Hurricane Sandy Unleashes Fury Uprooting Many

October 31, 2012 by

My husband beside an uprooted tree by our house. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, via Instagram.

Hurricane Sandy blew in Monday downing huge trees, pulling down electrical wires, leaving millions, including us, without power or hot water, and a number of others homeless or dead. A very large uprooted tree leans against power lines perilously close to the side of our home, but the overtaxed power company and police say they can only deal with things that “have already happened.”

Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton

Once the Army Core of Engineers removed trees blocking our street late yesterday, we were able to leave, charging our phones in the car and listening for the first time to news reports on the radio. Until then, bits of  news came to us via sporadic 3G access to texts or email, and it was from a friend in Croatia that we learned the homes of two friends just blocks from us had burned to the ground Monday night when fire fighters were unable to reach them due to flood waters.

Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Much of the damage was the result of big trees falling on power lines or crushing homes, cars, or people. Pines have shallow roots and, like the one above, strong winds just pulled them right up out of the ground. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

I am fortunate. Right now I’m sitting at Dunkin Donuts in a neighboring town drinking coffee and using their wifi. New York City may be disabled for several weeks, and authorities still can’t say when subways and commuter trains will be running again. There was terrible gridlock on city streets today as some braved driving in. With both the Brooklyn Battery and the Queens Midtown Tunnels closed due to flooding, someone told us that after sitting for three hours trying to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan, they just turned around and went home.

So those whose city offices remain closed will have to find other, sometimes creative ways to work. Our daughter lives on the ninth floor of a Manhattan building that was in the mandatory evacuation zone. She moved there recently after graduating from college in New Orleans where she escaped every post-Katrina hurricane. At school, the students referred to the mandatory storm evacuations as “hurrications.” Those, like my daughter, who now have jobs in the city did not find “Frankenstorm” as much fun. Like so many, our daughter worked it out: she walked forty blocks to stay with a friend who has power and hot water, then was back to work this morning at 8am.

Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, via Instagram.

I hope that it will all turn out like my hibiscus plant, above, which I brought inside just before Sandy hit. Yesterday I noticed it had sprouted a fresh new bloom.


  • So glad you’re safe, Robin! I was praying for you guys!! I hope you get your power back soon. So sad, the loss of such huge trees. Tragic, the loss of lives. 🙁 Hang in there, my friend! xoxo

  • Thanks for the update Robin. Glad you aren your family made it through okay. Was thinking of you the whole time!

  • Be safe; be well; stay charged and rested. Good luck in the coming days and weeks as life finds it new normal. Tucson must seem on another planet just now, but I’m glad we got a chance to meet.

  • Glad to hear and see that you are ok and hope you get your power back on soon. We lost a lot of trees in the city as well. I saw a bunch down in Carl Shurz Park when I went out to survey on Tuesday.

  • I am glad you are still standing despite many of your trees. Any further comment at this point seems ridiculous.

  • Such a tragedy for so many. Glad you are all OK. Home we stayed at last summer at shore is gone…and pavers on NYC’s Pier 84 are torn up. No word yet on garden I designed except it was under water. : (

  • Georgia

    Looks like one of the trees had substantial rot. Stay safe.

The freshest innovative and eco-friendly designs, trends, and ideas for urban gardens and stylish small places.

Visit Robin Horton @UrbanGardens's profile on Pinterest.