Here I am!

While Hurricane Sandy gave us all a bit of a scare, I’ve been really fortunate to live in a pocket of town that didn’t lose either power or water. Despite my apartment being right on the river, we even felt safe spending  the night in my room instead of moving to our windowless living room (where I camped out for Hurricane Irene).


See, mom? I was safe and sound the whole time!

It was crazy to watch the scene across the river in New Jersey though: transformer explosions all up and down the coast, sirens constantly headed back and forth, and at one point, a power outage that turned the whole opposite side black and made us wonder if we had temporarily gone blind. We hoped everything was okay for our across-the-river neighbors!

But even here in New York City, most people were not nearly as lucky as we were. Pretty much everyone south of 34th Street lost power (and, consequently, water) in their apartments. Those in lower Manhattan also experienced severe flooding that’s destroyed a lot of basement/first floor businesses and homes. The South Ferry subway station, which I used to take every day when I worked in the Financial District, is flooded from floor to ceiling – all the way to the top of the steps you take to descend into the subway! While complete estimates haven’t yet been announced, disaster studies indicate that it might be close to a month before full subway service is restored.

I’ve been working from home all week, since I obviously wasn’t able to fly to Dallas on either Monday or Tuesday. While I’m lucky to have both power and internet so I can do that, though, many NYC residents aren’t so lucky. For example, BF’s company has their servers in a building that lost power, so he isn’t even able to log into his email. Still other companies aren’t set up for telecommuting (though in this day and age, I’m not sure why), which means that a lot of work isn’t getting done as long as people aren’t able to get to the office.

People in other cities may forget that NYC is a place where only the superrich have cars; the rest of us are completely reliant on public transportation (and perhaps a few taxi splurges) to get where we want to go. Otherwise, your two feet are the only way around – which just doesn’t work so well if you have even a moderate 10 mile roundtrip to and from work. The fact that very little work is getting done only takes a further toll on the city’s economics – not only do we need to spend tons of money to clean up and help those in need, but we’re not bringing any money in. It’s not a good situation.

Before the storm, I heard from so many people that they weren’t bothering to store water, buy batteries, or get out their flashlights for Sandy, since Irene didn’t cause any damage when we got those warnings last year. After Sandy, I’ve heard many people looking at the damage as a week off from work and an extended staycation – and I think we all need to remember that this storm had serious consequences. Yes, it is nice that I’m getting to work from home instead of traveling, and I won’t deny that I am loving all the home cooked meals instead of having to eat at restaurants! But this storm was pretty serious stuff, and I wish people would stop calling it a “letdown”. Some people did die and billions of dollars of damage was done; that’s not something to take lightly. I am thankful that everyone I know was able to escape relatively unscathed, and that we can even think about things like going to brunch and hitting the gym. But I also hope that we can take a moment to help others who suffered losses, and that we also don’t take it so likely that we don’t prepare for the inevitable next storm. It seems like these superstorms are becoming an annual event instead of a complete rarity.

And as for this Sunday’s NYC Marathon? While I am happy for my many friends who have trained for so long that their race will go on, I am also disappointed in the city/NYRR’s decision to move forward with the race. I guess I trust that they took everything into account, but it seems to me that we ought to be focusing right now on cleaning up the city. I can’t believe that they are calling for volunteers to build the traditional “tent city” at the start in Staten Island, when just a few miles away lies a whole community of people whose homes have burned down. I don’t understand why we are asking the already-exhausted NYPD and NYFD to block off and staff the course, when they are already all-hands-on-deck trying to clean up the aftermath of Sandy. And while of course the NYCM generates a lot of revenue for the city, I think we ought to be paying attention to how we can get Wall Street and all our businesses up and running, since I would guess they generate more money on a daily basis than the marathon. If the race does indeed go on, I will of course be out there cheering for everyone who is running, but I hope that we are not putting our “New Yorkers are so strong!” pride ahead of what our city actually needs right now.

Hope you all are safe and sound too!

Comments

  1. I am having some of the same feelings as you about the marathon – obviously I want to run it because I trained and worked so hard to get to this point but I honestly would totally understand if it wasn’t possible because of everything that has happened. Personally, I am having mini panic attacks already, not about running the race, but the logistics of getting to the expo, start, etc with everything the way it is. I think no matter what NYRR does there are going to people upset at their decision.

  2. I can’t believe people around you called the storm a “letdown.” DO THEY NOT WATCH THE NEWS?!?! I would defriend them immediately.

  3. Glad you are safe and sound my fit friend :-)

  4. Glad you are okay!

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