November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I want to start out by sending everyone on the East Coast positive thoughts during this tragic time. Shelby and I were also affected this week but not nearly as bad as in some areas. We live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and were very fortunate that we never lost power and our area only sustained minor wind damage. Downtown Manhattan was not as fortunate. Everything south of 34th Street is still without power and it's not expected to be restored until Sunday. Public transportation was completely shut down starting Sunday night and was partially reinstated today. Public transportation is the primary mode of travel for thousands of New Yorkers so for this to be shut down as well as all the bridges and tunnels closed for a time earlier this week we were literally stranded on an island. Stores are finally starting to re-open as business owners are able to make it into work. The city is slowly starting to get cleaned up and come back alive. It's almost like there are two cities in Manhattan right now: one to the north that is almost back to normal and one to the south that has no power, no public transportation access, and is basically a ghost town. Shelby and I have a friend staying with us that had to evacuate from her apartment downtown. Her building flooded and she's not allowed back until it can be inspected and cleaned. 
We found out we were going to take a hit from the storm on Saturday so we ran out to grab some supplies. We got a couple of gallons of water and some non-perishable food that didn't require power. On Sunday as the storm neared and the prognosis for NYC wasn't looking good we got nervous that we didn't have enough water in the event of a lengthy power outage so we ran out to find some more. The stores were wiped out. It was incredible. We did eventually find some water and we grabbed a little but more food. 

Since the power never did go out and the tap water in NYC was declared safe to drink we didn't actually need all this. Oh well...better to be safe than sorry!
Monday morning we started to see the first signs of the storm. It was very windy and was starting to drizzle. 
We decided to get out of the apartment before things got to bad and took a little walk around the neighborhood. We didn't know how long we might eventually be cooped up. We ended up walking over to the East River and the water had already overflown onto the FDR. The storm was still hundreds of miles away at this point so we started to fear the worst as far as potentially flooding. 

The worst of the storm hit us Monday night between 8 PM and 10 PM. Since it was obviously dark outside it was hard to see any damage on Monday night. Tuesday morning I looked out my window and could immediately see the fence that had been torn out of the concrete wall as well as the tree in the street. 

 As the day went on pictures of damage from around the city started to surface. The flooding at LGA airport, the front of a building completely missing, and the flooded subways were among the more shocking pictures I saw.

 Today Shelby and our friend that's been staying with us ventured downtown to the financial district to survey the damage. Trees were still down, workers were pumping water out of buildings, and many business looked like they were hit with an earthquake. Our favorite restaurant downtown, Cowgirl Seahorse, was filled with sand.

 As I mentioned so much of the city was/is without power and I've seen several pictures like the above. The sign reads "You can charge your phone if you want". While this natural disaster is such a tragedy it's so nice to see people coming together in this time of need and new yorkers helping new yorkers.

 The subway partially came back starting today. This map is a helpful illustration of which lines were running. As you can see nothing is accessible south of 42nd St and there are no trains from Brooklyn to Manhattan. They has shuttle buses running from Brooklyn to Manhattan today because of this and I heard that lines were 6 blocks long and the trip was taking up to 4 hours. Hopefully they can pump out these subways quickly and restore power so the whole train system can be up and running soon. I've never been more thankful that I work from home.

Hopefully by Monday most of the remaining issues in NYC will be resolved. I know that other areas of the East Coast particularly the Jersey Shore fared much worse than we did in NY and I hope all the people affected get the help they need as quickly as possible.

Until next time

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