I want to thank those who emailed to check up on us during the recent “Frankenstorm” aka Hurricane Sandy.
We are fine now, hot water and heat were finally restored last night (November 6). I have heard from others who live in New York/New Jersey and our group seems to have made it through the storm okay. Many folks lost power but thankfully no homes were heavily damaged or washed away.
In answer to your questions, we are a few blocks from “Zone A”, the mandatory evacuation area in Manhattan around the edges of the island. If you’re familiar with the lovely South Street Seaport, we are close to that and this is what it looked like after being flooded:
We are 18 stories up so didn’t fear that our building would flood. But the heavy winds uprooted trees behind our building:
We had no water or power…I snapped this shot of my family having dinner over candlelight. (Note: the lights in the background are all that could be seen out our window looking across the East River into Brooklyn.)
Juliet took the nighttime photo below looking out across the expanse of lower Manhattan from our living room window.
Below is the same view during the day, which extends across the Hudson River to New Jersey.
We did finally brave walking down and back up 18 flights of stairs to get food, water and information. Yes, disaster relief information was posted online and on television and radio but those of us without power also had no internet and no cell phone service…though we were able to sporadically send text messages. All power was out from 34th Street and below in Manhattan. We braved the stairs again later in the week to be picked up and driven into midtown to a New York Sports Club which kindly offered free hot showers to those without water.
Our power didn’t return until the end of the week. Soon after it went on again we discovered the National Guard distributing bottled water in front of our building. I snapped this shot when, after a mad scramble by residents of our building, the water supplies already were nearly gone. However, we didn’t understand why they were showing up at this late date when help and supplies were now more desperately needed in Staten Island. Bluntly, our wonderful “first responders” were neighbors who took it upon themselves to scrounge up food and water, then walked up and down the 20 floors of our building, wearing heavy backpacks filled with supplies, and going door-to-door on all floors in our entire building complex.
When the power finally returned, we were without heat or hot water for another few days. Juliet was able scrounge up a space heater and we “camped out” in our living room, bundled up with coats and blankets and with the heater going full blast. Still, we all felt chilled to the bone, damp and grubby as though we’d been on a week-long camping trip during a rainy season. When the heat and hot water finally returned, it seemed a miracle!
Yes, we had a horrific week but compared to what others have suffered, it was minimal. If you are so inclined to help out, may I suggest that you donate to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund. Cantor Fitzgerald (who famously lost 658 employees on 9/11) matches every donation 100% with corporate funds. In recent years, the Relief Fund has continued to help victims of “natural or civil disasters” such as Hurricane Katrina and now Hurricane Sandy. The Relief Fund takes zero out of your donations for administrative fees and they pay out to needy families very promptly. As many of you know, I worked with the Cantor Relief Fund after 9/11.While the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other agencies were caught up in red tape and bad PR regarding allocating funds, the CF Fund shamed them all by getting money into families’ hands before any of the other groups. (Don’t get me wrong, these other agencies are wonderful but in a crisis it seems to take forever before they can take action.)
If you wish, make a donation in Jeanette and Nelson’s memories. Click on the CF logo below to go to their website.