Two Hurricanes two years in a row. Last year’s “Borricane” was just that. After the entire city braced itself for impending doom, Hurricane Irene did ended not in a bang, but a whimper.
I, at the time, was upstate New York with a bunch of Ma-Yi labbies. We were on retreat. We spent most of our time in the hot tub, laughing and drinking, and basically tempting fate. We thought we were in the clear as we hear news of Irene passing over NYC with very little damage. That’s when we lost power. Sitting in the hot tub. With a bunch of playwrights. We also lost water. And the storm came. So that night we sat in the dark. And waited. And waited. And when the roads finally opened what should’ve been an hour car ride back into the city took about eight hours.
So this year when I saw on the news that another Hurricane was coming and I, having just moved into mandatory evacuation zone A (Long Island City), I decided not to tempt fate again and decide to bunk up with a friend in my old neighborhood of Astoria.
Well, Hurricane Sandy was the complete opposite of Irene. Sandy was the harbinger of death, destroying the Jersey Shore, Coney Island, the shoreline of Staten Island and Far Rockaway. She flooded the entire subway system, picked up cars and taxis and washed them down the streets of Manhattan. She used all the tunnels as garden hoses, flooding out the outer boroughs. In short, she was one angry bitch.
Several days after Hurricane Sandy blew through the eastern seaboard, things are still quite messy here. Most of Manhattan just got their power back. They cancelled the NYC marathon, super long lines of cars waiting for gas, and polling places are in danger of not being up and running for tues. There are people in Staten Island and Far Rockaway that have been hit really hard, in need of food, shelter, basic stuff. Of course the NJ shore has been completely devastated.
FEMA and the Red Cross are a huge presence here right now. Things are starting to slowly get back to normal however. They’ve restored power to most of the subway system except for lower Manhattan and stores are opening back up. But it really did feel like the apocalypse here and it will probably take many months just to get everything cleaned up and cleared away before people can start rebuilding. A lot of us were very lucky not to lose power or water or even displaced, but there are a lot of people in shelters who have lost all their worldly possessions as well as loved ones. On the bright side, many people are volunteering trying to get food and supplies to the needy, people and businesses who have power are dropping extension cords out their windows and letting people charge their phones. People in general seem to be helping other people out, which is really great to see. And even though this city has seen its fair share of disasters, natural and man made, there’s still no other place I’d rather be right now than NYC.