October 31, 2012 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
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.”
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.
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.
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.