Hurricane Sandy: The Aftermath

Hurricane Sandy: The Aftermath

I’ve never seen New York like this. On Monday night, the police cars on my block were underwater. The aftermath is unreal. Leaves, bloated with storm water, clog the streets. People stand on corners, pointing the dying light of their iPhone at the sky, hoping for a signal. Mattresses have been tossed out onto the sidewalk, sodden & useless.

The power went out on Monday, not long after the sky flashed emerald green. The power plant exploded, its transformers sizzling up the sky with a cosmic death rattle. The East Village was hit hard. Looking out our window, you could see waves in the road — like we were on a boat.

The weirdest thing? In Manhattan, above 39th Street, it’s business as usual, but the lower part of the island is in a state of crisis. Basically every business below 39th Street, whether it’s a corner store, a supermarket or a restaurant, is closed. There is no food. The supermarket on my corner was completely destroyed by the floodwaters: even after two days of pumping, the basement is still filled to the ceiling with water. In the supermarket itself, all the shelves were knocked down & the food is lying in a mix of salt water & sewage.

There are 550,000 people without power in the city right now, which sucks for everyone, but for the elderly or people living in high-rise buildings, it is a disaster. Our stairwells are dark, & we are taking cold showers. Our cellphones are either dead (no power) or useless (all the cellphone towers in our area were knocked out).

Hurricane Sandy: The AftermathPhoto by kriskaye331.

Entire towns have been wiped out. Before the power died, I saw on Twitter that FDNY were coordinating rescues of people by row-boat. In Battery Park, cars flipped upside down, floated & then lodged themselves into little alleyways. There were rooftop rescues on Staten Island. Hundreds of houses burned to the ground in Queens.

Bill Cunningham, of course, is still out working! (I love that photo! He never takes a break.) Even so, we are not supposed to get power back for another three days.

My husband & I, thankfully, live on a piece of the street which is raised up just a little bit. Our building didn’t flood. So many people on our street were flooded — I can’t believe our building was untouched. We have a gas stove in our apartment, so Mike has been preparing me grilled cheese sandwiches & ravioli by candlelight. (Quite romantic, really.) Our friends picked us up a couple of hours ago & took us to Brooklyn: I’m working in their living room while Mike is out buying more food & supplies. We are so grateful.

Anyway, I just wanted to jump on & say that we’re fine. It’s not ideal, but we’re so much better off than so many people. The weirdest thing is keeping ourselves occupied. I’ve been writing in notebooks so as not to waste battery power. Yesterday, I cleaned out my closet, which was quite amazing. Other than that, I have been reading a lot & snuggling with the dogs.

In beauty news, I washed my hair in the sink this morning, & dried it under my hat. I’m thinking about doing a “hurricane glamour” piece where I recommend stockpiling dry shampoo, & also wearing wigs, & pointing out that my Clarisonic still works! (It sits in a charger, & holds juice well.) When everything else is going to ruin, it’s nice to have a clean face. But, then again, most of us have bigger problems.

You can read CNN’s ongoing coverage here, & see some astounding photographs here & here. Mostly, though, I hope everyone is okay. Please stay safe & help your neighbours & be good to one another.

Sending super-mammoth amounts of love to everyone,

P.S. Happy halloween!