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SANDY, YOU BITCH. As one radio host put it, Sandy is a terrible name for a hurricane; it sounds like a girl you dated in high school. This massive hybrid “superstorm” needed a much more formidable name. Medea, maybe, or Zarathustra.
It was strange. Here in NYC, there wasn’t much rain at all. High winds pushed waters from the East and Hudson Rivers up onto the land, an unprecedented and very frightening event. The north Brooklyn neighborhoods hardest hit were Red Hook, Gowanus and DUMBO. I didn’t see the damage myself. I’ve been here high and dry, in my Prospect Heights apartment; when Mayor Bloomberg says to stay inside, I stay inside. It was only on seeing the shocking photos and videos, and hearing stories, that I began to grasp the extent of the destruction.
I’d come into Brooklyn from my Long Island cottage for a jury duty summons on Monday, now cancelled until further notice. Lucky I did, because my community in Springs was power-less for three days. Waiting out the storm here, snug in my brownstone pied-a-terre, I dodged the Sandy bullet completely. Prepared for the worst with food for three weeks, buckets of water, enough candles to fully observe every Jewish holiday between now and the year 6000, Sandy blew through Monday night while I slept. My lights didn’t even flicker.
When I ventured out, tentatively, on Tuesday afternoon, it was to meet a friend in one of the few open cafes. By today, Thursday, any venturing is still, of necessity, on foot. Public transportation is just resuming on a very limited basis. The shuttle buses the city has organized to replace the flooded subway lines between Brooklyn and Manhattan have their own long queues, above. Roads are gridlocked, and there are long lines for gas as well. For me, with my flexible lifestyle, these are only the merest inconveniences.
Yet for many, life has stopped. It’s apocalyptic in some places; you’ve seen it on the news. People are stuck in Manhattan high-rises, running low on food supplies. They’re rescuing people in rubber boats from Hoboken row houses. Overheard today at the gym: “…under two feet of water…” “..lost both cars and a motorcycle…” “…had just retired to the Jersey shore…” Meanwhile, my upstairs neighbor just told me, sheepishly, she had fresh-made mozzarella for lunch, from a fancy, well-stocked deli in Cobble Hill.
Today, I go about my quiet business with an enhanced attitude of gratitude.