10-28-12 We decided to ride out the hurricane. Can’t second guess myself. We are stocked up and prepared as we can be at this point.
That’s as far as I got last Sunday when Hurricane Sandy was heading toward NYC. I stopped and realized it was not time to blog about a pending natural disaster. It was time to prepare. So, what did I do? I cooked. A lot. I paced the floor. A lot. I looked out the window. A lot. I prayed, too. Then Sandy rolled across the city.
We never – not once – lost power, water, cable, Internet, etc. in our neighborhood on the Upper West Side. Our building did move with the winds and my chandelier swayed gently over a dining room table littered with Legos. But we weathered the storm just fine, sort of. My nerves were shot as the former me – D.J. Cunningham, television reporter – was glued to the TV, internet and every available media source for the latest information.
By the time I finally crashed in the early morning hours of Tuesday, I knew when I woke up that life as I knew it before was not going to be the same. It wasn’t. We have all seen the horrible images of flooding, downed power lines, destruction, hospitals being evacuated, dangling cranes and people crying for help during what I would imagine are some of the worst times of their lives.
My friend and her children crashed with us for two days after she lost power at her apartment down on the Lower East Side. They walked for two hours before she was able to recharge her phone and send me a text. They hopped a cab and headed uptown where they stayed until late Friday when power was restored.
Before we moved to New York City, we were hit hard with an ice storm in Jonesboro. I remember vividly waking Corbin up from a nap, putting him in his car seat and driving down my drive way as limbs snapped down behind us. There was no way I was going to be trapped in my house, with no power, Corbin and my dog Leo while Mark was away on business. That was a smart call. Power was not restored to our home for 8 days. Corbin and I camped out with my parents who were two hours way and then later with my in-laws before the power was restored at our house.
I’ve taken cover during my fair share of tornados. Growing up in Arkansas, you knew when a severe thunder storm was heading your way, that a tornado was always a possibility. It used to be that the highest threat for tornados was spring and summer. But over the last 20 years, with wild swings in the weather patterns, tornados have torn through the state in all four seasons. I’ve also spent some time in the dark and cold after a Christmas ice/snow storm knocked out the electricity in Carlisle, Arkansas where I grew up. I have memories of myself eating hand made candies that were supposed to be given as Christmas gifts!
Being without power is one thing. A big pain in the butt, yes. But losing your home and everything you own is all together a different issue. Seeing the scope of destruction, not far from where I sit writing this post, is really impossible to grasp. From the raging fire that scorched over 100 homes in Queens, to the missing boardwalk in New Jersey, to the waterlogged parts of Staten Island, the images are painful to look at on television. The stories of those who died are heartbreaking.
The New York City Marathon was cancelled…finally. As if it was really a good idea to run the race while so much of the area is still struggling to get back on its feet. I know thousands of runners had trained, planned and possibly already traveled to NYC. But the growing sense that the race would go on while there was so much destruction and death in some of the boroughs along the course was just too much to bear. With hindsight being 20/20, the race should have been called off on Tuesday.
The news of Sandy even silenced the painfully loud noise of the political season. It was interesting to watch President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie embrace each other and to set politics aside for a moment. Even though I suspect the two men can’t stand each other, they both had business to do and people to take care of. No time for political bickering. There will be time later on for the two to throw each other under the bus!
Progress is being made…slowly. Power is being restored, gas is making its way back into the area, food and basic necessities are being provided although not always as swiftly as everyone would like. Parts of the the subway and tunnels in lower Manhattan are still flooded and will be closed until further notice. Government officials are already talking about what to do to protect New York City and the surrounding areas in the event another storm barrels through. This is the second hurricane/tropical storm in two years. Hurricane Sandy was not a fluke. Neither was Hurricane Irene last year.
How we managed to escape the wrath of a 900-mile-wide storm, I will never understand. I am beyond grateful that we did. God bless those who were not as fortunate. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they work to rebuild their lives one day at a time.
If you want to help out, you can contribute to the Red Cross at www.redcross.org