Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy's visit to NYC

NYC is reeling from water and wind damage today...the day before Halloween. They have canceled the Halloween Day Parade for the first time ever in the 39 years its has been in existance, roads are still closed, many are still without power, and there is no subway service.

86th Street R Train station in Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy

On Sunday the Mayor began evacuations of Zone A, the subways were shut down at 7pm, buses were shut down at 9pm, and the mayor ordered everyone to get indoors and stay put. This wasn't a big concern to me, as any excuse to snuggle with the pets and read/relax is always welcomed. Plus, I'd already had my big costume party on Friday night and my Writers Group party on Saturday night (yes, pictures will go up soon).

However, I had a guest in town this weekend from Boston who got trapped here until today (Tuesday). My pal Matt was here to see a concert on Sunday night. When they announced train/bus shut-downs he planned to still get out there for the concert and take a car home (which I'm not so sure he would've been able to do, if I'm being honest). Thankfully (in my opinion, not his) the concert was cancelled (due to the venue being in Zone A of Brooklyn) and he got back to my place on the last train and we had a nice dinner at a place near my apartment before tucking ourselves in for the storm.

Long Island City under water from 5th Street onward Monday night.

I live on the Upper Upper West Side of Manhattan...which I lovingly refer to as Upstate Manhattan often. Inwood is its technical name and its not as fancy as living by the water and my building isn't as new as those down on Pearl Street or  have a view of the Statue of Liberty. It IS, however, sturdy, high up (Inwood area of Manhattan is the highest elevation on the island I think) in elevation making it Zone C, and the safest spot during a hurricane. From my window we got a lot of strong wind, a bit of rain, and that's it. One of the new trees planed across the street snapped in half (which wasnt surprising) and we have debris from the bigger trees. I've heard from my roommate taht the PARK sign by the parking garage came down but I've not gone out to inspect so that's all I know at the moment. If I don't work again tomorrow I plan to investigate the park.

Lower Manhattan without power during Hurricane Sandy

As you can see from the above photo, the lower half of Manhattan has no power. Some of that was a shut off by ConEdison prior to the storm...but some isn't. Transformers blew and power was lost from 39th Street and down in Manhattan, Long Island, the Rockaways, and places like Fire Island. Not to mention the entire coast of NJ.  I have friends without water (and thus heat) and power who have been taken in by friends or family, thank goodness.

That said, 8.2 million households on the east coast are without power right now, there's been 20 billion in property damage, and between 10-30 billion dollars in lost business. A huge fire in Queens destroyed 100 homes as flooding made it impossible for firemen to get to the blaze with hoses and wind was so harsh (80mph at points) the fire spread fast and consumed quickly. Thankfully only three were injured and no deaths from that incident were reported. However, there were deaths due to this storm. 17 victims were in New York State — 10 of them in New York City — along with five each in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Hoboken stop on the Path Train that connects NYC & NJ

This morning, watching Gov. Chris Christie speak, you could see he was just exhausted and devistated. As was Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo. The damage is extensive and the people of NJ and NY are broken hearted over the loss of lives, homes, property, and know there is a long road ahead to bring back power and transportation to both states. But with the help of the Red Cross, city workers, first responders, FEMA, and Obama declaring NYC/NJ in a state of emergency, we can start to work at fixing the damage. FEMA has money for us to rebuild...even money allocated for small business owners and home owners. This makes me feel a lot better.

Side Note: Mitt Romney is now back peddling what he said about removing FEMA. But you can't take back what you say...even though he makes a habit of it, we all know he was once again proven wrong. On top of that, on the week Chris Christie was supposed to be in swing states talking up Romney and trashing Obama, he is instead been on National TV praising Obama for his help and work with state officials for NJ.

Anyhoo...that said, we still have to dig out from the mess before we can rebuild. Some subways are flooded to the ceiling and need pumping...there are so many without power...and so many roads blocked by debris/trees/'s going to take a week or two to be up and running somewhat normally, and then we still have more to go. Jersey Shore is pretty much no more and Hoboken is under water, to name a few things.

But, there really is nothing more powerful than New Yorkers in a crisis. We all look out for each other here. I've had more New Yorkers checking in on me than people outside the state. The pride we all have for this city is immense and that ties us all together. We'll pick up the pieces and rebuild. But your prayers and donations to the Red Cross would be much appreciated.

That said...

I am so thankful to have barely been touched by the storm and that all of my friends are safe. The buses came back tonight at 5pm (no fee tonight or tomorrow) so we have minimal movement around the city and my pal Matt made it out of the city as well today. He couldn't leave via Port Authority (still closed) or Penn Station (all tickets sold out for the next three days), but he did rent a car (thank you Hertz) and is probably almost back to Boston by now. In I typed that, I got a text from him that said, "I made it home!" Yay!

I don't know if this photo is real or touched up...but it's a nice image...much like the one God gave Noah after the flood...a positive thought that says the storm is over and we will rebuild. And that's exactly what NY and NJ will do.



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