Hurricane Sandy: Requiem

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On Saturday October 27th, I was gearing up for a normal weekend. I had a birthday coming up on that Sunday, along with a Nike Football Society flag football game. Halloween parties were the norm this weekend, and everyone looked forward to a weekend filled with costumes and debauchery. Embedded in the backs of all New Yorkers minds were the reports, delivered with the fervor of a gospel preacher, about the impending doom of some storm called Sandy.

A Hurricane was forming in the south, and was set to touch base on the east coast Monday night. Everyone in NYC was less than enthused about the prospect of another “Superstorm.” Fist of all, we got hit with Irene a year ago and were less than impressed about the omnimous puddles left in its wake. As new Yorkers, we own an immense amount of hubris when it comes to our resiliency. This is the city that survived bombings, 9/11, and blizzards. Some wind and rain wasn’t going to affect us at ALL!

Monday was a lock down day. All public transportation was shut down in anticipation of the hurricane. I didn’t complain since I got to work from home. I thought the storm would be another overreaction, and once the rains stopped, we would go back to a normal week. I couldn’t be more wrong. I sat in the house with my family that Monday night, and watched as the strongest winds I’ve EVER heard, blew through my neighborhood. Windows rattled and homes shook from their very foundation. The hubris and bravado which forms the core of every native New Yorker was slowly dissipating.

The chinks in our armor, the same weakness points which we revealed after the 9/11 attacks, reared their heads again. I saw the lights flicker on and off. I’ve lived in my Queens NY location for 14 years, and haven’t seen the lights go off (voluntarily) since we had that blackout in 04. We lost power, than regained power once more. The Yo-Yo feeling of being secure continued throughout the night. With social media being as prevalent and ubiquitous as ever, I was able to stay in contact with friends and family to assess the preliminary effects of this storm. As I spoke with my Twitter followers and Facebook friends, the lights flickered throughtout the house, and disappeared with the calmness of a still river. Sandy was real, and this storm just shut the city down.

I prepared flashlights and other tools for the fam to use in case the lights went out, and they came to good use. I lamented over my loss of Internet and nightly programming, when all of a sudden in the other room, I could’ve swore that I heard black women fighting and arguing about “keeping it real.” Did I perish and end up in a reality TV hell? Nope, but something worse happened. My house suffered a 50% loss in power, where the only TV’s that worked were the ones in which people were watching Bad Girls Club.

Seriously? You mean to tell me when the world ends, all that’ll be left is cochroaches and Draya/Evelyn/Chrissy and the rest of the reality TV super chicks?! SMH! Sidebar: This is a totally caribbean phenomenon, as more than a few folks I know suffered the same weird loss of power. Other’s weren’t as lucky as me. People lost full power (and continue to suffer from power loss). No heat, no electricity, and no real timetable for them to return. This was going to be a long night.

Tuesday, was when we had to deal with the aftermath of Sandy. NYC’s 108 year old subways flooded. Beach houses washed away. The Jersey Shore decimated. Lower Manhattan powerless. The NY Stock Exchange shut down for two days. Sh*t was all f*cked up! I decided to hop in my car and survey the neighborhood myself, and was shocked by what I saw. I haven’t seen that many downed trees ever. Century old trees, toppled in parks, onto houses, and blocking roads. NYC had to shut down passenger travel into the city (if you didn’t have 3 or more people in your car, you weren’t getting into Manhattan. The power loss also resulted in a gas shortage. People waited on 3 hour lines, on FOOT, to fill up gas containers so that they could be mobile. Hundreds of people waited to get on shuttle buses, to replace the limited functioning subways. NYC wasn’t built for that many cars to enter Manhattan, and we were gridlocked. We tried to get back into our normal schedule on Wednesday, Halloween, but the trick was on us. Many people couldn’t get to work, or were severely delayed.

There was a cancelled NBA game in Brooklyn and a Marathon that was going on as planned, until it was cancelled too. We decided to put our people and our coast over major events. Although i understood the business reason, the people spoke, and the Marathon was rescheduled.

This was the worst storm of my lifetime in NYC. To see my neighborhood and my city in shambles was surreal. This was no Katrina, but I get it a little better now. This was yet another battle between man and nature, where we have to acquiesce to mother nature and pick up the pieces after. What’s funny is that the Presidential Election now seemed like an after thought. We had bigger fish to fry.

The outpouring of support from the rest of the country was dope. The efforts of residents to help their fellow man was even more pleasing. We came together once again to help each other and hopefully emerge stronger than ever. We bend, but we don’t break! To all on the East Coast affected, my prayers go out to you. We are still here, and we will get through this too.

