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The Time a Hurricane Hit New York City

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Photo taken from my bedroom the evening of Tuesday, October 30th.

Well, hello there.

This week has been crazy for much of the Eastern seaboard, and I myself only got power Friday evening. As a resident of lower Manhattan, this week hasn’t been kind, but it’s been much better than those who reside in Staten Island, or Breezy Point, or pretty much all of New Jersey. I consider myself lucky to only be lacking heat and hot water, though it has gotten pretty chilly in my apartment. I went out and bought an electric blanket yesterday to keep myself warm, and promptly managed to overheat myself so badly that it felt like I had a fever. I will be lowering the setting tonight.

My office has been closed all this week, and I left lower Manhattan on Wednesday to stay with some relatives uptown on the Upper East Side. They thankfully had all the modern amenities I had taken for granted for so long, and that first hot shower was pure bliss. I came back downtown on Saturday, and threw away the contents of my fridge and freezer, and am now sitting pretty. However, even across the street from me, there are those who lack power. Management in Stuyvesant Town has set up heating centers for those stuck in the cold, but considering that many of the elevators are not operational, the elderly often can’t get downstairs (or back up) to warm up. Paramedics visited my building yesterday, and hiked all the way to the seventh floor before carrying someone back down to a waiting stretcher.

For much of this week, downtown Manhattan was downright surreal, which The Daily Show addressed (“See, there’s two types of folks still down here in no-juice town. People with machetes, and dead people without machetes.”).

While downtown seemed full of desperation, uptown was having business as usual. In a restaurant Tuesday night just beyond the line between the haves and the have-nots, it was clear at a glance who had ventured from downtown, and who was local. Uptowners had their makeup done in nice clothing, while the downtowners wandered in, dirty, exhausted, and laden with backpacks and grocery bags. I lined up to use a pay phone on Tuesday to call my parents, and realized I had forgotten how to use one. Did I put in quarters before or after dialing? Nobody behind me in line could remember either.

Car trapped under a piece of the East-side pier, 20th Street at the 20th Street Loop, Stuyvesant Town, Manhattan, Tuesday, October 30th.

There are countless acts of kindness documented online, as well as many instances of unscrupulous people trying to take advantage of those who may have lost everything. Many of my coworkers have suffered terribly with flooded homes, destroyed cars, and sick children in a disaster area that lacked an open hospital. Things are still dire in many parts of New York and New Jersey, though massive amounts of volunteers have been dispatched to the hardest-hit regions.

For some, life will never return to the way it once was, but I hope for a speedy recovery to whatever the new normal becomes.

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