TRAVELLERS from the Fylde coast have had their dream holidays in the New York destroyed following the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy.
Holidaymakers say they were forced to hide out in their New York hotels and have described how the subway flooded, shops shut and even Central Park closed as the tropical storm took hold.
Blackpool hairdresser Jennifer Smith, 63, of Park Road, flew to JFK Airport at the weekend and landed just hours before the storm hit.
Daughter Alison, who runs Zeva hair salon with her mum, said: “I feel so sorry for her because this is her first trip to New York and she had been looking forward to going for ages –but she hasn’t been allowed to leave her hotel yet.
“She’s staying in a high-rise building on 49th Street and she says it’s really scary. The wind is deafening and the subway is flooded, she’s been told she has to stay indoors.
“But to be honest I am just glad she is OK. When I watched the news and realised how bad the storm was I immediately tried to contact her at her hotel but there was no answer.
“I thought they might have been evacuated. Fortunately, after several hours of trying, I got through to the hotel and was able to speak to her.
“She’s upset she hasn’t been able to go shopping, which is one of the main reasons she went.
“We’ll have to wait and see whether she is able to get her flight back on Friday or whether it will be cancelled.”
Despite the chaos in the city, Steven Foster, a former pupil at Cardinal Allen High School in Fleetwood, still managed to propose to his girlfriend, Alison Westwood, in Central Park, on Sunday.
He said: “We came over for an early celebration of our 30th birthdays and for me to propose to Alison.
“We are supposed to fly back tomorrow but as of yet there is no clear indication if flights will go ahead as Newark airport is closed due to the storm surge and damage to the runway and airport.
“All the food carts all over the city were told to close and move the carts by the mayor of New York. Central Park was closed for safety.
“The subway was closed around 7pm on Sunday evening which was when we started to worry as they never close the subway unless its going to be something serious,
“We went for a walk down to Times Square and it was almost completely empty apart from police and fire engines rapidly moving around the city to where the main damage was on the shore line.”
US president Barack Obama has described the storm, which is 1,000 miles wide and expected to wreak havoc for several more days as it moves north, as “a national disaster”.