Again?! Hurricane Sandy Threatening to Destroy the Big Apple!

Once again New York is fighting one of its annual hurricanes bursting through the Tri-State-Area… Hold up! And I thought after living in Florida I would have been in the state the most threats when it came to hurricanes, floods, alligator bites…?! While when I was there, I had not witnessed even the tiniest storm in the sunshine state, New York is offering its second (!) hurricane sweeping past the city within just one year! Yes, one year!

I have no clue as to why all of a sudden I am preparing for a natural catastrophe on an annual basis. But sure enough, after the devastating Irene of last year’s August heat (read more here), we are now on the run to fight hurricane Sandy (whoever comes up with these names, I like Sandy a lot better than Irene). While Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit the City in 2011, Sandy is predicted to have gained in strength comparable to two storms. And on top of this it is rumored to have a diameter of 1040 miles, meaning it will reach far into the countryside. Once it is close to the Canadian border, experts believe it will mingle with the colder atmosphere to create a vicious mix of snow, ice, and wind…

Now if this does not sound like bad news, I don’t know what will. The fact that the news spread right when the weekend started certainly did not help in terms of New Yorkers believing in taking extra precaution. While a few coworkers had fantasized about an extra day off on Monday, we were all too absorbed in our daily routine to really think about what to do if it really were to happen.

But then it became more and more apparent in the news on Friday and Saturday that indeed New York is not likely to dodge this bullet. “I am buying tape to plaster up my windows,” my phobic friend announced at a pre-Halloween party on Friday. Both my other friend and I looked at each other, rolling our eyes at her expression of anxiety. “This is the closest I have ever lived to the shoreline, I am not taking any chances,” my friend went on, nervously chewing her nails and probably thinking about all the other precautions she could be taking.

The insane line of hurricane-panicked people waiting outside of Trader Joes in Brooklyn…

Then, on Saturday, the roomie got me hooked on bunkering a few necessities, such as water and food. As I made my way to Trader Joes, I could hardly believe my eyes: A line reaching over half of a block was forming in front of the huge store in Brooklyn. “Wow, three days before the actual occurrence, not bad!” I thought while I annoyedly stood in line waiting for my turn. Luckily, it only took 5 minutes. Apparently Trader Joes just wanted to make sure that not too many people were swarming around their store, so they made the customers wait outside until the inner capacity was well-balanced. And even better, there was still plenty of food, liquids, and what-nots for me to shove into my basket before I went off to the bodega. 2 gallons of water should be more than enough, I thought yesterday. Now, after hearing the reports worsening, I am actually not too sure anymore.

We will see how things go. Plenty of rain is predicted. Flooding is one of the big hazards, as in last year. High winds could leave substantial damage. Which is why Bloomberg called it a day when he shut down the MTA at 7 PM (which happens to be right now). The last train has left the station and whenever the danger is over, New Yorkers will be able to commute safely again. Or such is the original idea.

And what cannot be amiss during a once twice in a lifetime hurricane? Absolutely right, a hurricane party, of course! Bars around the corner started drawing their first Sandy-related ads onto the black boards until they decided to put the sign back inside due to the strong winds outside. Nonetheless, I got to shoot this fine picture at Alchemy, advertising for Dark and Stormies and Hot Bloody Mary’s. Perhaps I will have to drop by at some point in time today or tomorrow…

Alchemy’s fabulous sign during the hurricane!

Because, after all, no one in New York will be working for at least one day. Hopefully two. A wishful three, if worse comes to worse. But let’s be happy with a labor-free Monday! Unless you work in the hotel industry… That indeed will mean busy 36-hour shifts, I dare say.

Until then, I will once again keep you updated on how this storm will coin my life in New York! Cheers to Sandy! And Irene! And all the other hurricanes that decide to drop by in the beginning of the week here in the Big Apple!

