Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

If I were a non-author reader of this blog, then I would assume one of two things about my most recent one month-long publication sabbatical:  1) that my time in New York hasn't warranted any blog posts (i.e. it has been uneventful, "nothing to write home about" or 2) that my time in New York has warranted so many blog posts that I haven't had time to write them.  Thank goodness for both you and me, #2 is the truer of the hypothetical choices.  Indeed, my time here is exceeding my expectations in every way, and I am sorry that I have been lazy in communicating that to you.

If you could be in my work area every week (we call it the "bullpen", where the researchers sit), then you would sense the pressure that I feel to blog.  And I'm sure that if I were closer geographically to my Texas friends, I would feel a similar pressure.  Or maybe everyone is just messing with me.  I am finally responding to that pressure, whether real or imagined.

You probably heard about Hurricane Sandy.  Thank you to everyone who thought of, prayed for, and contacted us that were affected by the storm.  Most people in uptown Manhattan (where I live) were fortunate to never lose power.  Folks in Lower Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens were not as fortunate and have realized great loss as a result of the storm (i.e. homes, cars, and even lives).  In fact, thousands of New Yorkers are still without power, not to mention millions of other people all over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic United States.

In anticipation of the storm's approach, we stayed home and worked from our apartments on Monday.  As the storm approached, commuting to work became dangerous as the winds intensified.  Walking was the only possible mode of transportation:  the New York City subway system shut down on Sunday night (that's how I get to work).  It moves 8.5 million people every day.

During my lunch hour on Monday, I walked down to the banks of the Hudson River in Riverside Park to see the water.  To my surprise, many other people had the same idea, playing down by the water, unaware of the damage that would soon be done.  It reminded me of the men playing hockey with the iceberg ice on the forward deck of Titanic.

The parks were technically closed, but thousands of people, including me, ignored the police tape that read "police line do not cross" to seek the adventure of being a part of this storm.  At one point, a police car pulled up near the water and began to shout through his speaker "the park is closed!  Everyone must leave now!"  As I passed that police officer, I intended to continue walking, thinking that it was a recording whose advice I did not need to heed.  I was wrong.  "The park is closed!  Everyone must leave now!  Yes, you, sir!  You in the shorts!  Turn now and leave the park now!"  It was a real officer.  I couldn't ignore him.

I lost cable/internet/phone on Monday night and stayed home on Tuesday as well.  The researchers were back in the office on Wednesday.  Some subway and bus service was restored on Thursday.  This city is resilient, but normalcy will still take several weeks, maybe months, to return.  I am very fortunate; nothing bad happened to me.  But there are millions of others for whom that is not the case.  Pray for them.

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