Word of Mouth
The strange thing about life in post-Sandy Manhattan is that most useful information comes via word of mouth. The newspaper is already obsolete by the time we see it, and in any case we blackout victims cannot drum up any interest in the world outside our neighborhood. The burning questions are: When will the power come back on? When will the subways start running through our section of town? Will there be any taxis available tomorrow, given the gas shortage? What is the best way, at the present moment, to get from here to anywhere else on the island? Where can one recharge electronic devices and get access to wireless?
My most useful encounter yesterday was with a young woman from the Lower East Side who was trying to get online outdoors in Bryant Park, where I was gobbling down a sandwich before walking back downtown into the darkened regions. She said she had seen a running line on a TV screen as she walked by CBS studios, suggesting that power would come back on in lower Manhattan by Saturday. This was better than what I heard as I stood in line to buy candles at an Upper East Side store, where the man behind me (from the East Village) reported that his super said it would be five more days. As it turned out, the young woman from the Lower East Side was the more accurate: an automated phone call from Con Ed later in the day informed me that "most people" in my neighborhood would have power restored by Saturday night. We shall see.