07 November 2012

Silence after Sandy

The impact on my neighborhood and surrounding areas of Hurricane Sandy has been immense and a bit much to process. As the storm approached, our power was cut and we watched the water gush into the streets around our building, rising up to the chest in our lobby. We drank wine with our neighbors and gawked as cars stopped in the middle of streets and people crawled out of the windows and jumped into the water to escape. The next morning, reality set it....

The Seaport remained flooded with oil and water. Pieces of outdoor bars were blocks away from their original location. I spoke to owners, offered to lend a hand. Many said they would not be reopening. Others said they had set-up donation centers to assist with the cost of rebuilding.

Contents from bodegas, stores and bars were purged throughout the streets. A few transient men inspected the items and picked up bottles of liquor and took them with them.

Days passed and the heat, water and lights were not being restored. Our cell phones didn't work below 40th.

A grocer set-up a make-shift store of unspoiled, undamaged items outside of his dark and powerless store.

Our freezer began to melt after three days. I tried to prevent wasting all of our food by preparing a feast on the street to feed the doormen and neighbors.

During the day, I bundled up Pilgrim to keep him warm while I went to clean-up or find cell phone service to check in with family or friends. He's been a good sport about walking up and down the dark stairwells that were heavily scented with gas. I wedged towels under the door to keep the fumes from entering the apartment.

After five cold and dark nights, we headed uptown to stay with friends. We arranged various places to stay for the next few weeks with heat, gas and hot water, where credit cards could be used, ATMs accessed and heat wasn't a major selling point in a bar that managed to open.

The trains on the West side weren't operational yet, we decided to walk cross town and cheer on the marathon runners that decided to do laps around Central Park, despite the cancellation.

A few pockets of businesses in our neighborhood began to get electricity. Pilgrim joined me for a manicure in a warm space.

Each restaurant that opens has a limited Sandy Menu. Blue Smoke featured our favorite Kansas City ribs. A very welcome treat!

 The bad news from our building keeps coming, but we're sending positive vibes. Looking for alternate homes. I heard from FEMA today. We were approved for hotel assistance. I'm grateful for this gift and I hope we will not need to utilize it.

Generators have become the modern campfire in parts of Manhattan. Folks have been surrounding them and businesses uptown with sources to electricity.

Downtown, however, is a world of generators given the task of pumping oil and water from severely flooded basements.

A local grocer opens and waits for new stock. The soups and cereals are lightly scattered across the shelves. I picked up some beef jerky, dog food and treats.

And we're off to our next temporary home with friends! It's been an exhausting, constantly moving adventure and my heart is in knots over those who lost everything. I feel fortunate and am sending positive vibes.

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