It was a holiday of ‘highs and lows’ for a local family who have just returned from a chilly trip to New York!
However, it wasn’t only the freezing temperatures and their nightmare flights that made the holiday one never to forget, but also joy following their daughter’s surprise engagement on New Year’s Eve.
Paula and Giles Pulman from Moyarget Road took their five children – aged from 19 to three-years-old – on a once-in-a-lifetime Christmas holiday to New York to see their eldest daughter, Rachel, who is working there.
But whilst enjoying their festive break, they found themselves in some of America’s worse weather conditions with temperatures plummeting to -15 and below.
Speaking to the Times, local wedding and portrait photographer Paula explained: “The trip was something the whole family had been looking forward to all year. Not only were we going to see Rachel, but we were also going to spend Christmas and New Year in the ‘Big Apple’ – something we’d always dreamed of!
“Rachel had warned us that the weather was cold, so we’d packed all our woollies and thermals. Packed and ready to go, we headed to Dublin on December 19 to catch our seven-hour flight to JFK.
“However, things didn’t quite go to plan on the plane as we had a couple of hairy incidents. Someone took ill and required medical assistance including oxygen and CPR equipment, and there was another emergency following a choking incident at the front of the plane.
“The whole saga finally ended with an emergency landing in St John’s airport in Canada, which led to a three hour diversion and paramedics coming on board to take the sick person and their family off the plane. It was all a bit chaotic with air hostesses running around trying to keep passengers calm.
“We finally got to New York at 9pm on December 20th – all wrecked and in need of a shower and a good sleep.”
Staying with Rachel, the Pulman family spent the next few days enjoying their holiday, visiting all the usual sights, spending Christmas Day together and planning their New Year celebrations.
Paula continued: “After a good sleep and armed with cameras we began our tour of this great city, visiting Times Square, Broadway, Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, Empire state, Brooklyn Bridge, 9/11 etc etc - not to mention the odd wee shopping excursion which included a trip to Macy’s!
“We all got wrapped up as advised, however, found ourselves stripping off a layer or two as we were far too warm. On the first day, I even saw one man wearing shorts, t-shirt and flip flops. It’s surprising as it gets extremely cold, but the locals just seem to accept it. By the end, we were just wearing our ordinary clothes and a warm coat topped with hat, scarf and gloves.
“But then between Christmas and New Year, it started getting colder, around -8, and there were severe weather warnings telling people to stay in. One particular night, the warning said that eight inches of snow was expected to fall, and sure enough we woke to a picture perfect postcard scene of beautiful snow. It was lovely, blue skies and the sun shining, although bitter cold. It didn’t spoil our holiday at all, we just got wrapped up and saw it as a great experience.
“The towns were a bit chaotic though with people getting stuck in the snow and car wheels spinning around. I lost my footing a few times and ended up in snow up to my waist – it was a laugh. Our last day was the coldest though, seeing temperatures of -15 and that was unbearable.”
However, their holiday wasn’t all about the big freeze as the New Year’s Eve celebrations turn out to be even more memorable when Rachel’s boyfriend Gerard McFetridge –who is also a local from Ballycastle working temporarily in New York – popped the question.
“We half expected him to ask her while we were there, but when it didn’t happen on Christmas Day, we thought that was it,” Paula added.
“However on New Year’s Eve we went for a lovely meal in an Irish restaurant . Afterwards, we were all just soaking in the atmosphere whilst keeping an eye on the big countdown. Unknown to any of us (with the exception of Giles) the second the countdown had elapsed, out popped a little red box and we all went mad! It was fantastic, and we are all delighted!
“The journey back home was also a bit of a nightmare, as we got accosted on the subway by scammers wanting our airport bus ticket and our flight was delayed by five hours due to the weather and a faulty component on the plane.
“However, we were all on so much of a high following the engagement, no-one seemed to mind. We were all just planning our next trip to New York for Rachel and Gerard’s wedding!”
“Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out what type of handbag a Mother of the Bride can carry that will accommodate my wedding camera for the big day!”