I became a New Yorker on 9/11. Born and bred in the south, I had new roots after witnessing the most tragic event to impact a nation. Then I endured the Tri-State black-out and that qualified as a bonafide citizen of the city. I have always felt rooted here. I love NYC. I’ve explored every inch of the five boroughs and look forward to finding new parts to investigate. I also love the people of New York. They are the most interesting people in the world and they share a love for this amazing city. It may not be the easiest place to live but we all believe it’s worth the sacrifice. You get what you pay for – you get diversity, culture, great food, history, beautiful parks and museums, beaches with white sands. Living in or near NYC is an education and it is worth every sacrifice humanly possible. It’s the greatest city on earth in every sense of the word.
For all these reasons and more, the last few days have been devastating for my family. For one thing, we were fearful for our own lives. The two days leading up to the hurricane were terrifying. We stocked up on food and flashlights. We secured the trampoline, removed the garbage cans and Halloween decorations from the yard, cleared the gutters and made sure we were equipped. We expected the worst and as the storm moved in and our power went out, we geared up for it.
The night of the story, our power went out pretty early. As the winds picked up, we heard things banging around outside. I walked by the air conditioner upstairs and the winds were so strong that it felt like the air was on. My daughter, realizing she would have to sleep in the dark, became terrified and started crying. Our house is surrounded by trees and we wondered about the fate of our house, as well as our own.
When we woke up the morning of the hurricane, everything was calm. The storm had ended. Our house wasn’t flooded, it was still standing. We looked out the window and wondered about the rest of the world. Then we walked a few feet and found one of our neighbors’, one of my friends, homes hit hard by the storm. Not one tree, but two, had crashed into her bedroom and left a hole in her house. Stoically, she pronounced to me that she had been wanting new bedroom furniture and a rug and now her chance has come. I so admired her pride and optimism. That’s her house on the left.
But the truth is that it’s bad in NY . It’s really bad. Massive flooding, the downed trees everywhere, the burned houses that have fallen to the ground, the Jersey Shore that has been ripped apart, flooded cars and homes, the destruction of public parks, damaged hospitals, destruction on Staten Island, Crown Heights, Fire Island, all over NJ, Toms River. And shall we talk about NYC? The flooded subway system, power failures, tunnel, train and airport closures, evacuated residents, facades of buildings falling on the streets, flooded schools. It’s unbelievable.
I don’t have power. Millions of others don’t have power and everyone’s upset. They’re all talking about what the government could have done to fix our infrastructure to avoid this mess. Do I like being without power and having the kids home all week? NO. But I’m not blaming anyone for mother nature. Maybe I’m too nice but after seeing the devastation that’s taken place all over my beloved city, and after seeing my friend’s house, and hearing about a neighborhood that burned down just 20 miles away in Greenwich, Connecticut, I will not complain.
We’ve spent the last few days cooped up at home. My sister from Brooklyn came to stay and we’ve had candlelight dinners, long Scrabble games, games of Truth or Dare, cleverly made meals from all the food going off in the refrigerator and freezer, laughing at the equations of Sandy to the film “Grease”. We’ve been staying close to the radio and Facebook, following up on all our friends and family to make sure everyone’s alright.
Halloween was canceled in our town, and you know what, none of us cared. There are trees, branches, wires all over our streets. It’s not safe for kids to walk around in the dark. Plus, this isn’t a time to celebrate while so many others are living in fear and going through such hard times. That’s why I can’t blog or talk about much else this week.
Tomorrow stay tuned to find out how you can help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, whether you live nearby or not.
Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below.