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The hurricane

2012 November 1
by Richard Harrington

This post will be somewhat OT from learning programming.

Hurricane Sandy came through a couple days ago. It had the name of my mother and it hit on my father’s birthday. My family has never otherwise been cursed, though.

I got to my apartment in the East Village of Manhattan (below 14th Street) before the subways shut down preemptively at 7 pm on Sunday, and my girlfriend and I stayed there for three nights. On Monday night the power went out (we actually heard the explosion at the Con Ed plant on 14th Street and the river, which caused the power outage). 

By Tuesday, the worst of the actual weather was over. The amount of rainfall itself was never really anything — it was just very windy all night on Monday. Then we went over to the East River Tuesday morning, and we saw what the real problem had been: the water line (left by leaves and debris) on the cars and buildings during high tide had been about two or three feet high as far inland as Avenue D, which is a few hundred yards from the river.

Everywhere on the island below 38th on the east side and 34th on the west had no power (and still doesn’t). A friend texted us before our cellphone batteries ran out, and we walked up to his apartment on East 54th Street to charge our devices, then headed back down for the night, where it was really quiet and peaceful. We stopped at a couple bars and restaurants on our way home that had candles out and were selling beer, but later in the apartment it started to be a little creepy. There were no lights on in any of the apartments across the street, even candles.

Yesterday morning (Wednesday) my girlfriend went to work, and I threw away all my food, packed my stuff into a suitcase, and made my way uptown to her apartment to join her there after work. There was total gridlock all the way. I took buses for a while but then walked because it was faster. I’m now here at her apartment in Inwood (northern tip of Manhattan), where it’s warm, and there’s power, and it’s like nothing ever happened. I feel survivor’s guilt for getting out of my neighborhood when so many others don’t have people they can stay with elsewhere (not to mention all the people stuck in the REALLY hard-hit places like Staten Island, Long Island, the Rockaways, and the Jersey Shore), but then I realized that it’s good for me to be gone from there if I can. If the power doesn’t come back soon, things will get desperate down there, and I’d just be a drain on resources.

On that note, stay safe, everyone.

Richard

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