One of my favorite things about my apartment is that the building overlooks the East River. However on the evening of October 29 when Hurricane Sandy rolled in, that river got a little too close for comfort!
Sandy hit the hardest at lower Manhattan between 8 to 10 o’clock at night, and I was amazed at what I saw when I looked out the window. Wall Street was completely submerged in water; the river was literally flowing up the streets. I cracked the window open to see more, and beachy noises flooded my apartment: the sounds of rolling and crashing waves echoed all the way up from the mess below. I could see from my window that there was over 10 feet of water on the streets because the water completely covered storefronts.
Here’s what I have learned about hurricane survival:
1.) I was lucky I had listened to the warnings and stockpiled food and water. We were to told that the storm would hit lower Manhattan hard, but we didn’t really know exactly what to expect. I prepared by buying non-perishable foods, snacks, and water because I expected to lose power. This was an occasion that my candle obsession actually come in handy!
2.) I had a battery-powered radio. As the storm raged on I lost power, and could only depend on my trusty radio to keep me updated on what was going on.
3.) I had some games on hand. Over the next few days, my boyfriend and I ”roughed it” at my apartment, and passed some extra time at home with a game of Battleship.
4.) I needed to check out what was happening to my building. The following day, still with no power, I walked all the way down to my lobby to see what damage Sandy had left behind. My lobby was flooded and all of the furniture was broken from the water crashing it around. I was told that the basement had been fully submerged in water and the building was left without electricity, heat or water, as I already knew.
5.) It was important to get out of the apartment. My boyfriend and I walked miles uptown to find power to charge our phones, catch up on work, and shower at the gym. As we walked around at night, it was surreal to see our city in complete darkness. The city that never sleeps was sleeping! There was not one light on or store open until we reached 34th street. One of my most memorable moments was standing on 34th street with complete darkness to my left (downtown), and the bright lights of New York City to my right. Half the city seemed to just be turned off.
6.) You learn to know your neighbors. Witnessing this storm has taught me something about New Yorkers. I witnessed my neighbors in panic, angry, confused, and sad. But we have come together to help each other and show the love that we have for this city, as well as for each other. Seeing boxes set up on the streets for people to donate belongings, and the way we have spread the word about ways to donate money has been so nice to see.
Although it was hard to be without power, I felt a great pride in braving the storm. Unfortunately, because my building could not provide essential services, including heat or water, management forced us to evacuate, and I have not yet been allowed to return. Although it’s tough being temporarily forced out of my home, I know that I am truly lucky to have a place to return to. Many people have lost so much more, and my heart goes out to all those who are dealing with much bigger problems. I wish us all strength and I know we’ll overcome this disaster, as we have all the others!