Results tagged “Hurricane Sandy aftermath” from ARTicles

In the blackout, we've been fortunate enough to have water all along, which many people I ran into over these past few days did not.  This meant we could take showers (albeit cold ones), wash dishes, and have plenty of drinking water to store in the water-filter container that resides in our non-functioning refrigerator. Recently I have even started boiling pots of water to add to the cold water in the tub, thereby producing a bath of sorts.  It is a lot of work for scant payoff, and I begin to understand why the British of the 1960s bathed only once a week, and the Russians of the 1860s only once per winter.  (Some British and some Russians, anyway--no doubt there were cleanliness maniacs even then.)

I noticed the other day that the city had set up a temporary drinking fountain, with 6 or 8 separate spigots, down on Houston Street near Sixth Avenue, about a block away from us.  This meant that those without water could at least come fetch a few bottlesful at the local well. And this is not the only good, small thing. Other signs of public spiritness abound, from the legions of regular and auxiliary cops policing the darkened areas at night (they help us get across the signal-less streets, and probably reduce hugely the potential looting and mugging) to the general kindness of people at large.  Strangers readily exchange information and good-luck wishes; people in stores and on the subways, in those areas where such services are functioning, do not complain about the endless lines and uncomfortable crowding; overall, there is a civic atmosphere of mutual trust and endurance. It is not a bad thing to have witnessed, this surge of warmheartedness among Manhattanites, and it almost makes up for the physical cold that is now beginning to descend on us.  
November 3, 2012 12:17 AM |
In a way, things are worse the second day after a disaster than the first. You have to bite the bullet and take an ice-cold shower if you are going to take any shower at all. You have to use up the last of the milk before it goes bad in the unelectrified refrigerator.  You have to contemplate opening one of the unappetizing cans (baked beans? diced tomatoes? sliced peaches?) for your next meal. You have slept too much, since there is nothing to do after dark but get into bed and hope for eleven or twelve hours of oblivion.

Enough of this second-person crap.  You (if there is a you out there, and of that I have my doubts) are probably safe and warm somewhere.  I am safe, and not freezing, but still living in the major black-out area that is lower Manhattan.  Nary a store nor restaurant is open for miles.  If I look out of my window at night, I see only dark windows. (Where are the other candle-users?)  The oddest part is that if I venture uptown, to 42nd Street or above, everything is basically normal, with open stores, crowded restaurants, functioning offices.  But getting there is the trick.  It was hard enough yesterday, when only a few people were out and about.  Today many people are trying to drive to work (or take the free buses, or grab a cab or limo from among those that are cruising the streets), so the streets and buses are jammed.  Most of the five million people who normally take the subway on a given day are all trying to get from here to there by other means.

This morning I shared a limo with a couple on their way uptown to the vet hospital with their little dog, who had a chemotherapy appointment they didn't want to miss.  They too were from the black-out area, and besides all the same problems I had, they didn't have enough water to take a shower. But they were cheerful and kind (they didn't have to share the limo with me, but did it out of generosity, toward me and toward the driver). I hope the dog will be all right. 

All the major cultural venues--Broadway theaters, the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center--continue to be darkened, at least for tonight.  I have no idea when I will next be able to attend, much less report on, a cultural event.  When my iPad is charged up, I am rereading Dombey and Son.  I could be reading Scandinavian mysteries instead (I downloaded two before the hurricane), but Dickens is less agitating under conditions like these.
October 31, 2012 8:15 AM |


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