Still catching up, so this hurricane business is old news, but I wanted to get it down before I completely forget the experience.
Disclaimer: Let me say upfront, that I really didn’t have much Sandy-experience, so you may want to seek out blogs from folks who still don’t have power/water two weeks later. Just needed to give you that opportunity.
Winds really started kicking up mid-afternoon on Sunday, October 28. Then came the rain, the blowing sideways kind of rain. Then came the wind with the rain. Mostly I knew this from looking out of my windows, but as a resident of the top floor of my apartment building, I was aware of the windy whistling that comes through my kitchen and bath vents. But really, I was safe and warm. I had electricity and water. Plus, I still had cable/internet/wifi service.
The worst of it blew through between 8pm-10pm. A couple of times, my floor seemed to slide around a little bit, and I started wondering whether I should stay in my 5th floor apartment or see if the landlord would let me camp out in the lower basement. It also crossed my mind to worry about identified/unidentified flying objects coming through my windows. But, nah. I was comfortable in my chair, pretty confident that I was going to be OK. Foolhardy? Rational? Who knows? Bottom line, nothing destructive happened. I did finally lose cable/internet/wifi, but thank goodness for the DVD player and a handful of great Halloween movies. Yeah, I was fine.
Tuesday morning, I ventured outside to assess damage in SpaHa. OK, well, truthfully, I went out to do my laundry (fingers-crossed, the laundromat had power) before I was to head to UK/South Africa/ATL on Thursday. First good sign: our elevators were up and running (they’d been shut down during the worst of the storm). And yes, the laundromat was cookin’ full steam. Plus, its cable was working there, so I could watch the news and get updates on the storm. Useful information learned: all subways out of service. Doh!
Wednesday morning, headed for work. No subways, but buses were trying to take up the slack for the few million subway riders. Ugh. Took awhile to squeeze onto a bus - maybe the fifth one that passed took me on. I should have walked. I got on at 115th/2nd Avenue and headed to Midtown. One hour and 45 minutes later, we’d made it to 71st Street. Couldn’t stand it anymore, so I got off and walked to the office at 43rd in about 15 minutes. Forgot it was Halloween (my second most favorite holiday, btw).
As you can imagine, there weren’t many of us in the office. It was a slow day - mainly trying to touch base with all of our colleagues to make sure they were OK. I also had a lot of last-minute things to do before leaving the country the next day and was thankful for internet service. And, yeah, I’ll admit taking my lunch hour and going for a mani-pedi. I mean, necessities are necessities, hurricane or no hurricane.
The real nightmare set in when it was time to leave work around 5pm. I considered myself lucky when a bus opened its door for me. “Do you go up to 116th?” I asked. A weary bus driver looked and me and said, “If you don’t mind getting there by tomorrow morning.” (What your English teacher would call “foreshadowing.”) I hopped on and found a great seat - one of the singletons - and settled in for the ride uptown. OK, well, over an hour later, we’d made it three blocks. OK, now I get what the driver meant. Oy.
I was in no mood to walk 68 blocks in the dark on Halloween but figured that possibly cutting over to Madison and walking uptown a little, the traffic might thin out. When did I get to be such a dreamer? Um, no, though the traffic wasn’t as heavy as it was Third Avenue. Bus after bus after bus passed me, either too full to take on more riders, or all those B and Q buses that go who-knows-where (Hello? M buses, where were you that night?). So I kept walking.
Things started to thin out on Madison around 76th, so I stood at a bus-stop and hoped for the best. After about 30 minutes of those darn B/Q/X-town buses, finally, finally a good old uptown-heading M bus came my way. Had to stand for a while, but the traffic was no longer stop-and-go. Made it back home just after 8pm.
And those are the only hurricane horror stories I have. Very, very weak and boring in comparison to so many who lost so much. My neck of the woods got our subway service back on Thursday (at least as far down as Grand Central), and JFK was up and running by the time my flight left that night. No delays at all.
Now I’m tormented by extreme Hurricane Sandy guilt for a) not suffering much at all from its impact, and b) for ditching New York and heading to my conference in England, leaving it all behind. It was indeed the Frankenstorm predicted and will take some time for many folks to recover. All I can offer is to make donations for clean-up and future preparations.
And prayers. I can always offer prayers.