Hurricane Sandy seemed to sneak up on us a bit. We heard about it only a few days before it hit New York but we honestly didn’t think it would affect us all that much. We certainly didn’t start to consider Claire and Jon who were staying with us would have their flight cancelled.
There was the mandatory evacuation of people living in Zone A, areas primarily on the river banks. That meant we had Clare and Andy staying with us on the Sunday night but again, everything seemed normal. We ordered pizza, drank beer and watched ‘The Day After Tomorrow’. We went out to see what the fuss was about.
On the Monday, I went into work but after news about bridges and tunnels being shut, the office emptied and being the only member of my team in the office, I grabbed a laptop and worked from home in the afternoon. Monday evening came and we ventured out for a drink. Businesses were shutting down but we knew we could depend on Irish pub, Peter McManus. The wind was picking up now and howling down the streets which, well, put the wind up us a bit. We grabbed some food and headed home.
About 8pm the electric went out and we saw some flashes of light at the window. We can’t be sure, but it seems that was the 13th street power station explosion.
We were well prepared, candles and matches placed strategically around the apartment and plenty of water stored. We perhaps didn’t take the food situation all that seriously, deciding to buy snacks instead of canned goods. We did have gas which meant we could cook and make tea. We also had water, albeit cold only and at low pressure.
In the morning, we went looking for power and Internet, walking 30 blocks before giving up on finding an open Internet cafe. Downtown was eerily quiet. That night we decided to make the most of what we had and cooked some pasta. We ate by candlelight, drank wine and huddled round an iPad to watch a movie.
The rest of the week, we managed to visit some friends, hotels and client offices to have showers and work as best as we could. We also got some good time in with Matt’s dogs.
It was only when we’ve been out mixing with colleges and getting back online did we see just how much the hurricane had affected fellow New Yorkers, the rest of the East Coast and the Caribbean.
My college Kris Hicks took some photos of the affects in the East Village including this
We didn’t see all that much damage in our neigbourhood, the odd free newspaper dispenser knocked over. The only really terrible thing we saw was a building facade had collapsed just a few blocks from our apartment.
In retrospect, we knew we had gotten away lightly, but we never felt in any real danger. Early on, we felt that the media were hyping the effects of the storm and causing our friends and family to worry and stress back in the UK unnecessarily. However, a few short miles away it was a different story. For us now, we’ve got our power and hot water back and we’re hoping New York will return to normal over the next few days.