Stories During the Hurricane: Day 1, Still Before

It’s Saturday, August 27th 2011, and New York is officially the City Without Subways. Bloomberg shut down the entire transit system at a punctual 12PM and, as cited in this article, the last train went out at 12:14 PM short. This means until Monday or later there will be no way from my house in Brooklyn to anywhere else, least say Manhattana, or back.

A busy 7th Avenue on the day of a hurricane

Since these warnings were made clear yesterday already, I didn’t even bother to hop on to stock up on extra food or make a trip to Manhattan. Instead, I wanted to get some last-minute laundry done and went to the one close-by in my neighborhood. Because the Roomies’ boyfriend had said that the YMCA one and a half block away was acting as a shelter, I thought it might be fun to take a few shots of what was going on in the hood. So, with my camera strapped around my neck, I wandered around, first asking the laundrOmat (yes, it’s called laundrO-mat here, not laundrY-mat, everything is different in New York) about its opening hours and getting one weird answer after another. After finally clarifying with the Latin lady that they would keep it open until 3PM for sure, I then quickly went up to 15th St and peeked into the YMCA. There was one pathetic school bus parked in front, maybe the typical evacuation bus these days, and as it turns out I only got to take this picture.

YMCA, the shelter!

Because as soon as I stepped in, some older ladies made sure to voice their opinion of how highly inappropriate a photograph would be and I got their subtle hint of not utilizing it at all. The so-called volunteers did not volunteer to give up much information pertaining the matter other than stating that this shelter was meant for the elderly evacuated from Coney Island and other risk areas. In my head, I could see the imaginary bubble pop in front of my eyes, as I had considered the idea of using it for our own benefit and jumping into it once our apartment was set under water. O well, we are in safe heaven now anyways, lucky us.

After this episode I sprinted back home, grabbed the laundry and went to the same location, again. This time an old, bitter Latin woman yelled at me for trying to wash my laundry as they were closing down soon. I guess she didn’t recognize me from when I had walked in 10 mins ago. Stubbornly and fighting for my right to be here I finally managed to convince both Latinas that I would indeed have all of my clothes done within one-and-a-half hours and that I really had asked them about this not too long ago. They let me stay, even though I got the evil eye once or twice. 5 mins later roomie no. 1 walks in with her boyfriend and is attacked by the same mean lady mentioned above. She tries to insult here back and then they walk away, both sorta looking at me in a confused way (why does she get to stay and not we?). Roomie no. 2 enters 5 mins after this, the mean lady is gone by now, and the other Latin woman clarifies that they will close at 2 PM (getting earlier and earlier with these folks). She then pops open her fancy iPhone and googles another location, being sent to 6th Ave by me and to 14th St by another laundry-washer.

6th Ave laundromat

Well, as it turns out we have a laundrOmat only two blocks away whose owners don’t give a blinking wink about hurricanes and other catastrophes but who do care about making their $2 a load until the last customer is out. That is where both went; maybe I should have done the same.
So, first day of rain, and I got my laundry done, what an accomplishment!

In the course of the afternoon, the Roomie stocked up on fruits and while doing this saw bunches of people populating the restaurants on 7th Ave. We were all pretty much bored out of our heads by then. The laundry was done. The house was clean. The bathtub was filled with a necessary amount of water (in case the toilet needed to be flushed during the outage). We had enough of sitting inside and thus shoved in 2 chill hours at the Steinhof.
The Steinhof used to be our bar of choice during those cooold, cuddly winter nights because it is only two blocks from our apartment. They also have a great happy hour deal going on every day of the week from 4 to 7 PM, including all draft beers, wine and some mixed drinks, which cost $3 only. Every day of the week surely includes Saturday and there were a few people sharing our thought when we walked in. Supposedly the bar plans on being open until the power goes out, so if you still want to jump into the fun, go ahead, they are not closing anytime soon.

Hurricane Specialty
Us having fun at the Steinhof and before the hurricane

The waitress recommended a hurricane drink (what these people come up with in such a short time), which is a cocktail based on three liquors and clouded up with orange juice to resemble Irene. Uhm, yeah, it was the strongest drink I had in a long time and I stuck to my draft beer after this. We sat inside, chatted away, made fun of the precautions, and watched the rain turn into a more and more worrisome drizzle within an hour or so. Then we parted, as one group wanted to go to 5th Ave and get some tacos and I went home, to save some files and write this down. As it turns out, though, the taco place was closed anyways, so I didn’t miss out on too much.

The rain has become more dense and intense as I am speaking. New York is trying to get everyone off the streets by 9PM the latest. And even though no one can really foresee the actual outcomes of this disaster, the news were advertising a power outage, even in areas not prone to flooding. To top this all, the latest I heard was an outage that might take three weeks to be fixed. Three weeks! I really hope this will not come true and I am hoping even more that flights will go out regularly on Thursday, my day of travel.

Probably this will be my latest update in a while (well, because of the power outage = internet cutage = whatever else you can think of), so chin chin! Keep on tuning in!

3 thoughts on “Stories During the Hurricane: Day 1, Still Before

  1. The main disaster from Irene so far is ultimate boredom – no transport, fitness club is closed, even church is out of order! We spent all day playing videogames and I’ve practiced guitar a lot. 🙂

    • Hah! You just wait for your power to go out and then we can talk about being BORED! 😉 Glad to hear from you through means of this blog (lousy means, I agree), which probably is a good sign that you have not yet been washed out of your apartment in Bay Ridge… Yay for this!

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