They came by foot - most in sneakers; by cab - often quadrupled up; by bike - bundled against the cold; and by train - with standing room only into Manhattan. On the first day of the first major transit strike in 25 years, most New Yorkers made it to work. And those that didn't in person, cyber-commuted.
Proving Mayor Michael Bloomberg's contention that "New Yorkers have made a habit of pulling through tough times and showing doubters what we're made of," the city functioned Tuesday. Maybe not quite like usual. Most of the double parking along Fifth Avenue was of bikes, bolted to sign posts. There were more cabs than cars along major downtown avenues, which flowed with remarkable ease - that's if they were open to anything other than emergency vehicles. It was the sidewalks where gridlock was an issue.
But most commuters seemed to take the strike in stride - some literally. John Giacona walked for an hour and 45 minutes up from the Long Island Ferry at the Battery to his job at 42nd and 5th, and was only ten minutes late for work. "The best thing: free. The worst thing: little tired."
Beatrice Mottola wasn't as lucky. She lives way up in the Bronx and had to get a friend's brother to drive her to the Metro-North train station, which was packed. After waiting in a line for a ticket, that cost $40, and missing three trains, she then had to stand the 45 minute long ride into Midtown Manhattan."It was a hassle, really a big hassle," she says.
For bus commuters coming into the city from New Jersey, there was actually a transportation upside to the strike. The usually congested Lincoln Tunnel was flowing like it was Sunday morning.