Ben and I count ourselves very very very fortunate to have gotten off so lightly from Hurricane Sandy. Ben was able to fly back late Wednesday night and I picked him up at JFK. He had no home to go back to. His condo building in Hoboken had been flooded and it was without power and running water. Before the storm, the building told everyone whose cars were parked on the lower level to evacuate their cars to emergency lots in the nearby Newport Mall. There was also an order to evacuate from the city if living in a basement or a first floor apartment.
Ben had gone through Hurricane Irene and figured that at worst, he would be delayed by a day and would stay with me for a night and then go back home. While in Miami he got updates from his building management and from friends about the conditions in Jersey City and Hoboken. Not only was the lower level of the garage flooded, but the water crept up to the upper level of the garage as well. The lobby was flooded. No power and water in the building. The surrounding streets were flooded and sewage was mixing in with the water outside. After a few days the National Guard had to come in and evacuate people out of Hoboken. I saw this image of the PATH station being flooded. Honestly, I thought it was so incredulous that I thought it was photoshopped. It was surreal seeing news coverage and photos of places around Hoboken and Jersey City completed flooded and ruined. Familiar places where Ben and I walked, ate, and ran now almost unrecognizable because they were covered in flood water or upended by destruction.
A few hours before Ben was to fly back to NY, he got a message from his building that everyone was to evacuate. His building has been without power or water for a week now. He can’t go to work because the building is in the financial district and it’s been flooded with sea water. Currently he’s working from home. Work was cancelled for the week for me. I used the time to catch up on a backlog of work.
We went into the city on Friday because we were getting a little antsy with cabin fever. We walked around Midtown and things seemed to back to normal. An extremely limited (and free) subway service was up and running. I was grateful to have the ability to go into the city because at that time, there were no trains between Brooklyn and Manhattan. I heard from friends how long and arduous the commute to work was on Wednesday.
The only inconvenience and nuisance I suffered was for gas. And for this, I’m not complaining, knowing full well just how much worse off so many other people are. Ben and I tried to get some gas on Saturday and Sunday, but several gas stations were out of gas and the ones that did had lines that were hours long. We actually woke up early on Sunday, packed a little snack and a blanket to keep warm in the car while waiting for gas. We thought we would be in line for a couple hours. When I drove to a gas station and the line stretched endlessly and disappeared off into the horizon (a sense of hopelessness came over Ben), we realized that the wait would be much longer. Plus there was the very real danger that I would run out of gas while waiting in line. We decided to go back home and I would simply take the train to work on Monday.
Video of the flooded Whitehall and South Ferry Station in downtown Manhattan released by the MTA.
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A little humor: SoPo’s Manhattan’s newest neighborhood.