Sandy, New York City, Oct 2012

The view north from 33rd street, taken at 7:52pm on Monday October 29, 2012

I'm fine. Everyone I know is safe and sound. Some have power, some are without but all are safe.

And, I’m upset. We all are. It’s been a sad, devastating few days. When things like this happen, you enter another world. And it’s taxing, emotionally, to travel between the two.

I live in midtown Manhattan and I’m from midtown Manhattan. When the storm was brewing, my mom asked me to come stay with her in the apartment where I grew up. She's in Zone C of the flood zone. Where I currently live, about a half a mile north from her, we’re not in any flood zone. Zone C was not being evacuated and Mayor Mike said Zone B’ers need not worry nor leave. 

Monday night, we had power; we were hunky dory. Then, I noticed two buildings on First Avenue near the FDR drive were blacked out. I took a picture (see above) with my Asus Tablet and tweeted it to Con Edison (our electricity provider). They were quick to tweet back asking for specifics and details. (You can follow my Twitter feed here). I couldn't reach them via phone or the web and then suddenly, our lights went out. The whole area. The Met Life (Pan Am building to you native New Yorkers) and the Chrysler were still lit but we were plunged into darkness. And then I saw why: on the end of our street on First Avenue there were white caps of waves. Waves. Here's a shot from The Atlantic of the end of my street Monday night before the power was turned off and the surge was at his highest during high tide

photo credit: Michael Heiman/Getty Images
We lost power at approximately 8:30pm. It was probably preemptive, Con Edison had called earlier to tell us it might happen. And then it did. So we turned on our flashlights and a battery operated radio and we heard that NYU emergency room was closed. Soon after, we went to sleep. We were awakened by sounds of ambulances and emergency vehicles and the rest of the night listened to the long evacuation (thankfully!) of patients from NYU hospital across the street. You can read some of those stories on the New Yorker , New York Times, WNBC.

Tuesday morning the sun came out, the storm had passed and people were walking their dogs in the street, carefully avoiding downed trees on 33rd street. A neighbor posted on my personal Facebook page that my building had power. Mom and I walked down darkened stairs in her blacked out building. We drove the half mile north, carefully, as power was out and street lights downs or off. We were met by transit police guiding traffic and then by 40th streets the streetlights were back on, stores were open and people seemed like they were out walking on a nice Sunday afternoon. We landed at my apartment building and it was if the storm barely happened. (The city is divided, here’s a take by the New York Times article. Note: 39th street is the cut-off, not 25th street)

My apartment has power, cable, wifi, food and elevator service. And a mom who is still unsettled and wants to be back in her own apartment. I understand, I couldn’t get back to my apartment fast enough. 

I’ve opened my doors to friends and family to come by for a power fix or a cookie. And today I woke up and attended to some work tasks (article writing, speech creating and this blog post), but really my heart’s not in it. Not yet. I want my city whole again.

*NOVEMBER 2, 2012 UPDATE: A wonderful post about how to help from friend and colleague Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Fun.*



zebe912 said…
I have been thinking a lot about the people displaced by the storm who have food allergies & will get even more sick by eating the food that might be served en mass at the shelters. While any nutrition is better than no nutrition for most, there are definitely those who will end up with a medical disaster on top of the physical one if they don’t have access to safe foods. It really makes me wonder what they do and how it affects the choices they make during these times. Just trying to make sure I have enough GF snacks (which don't require heating or refrigeration) to take if I'm out there volunteering has become mind boggling enough. Do you have any thoughts on that?
I'm so glad that you and your mom are alright. I was thinking about you and keeping you in my prayers.

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