Hurricane Sandy: Day 2 – Over But Not Really – We got Hit!

Boy, what a night and day we had! While I was snuggled up in my Brooklyn apartment, all ready to fight the storm but essentially falling asleep over some old seasons of “Revenge,” the rest of New York was in the midst of a true battle.

Queens extinguished fires all night long and saw houses get washed onto the tracks. Staten Island also had some extensive burning and flooding going on. Lower Manhattan lost power at some point in time during the evening, starting at 7 PM. The first blocks to be affected were the Lower East Side and Financial District, city parts which are close to the water. Now it has jumped over to all households and buildings below 40th Street (or, better to visualize, anything south of Times Square). The Bronx had some destructive winds rage up there in the North. And New Jersey, poor New Jersey is completely screwed over with its extensive flooding and curfew zones. While Hoboken lies right on the water, it was not the only town to be evacuated. Jersey City is also still fighting its rivers of overflowing water in the downtown area. All the smaller places close to the water are basically destroyed. The same is going on with Long Island, which looks similar to New Jersey picture-wise. Power is out in 90 percent of the households. Flooded apartments and houses. Within one night people have lost all of their hard-earned savings, belongings, and memories. It is very sad to see such heartbreaking news on TV.

For once I am truly glad that I live where I live. I am happy that I am not anywhere close to Manhattan and what is going on over there right now. All those celebrities who paid millions of dollars to live in the Meatpacking District and around Gramercy must be really frustrated with the lack of electricity they are experiencing together with the average struggling citizen of New York. Well, as rumor has it, the power is supposed to be out for another 4 days. ConEd is having a hard time catching up. Some parts will even be shut down for another week. How people will manage to survive through the dark – I have no idea.

Today I walked through Park Slope and met up with a friend from Crown Heights. Many more people were out on the roads, picking up their little remnants of the storm (I forgot it was a tradition to collect fallen twigs from the ground after a hurricane). We went past over-crowded bars. Businesses were opening up slowly. Brunch in our favorite but packed Irish pub in Fort Greene. Just another frustrating day after Sandy. Everyone was happy to be around people again. Cabin Fever, is what you call it. Staying inside and being bored for too long. It was refreshing to walk back to Prospect Park and look at the fallen trees throughout the Slope. One giant hit the ground and took a few cars with it … Ouch!

While the MTA had been up and running only one day after Irene hit, this year it will take at least another 3 to 4 days to get started, as Bloomberg announced in the morning news. Because of flooded tunnels and power being out in the entire subway system. I wonder what happened to the rats… As of now, we don’t have any further updates on this matter.

In case you didn’t know or forgot: The MTA is the thriving force that holds this city together. If not subways and trains are functioning, people are stuck. They cannot go anywhere or leave to anywhere. The busses have already started limited service this afternoon and are scheduled to pick up within the next few days. However, a subway ride that would have taken me 16 minutes from here to my work will now take me 1 and a half hours on two different busses which have yet to start service yet. All of this is a huge mess! Or as my friend puts it: “This is crazy!”
She is stuck without electricity in Westchester, a county above New York City. While they managed to get out of Jersey City in time, they have no power and no connection to the outside world (well, except for an occasional update via text message). Unfortunately, even if she manages to swim through the still closed and flooded Holland tunnel, the PATH will not run for another 7 to 10 days! That’s over a week without any public transportation means. This city relies on it so bad!

I have already started to feel some de-motivation when talking to friends and my roommates. No one I know has a car. No one here needs one (except for now, I suppose). So if the only means of transport is not running, what else is left to do? Work has required me to come in tomorrow. They will reimburse us for the cabs we will have to take. Of course the Empire State Building is possibly the only spot below 40th Street that has power. But my friends have also been asked to come in. Some won’t be reimbursed for the cabs they take so they are thinking about bussing it (2 hours back and forth equals 4 hours of wasted time a day). It’s basically a huge disaster but I guess it could be worse. Let’s hope it will be running this weekend again.

Oh, and airports? JFK is scheduled to open up tomorrow again. La Guardia and Newark will be closed but maybe this will change again soon. Things change so quickly the day after the hurricane.

This is possibly the worst New York has been hit. But its spirit is what makes this city out: Dwell on it for a minute and then move on. There is work to do!