degrees-of-seperation-relative-strangers was coming together in an amazing way to make this wedding happen.