Most native New Yorkers quickly tired of the Hurricane Irene comparisons leading up to Hurricane Sandy, we thought them unfair scare tactics until topographical images revealed them to be understatements.
Any person of island descent who experienced Hurricane Sandy will tell you its real difference from a catastrophic storm was that we were spared from torrential rain. What we experienced were significant floods and high speed wind gusts. The internet and Photoshop quickly deluded the gullible with exaggerated images of the tattered Coney Island Cyclone, people scuba diving in subway stations, etc. I live on relatively highland in East Flatbush, which is far from any large body of water, and like most people from my area, wasn’t sure of the damage until I ventured out.
Day One / Brooklyn
Toured my immediate neighborhood some of that first night during the storm, and early the next morning. Documented some fallen branches, trees, and electric poles. We had a brief blackout that lasted for five hours in the early evening, which saved quite a few stores from property damage having closed by that time.
Day Two and Three / Manhattan
Rode my bicycle to the Lower East Side of Manhattan where the power had still not been restored. Crossing the bridge was eerie, half of the bridge shone operating lights; the dark portion of Manhattan, including Chinatown and Tribeca, engulfed you halfway across. Battery Park City miraculously kept power due to their connection to the Brooklyn Energy Grid. Generators were positioned on various intersections, between which it was very dark; although not third world country dark, because I could still see my hand in front of my face. On my second night there I left around three in the morning, weaving between desolate blocks, dodging flashing lights, and avoiding spot lights – felt very espionage Metal Gear Solid. Never went during the day.
Day Four / Red Hook
Left for Red Hook after a few disturbing images popped into my newsfeed. Red Hook was fairly clean by the time I arrived, didn’t encounter any significant remanants of a major flood besides tarnished possessions lining the curbs for trash collection. Some people were still flushing their basements, and Fairway, a major marketplace in the area from what I’m told, was forced to empty their entire inventory. People were in high spirits though, the area was being restored fairly quickly.
Day Five / Rockaway
Made my first ever ride to Rockaway after Breezy Point became a repeat talking point on NPR. Breezy Point turns out to be a private community, and officials were only allowing residents in at the time of my arrival. Diverted my trip towards the opposite end of the island through Riis Beach / Park; it was my first time there, and it was a ghost town. The Riis parking lot was turned into a rapidly growing garbage collection area. The Riis Boardwalk was a concrete skeleton with shattered wooden sections driven inland. Sand heavily accumulated as far as three blocks deep into the mainland. Custodial stands along the boardwalk were gutted, houses were burned down further into the residential areas, exotic cars were charred; from what I was told, the fires resulted from the flooding and downed electrical poles.
Went so far as the fifties before turning around, was still encountering excessive debris and a constant flow of garbage trucks. The recovery efforts were well organized, I noted assistance was being provided by Verizon, Dunkin Donuts, the National Coast Guard, and uniformed independent recovery teams. The plight of Rockaway is most evident in my timing, this was five days after the storm and cleanup was still the primary task at hand. Far Rockaway is not expected to receive electricity for another week from this publication date.
Day Six / Coney Island
Didn’t hear much about Coney Island, really expected something along the lines of Rockaway due to its proximity to the ocean. I was gladly disappointed, Coney Island is sandy and doesn’t have electricity; however, tourists still occupied the boardwalk, and infrastructure wasn’t a problem, it will promptly return to normal once the electricity resumes. Seaview was also a private community, which prevented me access, much like Breezy Point.
New York City Prevails
New York has excellent building regulations, although the transportation system and electrical grid experienced some difficulties, no major or irrepairable damage was caused. Most importantly, our volunteer efforts continue citywide to ensure personal recoveries.
Postscript: Bloombito needs to stop speaking spanish, you sound ridiculous, and we’ve never heard you speak patois or polish, stop it you statistically driven Monarch.