For those who were on the East Coast, share your Sandy War Stories here. What was the prespective outside of the SuperStorm area? Keep those affected in your prayers, and if you feel so compelled, donate to relief efforts

Streetz

 

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  • Keisha brown

    Glad you are alrite and I continue to pray for east coasters without power and dealing with losses.

    Of course, it usually takes something major to make people step back and take inventory of their lives/homes. Having to think about what you would take with you should you need to flee your home – it’s so daunting.

  • Taylor

    As a Florida native who's been through numerous hurricanes and current Maryland resident who's lived through Snowmageddon, Irene, the Summer Derecho from a few months ago, I take every weather warning seriously. Growing up in Florida, I learned that when a hurricane warning was issued, there were a few things that needed to be done: food and water supply for at least 3 days, portable radios, flashlights and batteries readily available and also very important, have all cell phones and other electronics charged and books and whatever activities to keep you entertained!! Because who wants to sit in the dark with nothing to do? Another very important thing we did in Florida was have the car filled with gas, a change of clothes, non perishable food and water, cash on hand and AN EVACUATION PLAN just in case we had to leave the house for safety. Sure, there've been a few times when a hurricane or stormy weather never shows up (had a day off from hs school once and ended up at the beach on a very lovely day because a hurricane changed its mind or the weather man didn't know what he was talking about). It may seem like a lot to do but there is no better feeling in the world than being prepared in the event that something does in fact happen. I was prepared for Sandy and luckily, my area was spared. Unfortunately, I have friends and family in NY and NJ who weren't as lucky but within the last 2 days, most of them have had their power restored and I am very thankful for that.

  • beautifulsoul

    Thank you for sharing your story, I'm glad to hear you & yours made it out of this one ok:-) I'm in upstate NY & it didn't hit us as hard, but EVERYTHING was shut down anyway: School, work, church, bodegas smh. Although it was kinda fun not working for a few days, it was stressful not being able to get in touch w/ family in Brooklyn for a lil' bit….. but everybody's ok, thank God.

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

    For Boston, this was another Irene but Monday the city shut down as a precaution. Calls/texts/tweets flooded in from all over but I was chilling watching directv which played clear as day it but Tuesday the sun was shining like it never happened. Then I saw the news and what missed us. I felt relieved and guilty at the sa… I promised myself to stop saying that. I was shocked, this doesn’t happen the northeast is where hurricanes go to die. I reached out to ppls in ny, texted a pledge to red cross and prayed. we were so close.

  • FlyyLibrarian

    I won't awfulize my situation. I was very blessed to have a friend in Jackson Heights ( Queens) with full power. On Tuesday early evening, I packed a weekend bag, was able to get a full tank of gas in a neighboring city waiting for about 20 mins (at the time THAT seemed like an eternity), hopped on the GWB, (the only way into NYC from Jersey at the time). Dinner and a warm place awaited me. I left Thursday afternoon and returned to full power at my place.

    My family in Ca. struggled to get in contact with me for awhile, (no cell service) but once I got to Queens I was able to get in contact with everybody.

    Just grateful to still have a place to call home, a vehicle to wait IN (not ON) line with to get gas, and to live to tell about my experience.

    On another note, after my power went out on Monday, I began reading your e-book via my iPad. So far I like! I'll give it my final review via instagram, like all the books I read. : )

    Also, I ranted about this elsewhere and hope someone can explain it to me; why do people from NY/NJ say they are "on" as opposed to "IN" line when they form a line?? You are NEVER physically on line, you are not on a computer, and you are not pledging during that time. Just as you stand IN a circle when you form one, you stand IN a line when you form one. I cringed when I read, "waiting on 3 hour lines". Trivial, I know, but bugs me.

    Prayers go up to all those affected.

  • madscientist7

    i was in portland that weekend visiting the s/o and i thought i would make it back in time to watch boardwalk empire on sunday night. as i boarded my plane that sunday i flew to my first layover in spokane, washington they told me that laguardia was closed. it didn't reopen till friday. i wasn't complaining, i got to spend the whole week with my gf.

    my apartment lost power in bk till thursday and my job lost power till friday night so if i were here i would have been miserable anyway. so glad i missed out on this one.
    My recent post How I became a jaded man (I)

  • lady_d

    My heart goes out to yall NYers. I'm from Florida and have been in so many hurricanes its not even funny. I will say the worst part is after the storm is the outages….no power, no phones, no internet and no cable. Oh those gas lines are horrible too. I remember after one storm standing in line sun up to sun down and still left with no gas…..yea that sucked.

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