“The biggest threat to anyone in anyone lifetime.” I heard this statement on the news before Hurricane Sandy’s arrival. At the time, I was quite skeptical … As, I can think of a couple plausible bigger threats to someone in their lifetime, but the news has always been good for sensationalizing things with a flair of drama. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy did bring more devastation than expected and really was a monster of a storm.
I live in lower Manhattan not far from the Seaport, and technically in Zone A – Mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Sandy’s arrival. Having spent about a decade each in California, Florida, and Massachusetts, I’ve had my fair share of natural disasters. As I didn’t want to leave my beloved Ralegh all by himself, I opted against evacuating. My apartment is on the 18th floor so I don’t have to worry about floods, what’s the worse that can happen… Power outages and water shutoffs.
The emails started to arrive on Sunday that Con Ed may be turning off the electricity as a preventive measure to save their equipment but I coasted thru the daylight hours of Monday watching TV. If it wasn’t for the news, I wouldn’t of known that a monster hurricane was outside. Now, only if my windows did as good of a job blocking out the construction noises. With the evening’s arrival, I started to get more emails that Con Ed would be shutting off electricity from 14th Street and below. That’s pretty much all of downtown Manhattan.
Within the hour, I was in pitch darkness. Looking out the window, the City was the darkest I’ve ever seen it. From the lights of a nearby fire-truck, I saw the water’s arrival … within minutes high tide turned Pearl Street into a river.
Living by candlelight may be romantic but not really functional. With no electricity, water, or gas by Wednesday I was starting to go a little bonkers. I decided to use what was left as a battery on my iPhone to venture down 18 flights to the real world. Maybe meet up with some friends for lunch and then head to Williamsburg for a little Halloween celebration. I was in for a surprise! Instead, I discovered that pretty much half of the City was without electricity (from 39th Street and below) and that I should probably evacuate, as things didn’t seem to be getting back to normal anytime soon. Up 18 flights of stairs I went to pick up Ralegh. And discovered that I really need to get back in shape 😉
My amazing doorman, Rocky, dropped me off in Westchester where I spent the following two days. Then the electricity went out in Westchester. With rumblings of power coming back to the Financial District, I decided to head back to City. While in Hell’s Kitchen, I got an email that a mandatory evacuation for my building was necessary. Great! Right when I thought things might be getting back to normal. The following day, I headed up to the Upper East Side for my third home in four days.
On Saturday, almost a week later, the financial district still looked like a war zone. Electricity was pretty sparse; very few business were up and running. The streets were wet and slick with oil marks, and a stench of fish and a mixture of gas, oil, and electricity permeated the streets. Frankenstorm really was the perfect name for Hurricane Sandy!
Salt water causes much more damage than rainwater. My buildings basement and part of the lobby were flooded when high tide arrived. The whole electrical system, conveniently located in the basement, has to be fixed (among a few other things). Until further notice, the building is considered uninhabitable. With this information, Ralegh and I decided to head down to Florida and change our refugee status to vacation.
A week later, Ralegh and I are still in Florida and hoping to return to NYC next week. I’m lucky that I didn’t suffer any devastation and just inconveniences. The gas tank of the building next door blew up during the storm and those tenants will be displaced for a few months, not to mention everyone outside of the City in NY, NJ, and CT. I’m very fortunate and grateful for my friends and family who took us in during our homelessness. THANK YOU!!!