[To ready more about Hurricane Irene go to:
Stories during the hurricane: Day 1
Stories during the hurricane: Day 2 ]

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Other Natural Disasters

Hurricane Irene

This has been going on in the media all week long already and I think it deserves a post – before it’s over and everyone forgets about it. Two natural occurrences have followed each other within days, making me never forget this last week of August of 2011.

Last Tuesday at noon New York City experienced an earth quake. I was in my office on the fourth floor and I didn’t feel a thing but shortly after it had occurred my coworkers started to stream into the office, excitedly blabbing about how everything had shaken and how they had felt the shutter. I supposed the higher up you were, the more you felt the jitter. What was quite surprising to me was that almost every single one of my New York friends wildly posted tweets or updates of this “natural disaster” on their social networking sites (and mostly in such an irrational way I was afraid they had lost their head and mind in the shake). The earth quake was being said to have originated in first Ohio, than Virginia, and then a third, unidentified spot. Until it was clarified two days later that the quake had indeed come from Virginia, wild speculations of its origin were uttered throughout the entire City. I guess the people of Washington D.C. had felt it to a higher extent than we had, being four hours down south and closer to the source.

Following this first mood of nature, it is now being said that we are expecting a hurricane coming up the East Coast and hitting the Tri-State-Area by late Saturday or early Sunday. Not to forget, these are the major party nights here in the City and I am very upset I will be missing out on my last weekend of fun here before I am going overseas. But I guess sometimes you have to take sacrifices when it comes to your safety. The New Jersey and New York parts are divided into specific zones ranging from A to C and a “no zone.” I happen to be on the verge of a B zone and a no zone, so I don’t know what to make of this.
The areas right next to the water are the typical A zones, which means the people there will be the first ones asked to leave and look for alternative living solutions.

Despite the chaos and backwards organization, I find it quite exciting that I am able to witness this tragedy, because it is something that usually never occurs back at home. First it was the Blizzard of the Millenium in December that added to my adventurous list of nature’s quirks. Now it is a small shake of earth and even a full-blown hurricane heading up to New York. I wonder what else this year will have in storage for us…

Wish us luck that nothing too bad happens, but I seriously doubt we are in big danger. Major floods will be the main concern the city will have to fight. Bloomberg is straining to get his once great reputation as a risk manager and New York’s safeguard back and understandably he is being overly precautious during this weekend. Several hospitals and senior care homes have been evacuated in the early morning already. All bay areas have been declared mandatory evacuation. The subway, basically the only way to get around the island if you don’t have a car, will shut down tomorrow noon and will foreseeably not be running until Monday midday (as it takes several hours to shut the train system on and off). This being said, I already know what kind of chaos I will be witnessing when trying to make my way out to work on Monday and Tuesday.

Oh, and if you think those broadcasted images of empty shelves in a random New York supermarket are exaggerated, you’re wrong! I went to Target right after work and even though they had let us out earlier (4 PM this time) there was no water to be found anywhere! The Roomie texted me about a line in front of Trader Joe’s that stretched around two blocks just to get into the store, not even estimating what exactly you would be able to buy after the people were done and left remains of this massacre.
When I came home, my other roomie was seriously annoyed with all the exaggerated measures just because of a little bit of rain and a hurricane that would probably not even hit us. Well, the hurricane does exist but I also believe the City’s major problem will be the flooding afterwards. And the most current update is that her boyfriend bought bunches of water, bounty paper, four bottles of wine, two six packs of beer, a whole tub of candles (all of them so big I can wrap two hands around them!), flashlights, and other nice necessities to keep us warm and snug throughout the weekend. My, this will be an interesting time. The two roomies are planning on throwing a hurricane party, I guess I am the only other guest attending…
Another friend let me know that we are not the only one with this idea, as other people in different neighborhoods are also planning on parties, so-called “Bring-your-own-candles-”events.

Let’s hope this great New York spirit will get us through the next two and a half days with a laugh! Are there any hurricane stories you would like to share?