WWE fans still stranded near MSG amid storm
Today marks a rare opportunity where my fulltime beat at Newsday - covering the Long Island Rail Road - and my side gig - covering the pro wrestling industry - intersect.
That's because among the LIRR customers most affected by the rail road's service suspension have been wrestling fans.
On Sunday night, WWE held a live event at Madison Square Garden, attended by up to 15,000 people according to Jim Ross' Twitter. And while fans may have enjoyed the steel cage main event between John Cena and Wade Barrett, they most certainly did not enjoy what was waiting for them when they headed downstairs to Penn Station to catch the train home - all LIRR service suspended.
Nearly 16 hours later, service has still not resumed, and LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone confirms that there remain some "diehard wrestling fans" anxiously waiting inside stationary trains at Penn for a ride home.
Among those stranded was the Marchese family from Baldwin - Ronnie and Karen and their son, Ronnie Jr., 9. They went to last night's show, which let out around 10 p.m., but didn't board a train home until after 1:30 p.m. today.
"Horrible horrible it was horrible," Karen Marchese said."The wrestling was good but I didn't like the rest of it."
I was among the fans who bought tickets to the show, but I chose to just eat the $100 I spent on them rather than risk getting stuck in Penn Station. I made the right call.
But WWE and/or Madison Square Garden most certainly did not. Going ahead with last night's show, despite the ample warning of a blizzard that threatened to knock out LIRR service seems short-sighted, irresponsible and even greedy.
Although I'm sure many fans would have been disappointed if the show was cancelled, WWE would have been wise to put the safety of its fans, and its workers, first by rescheduling the show - possibly until later this week when WWE returns to our area for an event in New Jersey. Alternatively, they could have run an afternoon/evening double shot in MSG during their next visit here.
WWE/MSG may have thought they did right by their fans by going ahead with the show, but I'd bet many fans still waiting in Penn Station for a ride home would beg to differ.
- With Matthew Chayes