Last Wednesday as we were pushing back from the gate in Newark, New Jersey we noticed some dark clouds to the northwest of the airport. Within minutes it started to rain which turned into a downpour. All departures were stopped and instead of being told to taxi to the runway for takeoff we were sent to wait it out in the "Penalty Box." The first time I heard that term I thought it was a joke but it is actually published on the airport diagram. We parked next to another airplane, a 777 probably head to Mumbai or Hong Kong. We shut down the engines saving our fuel and the captain (Charles) made a passenger announcement explaining our delay. It poured and Charles and I joked at how we hadn't seen a downpour like this in ages since we've been suffering through Texas' worst drought in decades and since we both live in Houston. The "Penalty Box" was covered in about an inch of water that slowly drained away. Soon we saw a bright clear sky to the west and the rain stopped. This was followed by a rainbow over Manhattan to our east. I cynically joked to Charles how the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was where it always is: in Wall Street with all the bankers and corporate big wigs.
Upon closer inspection it looked like it ended right at the Empire State Building. Okay, so it didn't end in Wall Street but on Broadway--close enough.
The view was quite spectacular with the dark clouds behind the rainbow and the 777 next to us well lit by the sinking sun to the west. I opened up the right side cockpit window to get a clearer shot with my camera. We noticed how the temperature dropped from about 90 degrees to around 75 with the downpour. Eventually the airport reopened for takeoff and we were told that we were about number 30 for takeoff and they would call us for taxi in a few more minutes. I got a few pictures of the 777 and other airplanes taxiing by with an occasional airplane taking off from runway 4L.
Though we didn't notice it at the time some of the photos show a very faint second rainbow to the north of the brighter primary one. Finally we taxied out and took off about an hour and a half late. About 10 minutes after takeoff I took another photo of the sunset while flying southwest over New Jersey.
We flew fast and arrived into Houston only an hour late. Watching that rainbow was a great way to spend an unwanted weather delay in the New York area.