It was Wednesday afternoon, and Miranda Melcher ’16 and Khalid Attalla ’16 waited for the New Haven Limo Service at Melcher’s cousins’ New York City apartment. Their ride was already an hour and a half late.
Six other car companies had told Melcher they could not help. She had exhausted her other options: The train to New Haven was not running, the subways were flooded, the airports were closed and the streets were jammed with traffic.
Meanwhile at Yale, classes were back in session.
Hurricane Sandy botched many students’ travel plans for returning to Yale after Fall Break, and a few dozen were stuck in New York during the storm, with many unable to return until late Wednesday and others yet to make it back to campus. The Yale Club of New York, which opened some of its facilities to stranded Yale students and offered discounted rooming starting Monday afternoon, saw roughly 30 students over the past four days, though students only booked two four-person rooms, said Jennifer Warpool, the Yale Club’s director of marketing, sales and communication, in a Wednesday email. Despite the stress and inconvenience of disrupted travel plans, six of eight students interviewed said the delays were a welcome extension to fall break.
“I’m mostly glad the worst I was stuck with was an inconvenient schedule,” said Tory Burnside Clapp ’15, who returned home to Arlington, Va. to wait out the storm after her Sunday night train was cancelled near Philadelphia. “I feel bad for the people who had it worse than we did, weather condition-wise.”
Burnside Clapp said her mother drove her eight hours back to campus as soon as the weather permitted, beginning at 5 a.m. on Wednesday.
As of press time, the Metro-North line from Grand Central Station to New Haven remained closed with no estimated opening time.
University Vice President Linda Lorimer said she did not know exactly how many students were stranded off-campus. Most students interviewed said they notified individual professors rather than Yale administrators about their absences.
Stranded students have largely stayed with family members, though a few said they stayed with friends at other universities.
While many students appreciated the extended fall break, those interviewed said they were anxious about missing school and other campus activities.
“I’m swamped with stuff to do,” said Andre Shomorony ’13, who was stuck in Chicago during the storm. “Everything got backed up — make-up presentations, quizzes, homework, labs.”
He said his professors have been understanding about postponing deadlines, but he added that the delays have resulted in a great deal of work concentrated toward the end of this week.
David Harris ’16, who has booked the first train out of Philadelphia Thursday morning, said he has missed a lot of excitement since he’s been stuck at home.
“I was really hyped for Hurricane Sandy, but then I found out I wasn’t going to be on campus running around with my friends,” he said. “It got slightly more depressing, being home and knowing all my friends will be out for Halloween.”