Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Stormy Thoughts

The aftermath of this storm is miniscule for me and my day-to-day life.  But i am realizing little things that could be big things, and things that are definitely big things for others--very humbling things.   Sean came home today and told me how half of Manhattan, without power, is living one way and the other half is business as usual.  He said they're calling clients to talk about money owed and they're like, "yeah, a tree fell on my house..."  or "yeah the accountant's house is flooded."   People downtown are out on the hunt for water and electricity and people uptown are wondering why everyone isn't just back to work.  It's extremely bizarre, especially for this urban epicenter.

Click here to see a slideshow of totally crazy pictures.  It is so surreal to see so many places we visit under water.

Also, here's a video people took while biking around the city during the storm.

Also, click here to see a crazy pic of lower manhattan out of power.  Bananas!

Here are some facts:

The subways are an unprecedented mess.  For a time there were literally no trains into Manhattan from Brooklyn and other boroughs too, from what i can tell. And I'm not sure there were any trains running in Brooklyn at all.  Apparently there is/was a bus system at the Barklay Center (new basketball stadium) near our house that takes people into the city.  NO TRAINS.  I can't even wrap my brain around this.  So how many people live in the city? 8 million? Can i comprehend that, alone? No.  And how many people commute from Long Island, New Jersey, up north?  I don't even know. Probably additional millions.  So only cars and buses could get in and out of the city.  And if you take a car you have to have at least 3 people with you or you can't get in, simple as that. They turn you away.  Sean, who commutes to work in a car with a coworker who lives nearby, said that this has completely cleaned out the FDR which is the highway that runs along the outer edge of manhattan. He often has to wait in line in a cab to get on the bridge and this time it was empty.  Surreal.

So traffic that was already pretty awful, but a standard awful (so that you get used to it) is tripled. It took me an hour to drive 2 miles the other day.  Yeah, think of that.  And also think about what an idiot i am for not just walking. I know, i know.  It's cold out there, ok? Anyway,  so there's that.  There's also the evaporation of gas.  All i'm hearing/reading is no gas, no gas.  Cars are backed for miles at gas stations.  Either they ran out or they're without power.  This makes me nervous. I drive a lot, and of course I don't have to--nobody has to.  But it greatly changes things.

On NPR a few nights ago they interviewed a bunch of people who own shops in the city and had to shut them down because of flooding or power outages and one man had employees walk to his shop from the Bronx, about 15 miles, said the reporter, to help clean up.  The man said he dropped a marble table on his foot and broke his toe. He said there's nothing you can do for that so you wrap it up and keep going.  This is very different from my life.

Our upstairs neighbors have family staying with them who live in NJ and are out of power.

There are all these areas in the city that are flood zones and we were not in one of them.  But they are close and thousands of people continue to be without power and heat and running water and they have suffered extensive flood damage. Meanwhile it's getting down to the 30's at night. Bah. The storm itself wasn't that bad wind/rain-wise.  It was pretty scary but it wasn't like, torrential rains.  But the surge it caused from the ocean and rivers is unreal.  I can hardly comprehend the amount of water that gushed into the city and just filled every basement, parking garage with cars bobbing on top of each other, filling every nook and cranny.  Sean went down near Coney Island to help and was shocked at the destruction. Neighborhoods wiped out.  Water is such a mess. They helped at a local 100+ year-old catholic church whose basement was destroyed.  They took all these pews and beautiful old things directly to the dumpster. :(  

And not to mention the fires running rampant, burning entire communities. I can't comprehend it all. I can't. So i'll just leave it at that in this piddly statement.

There is nonstop relief effort going on around this town.  There have been carnivals at church to entertain kids and receive goods and donations (more specifically, there was a moon bounce(!!) Has there ever been a moon bounce at YOUR church?? At one point Julian and I had it to ourselves and we almost died from happiness.  He was absolutely terrified to go in the hole but when i realized it was empty I scooped him up and said, "Julian, you'll thank me for this one day" and threw him in and he quickly realized his good fortune.  There seem to be donation spots at every street corner.  We got to make some hot food for people in Red Hook who continue go without power and water.

View Larger Map

Every day there is an influx of emails or Facebook links to organizations and Initiatives and donations and supplies needed.

I wrote this next bit in an email to family and it continues to be my thoughts and feelings so I'll stick it here and you get to read how I write to my family and friends (hint: it is the same).

In short, the city, particularly Brooklyn is ALIVE with energy for the cause.  It's amazing to witness everyone instantly come together to help and support each other with such care and in so many ways. People giving rides, delivering supplies.  A friend in the 'hood offered to watch kids so people could help out on Saturday.  Another friend offered at least FIVE families to make them all dinner one night because that was something she could do. (and not something I could ever do--EVER. Five families, say what? And she delivered them on foot with her 3 kids in tow--WARRIOR.)   The city is this way anyway--people coming together--and i can only imagine what it was like post-9/11.  But it's one of the things that makes this city so beloved and gives it its magic.  

Another example: Today our favorite ice cream shop (and officially the #1 best ice cream in the entire city--it's true-- down the street is donating 100% of their sales toward storm relief. What fabulous neighbors. I love this so much. 

So that's what's going on over here. 

We're still in this, friends. When I read the list of things people need like diapers and coolers for insulin, it breaks my heart. And it feels so strange knowing how close these places are to me and how unaffected we personally were by the storm.  I'm humbled and am stirred up to be involved. If you'd like to help out, click here.


1 comment:

Joel said...

It's always astonishing to me to see the disasters that seem to occur in other parts of the country/world, and to think that I've never been remotely touched by one of them. But we all know we're due for an enormous earthquake here at any time. One of these days it will be our turn.