A personal look at New York City, yesterday and today

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day Two And More After Sandy

On Tuesday my wife who is a building manager, had to look at some of the buildings that she and her company manage nearby and close to the river.

At that point in time, second day after the storm, these dwellings became an ad hoc office and meeting place for some of the managers. 

The area had two advantages, better than spotty cell phone reception and the ability charge phones in the cars. 

These buildings were flooded during the surge and the water not only came in from the Hudson River but also welled up through the drains. The basements had to be pumped out. 

In this building there were two basement garage attendants. Both of them noticed the water was coming in and one of them decided that he would patiently wait until the water subsided. The other attendant saw how quickly the water was filling the garage and he made for the stairs. After he went up 10 or more steps the attendant turned around and saw his friend standing on a car roof just above the rising water. This all happened in less than 20 seconds.  Needless to say the garage filled to the ceiling and the attendant that stayed behind drowned. 

On Wednesday:

An uptown electrified friend offered  hot showers, wifi to check our email and place to charge our devices. Our nephew, who lives three blocks away from this friend, offered his Jeep so we could have transportation for the duration. The biggest obstacle to all this help was getting there since the subways weren't running. 

The journey began with us sharing a cab with the woman who was working in a nearby restaurant. We move fairly quickly  from downtown below Canal to 30th St.
But when we got to 33rd St. encountered gridlock likes of which we've never seen. 

So at 36th Street we left the cab and carrying laptop with some wine and other stuff  walked the crowded streets for over a mile. 

At times the gridlock was bad that some cars took to pushing their way on to the sidewalk. 

At the end of that night we were clean, charged, well fed and had a handle on our burdgeoning emails.

Day Four Views 

On Thursday I walked down to the Battery Tunnel and back again. In that time I saw the news being created at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, somehow renamed while I wasn't paying attention to The Hugh Carey Tunnel.

Politicians out in full force. New York's Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Congressman Jerrold Nadler and someone who I don't recognize all had a comment about the progress of cleaning up the effects of storm Sandy. 

The smaller Battery Park Tunnel was still very flooded on this day. 

It looked like it was going to be awhile before things returned to normal.

No matter where you walked downtown pumps were in place doing their job.

Last Day

The only area that had electricity was Battery Park City and some of the area north of BPC. By chance we found an electrical and wifi oasis where the new tribe of digital nomads was gathering. Here the Conrad hotel opened a spare room where they installed extension cords and allowed people to join their wifi network. It makes one very aware how dependent we have become on digital communications and  informational technology.

This is our last night without power. We sat and played Boggle by candlelight. For a short while I was upset that some people in Manhattan got their power back hours before us.

Soon afterward it became apparent that our travails were insignificant compared the hardships and loss suffered at the New York and New Jersey Shores and on Staten Island. We had gotten by, others are still coping with an unprecedented disaster. This holiday season give a little something to the Red Cross and agencies to help our neighbors. 

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