I am back online, for a timely post:
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, NYC civil servants have been regularly issuing updates, while “Authorities” and other service providers are attempting to get back online in whatever ways they can. It has been made clear that we, in Brooklyn, are lucky when we hear of the severity of damage sustained by NJ, particularly the water-front areas, and in Queens as we mourn the incredible loss at Breezy Point, (one hundred homes burned down while flooded, which compounded the issue for fire fighters). Thankfully the death toll has been shockingly low across the NE.
Thousands of people have been displaced (some even moved from one temporary location to another) or (at best) rendered immobile due to outages of services and access to basic resources. Also some of our most prized cultural objects in Manhattan were flooded out in Chelsea, and there also, we will begin to assess what our next steps may be to rebuild and restore.
Incase you haven’t been watching or listening to the news – some of the biggest highlights in the last couple days have been:
The “storm surge” of waves from the ocean flooded into tunnels (an unprecedented incident with record-breaking tide hight in some zones, nearly 14 feet). Electricity has blown out below 34th street in Manhattan, and scattered locations throughout the city. Almost everything is consequently on a cash-basis, so you’d need to go uptown to receive cash from an ATM.
Residents who were not evacuated from Lower Manhattan neighborhoods have either hunkered down – making due, but some have been unaware of the existing power uptown and word-of-mouth is becoming key. Generators have been set up in various locations to offer cell phone power, and small organizations, such as the Hester Street Settlement, are supplementing the work of the Red Cross and city officials by checking on neighbors and offering food to those in need.
Cell phone towers were doing fine until their battery power/generators began to run out, so we are waiting to see what can be done by those companies (some sending workers from branches across the country) to fix the current issues and see how we can improve for inevitable weather challenges in our future.
As pieces of information and infrastructure begin to come back together, many have begun to anticipate a boost in spirits from the ING NY Marathon, which is still scheduled to occur this Sunday, according to the mayor.
The percentage of runners who can still make it to the starting line (some who have flown in, and others who have been sitting on their couches in the dark all week) begin to stretch their limbs, adjust their diet, check for updates to the ING schedule, and note the easily forgotten daylight savings shift that is scheduled for the same morning. While many other North-Eastern residents are hanging on only by the hope of better things to come: Can the sheer force of human bodies displaying their individual and collective power give life to an otherwise crippled city? I believe it can, and I hope that it will.
PSA: Here is the updated Subway map if you need to travel within the city, but note that no power to the gray areas means that there are no stop lights, or electronic power of any kind.