Sandy: the one name that elicits a far different response now than it did more than one year ago today.
You say the name Sandy and a slew of different images come to mind: half of Manhattan cast under darkness; downtown Manhattan being deluged by water—waters that flooded the Battery Tunnel, the South Ferry subway station, and the tunnel used by the R train (a tunnel so ravaged by the flood waters that it is in the midst of a 14-month rehabilitation project); Long Beach; the Jersey Shore; Governor Chris Christie; TV ads proclaiming that New Jersey was “Stronger Than the Storm”; the amusement park at Seaside Heights laying in ruins; families and business owners either overcome with the loss of everything they owned or bereft of emotion because they had lost so much they don’t even know where to begin; gas rations; looters; scams.
I never grew up having to deal with tornadoes and hurricanes. To me, they were always those types of things that happened far, far away from New York. In recent years, I suddenly had to know how to deal with tornadoes and hurricanes; Hurricane Irene left people panicking to reach shelter and to tape their windows (plywood wasn’t practical for some so they taped an “X” or an asterisk pattern in their windows with duct tape—some that STILL hasn’t been removed to this day). I remember going to sleep that night not even knowing if I was going to be alive the next morning—there were trees in front and in back of the house I lived in and I had no idea if any of them were to fall through my window suddenly overnight, when Irene was expected to do its worst damage. Thankfully, the worst we had to deal with was not having internet service for a couple days.
One would think that I was more capable of dealing with Sandy after accumulating “experience” dealing with Irene. Hah.
The day started with me at home as my employer told us to stay and work from home. The subways had already shut down, as did much of the city. We were left to just wait for Sandy’s arrival.
It took a while for Sandy to make landfall but she was making her presence known; shorelines were being pummeled by her waves and other coastline cities were already started to experience light flooding. It was only a matter of time before she got to New York.
I didn’t feel nervous about anything because I had lived through Irene and another tropical storm years ago. Once I heard about a man dying from a tree falling through his window I became a little nervous. I became more nervous when I heard about a building’s front facade completely falling off during the high winds. Now I had no idea if my house was going to withstand this hurricane.
If you’ve survived Category 5 hurricanes, you get yourself a cookie. It’s a little different here in New York when nothing is hurricane-proof.
I had no idea if I was going to make it. I remember sitting on the floor next to my bed because it was far away from windows. We never lost power but my neighbors did for a week.