We had watched the news, assessed the situation, arranged shelter for the next few days, and acquired supplies. We were in no immediate perilous danger. With Hurricane Sandy on our doorstep, and all our ducks in a row, what else was there to do but go out and bear witness to nature’s fury?
I was in New York City for a friend’s wedding. It was a costume wedding, so I spent my first day there visiting some costume shops and doing some general sight-seeing. I didn’t notice anything that would suggest a looming disaster or that would prompt a “wait, what’s going on here?”
One thing I noticed: Trader Joe’s had longs lines out the door and around the block. (One line for the grocery store, and one line for the wine shop.) I realize now that people were stocking up. At the time, walking by all those people in line, I just thought Trader Joe’s is THAT popular.
I don’t habitually monitor the weather, except occasionally to check the day’s high temperature.゠The first time I heard of Hurricane Sandy was probably in conversation. Perhaps it went something like this:
What do think of this hurricane? they may have said.
What hurricane? I may have said.
The wedding was on Saturday, Oct. 27. The hurricane would arrive late on Monday, Oct. 29. Still not worried, I took that interstitial Sunday to walk around and see some sights, visit some bookstores, relax in a coffee shop, etc. Now I was seeing warning signs. Particularly the subway closure notices. Also empty shelves where bottled water is normally stocked.
Monday was get-serious day. My friends and I moved from an apartment we were renting in the East Village. There were other serious problems with it, but the fact that it was one block from a mandatory evacuation zone was the deciding factor.
By dusk we were settled in at my friend’s apartment in Murray Hill. None of us were really worried. It was time to head out into the breach.
The video post here is a glorified compilation of clips from that foray. In it you can see people running errands, a guy training for the New York Marathon, and unusually high winds. What did Times Square look like? Pretty empty. Watch now!