I hope you have a powerful weekend ahead of you.
Today is day four in the powerful yet “powerless” after-effects of Sandy. The hurricane that has killed about 38 people in New York City (according to NY Times today). Sandy didn’t only affect us New Yorkers, but that’s where I live and that is the experience I can speak to. One cannot understand the circumstances unless experiencing them, just as Uptown doesn’t relate to Downtown – as if we are in different cities, or different countries.
Downtown is dark and Uptown is lit. Refugees from Downtown wander the streets of Uptown and drop their dollars into their businesses. Broadway is open, while Off-Broadway keeps digging a whole every day because of the blackout factor.
Uptown has streetlights; downtown has flashlights. Uptown ladies have silky hair; downtown women have greasy or dry-shampoo-in-overdrive hair. Uptown is filled with gourmet restaurants while Downtown offers free street food and refugee camps.
It’s “only” day four, and I am beyond grateful not just for being alive, but for being healthy, being loved, and being able to go Uptown and eat at restaurants. Although that ship does sail after you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on cafes and restaurant, not just for eating reasons but because you don’t want to go home – to sit in the dark.
Today, it hit me – and I’m tired and emotional. I’m sad for the families that lost a family member. And for all the people who lost their homes and everything they had.
I’m also selfishly exhausted from carrying buckets of water up eleven floors – water to flush the toilets and to brush our teeth… The kitchen is starting to smell, the bathrooms already smell. The charm of the candles has faded. We have developed a look – it’s “hurricane refugee”. All black: sweats + tee-shirt, baseball caps, carrying a lot of bags – for computers, and work related things, water bottles to fill, and towels in case we come across a place to shower.
Today we showered at the student and faculty gym. We were so grateful when we found out this service was open, but having to wear shoes in the shower due to cockroaches running around, and having to shake a roach out of my yoga pants as I put them on, does take away a bit of the shower luxury. But we’re clean now. Apparently the bugs and rodents moved around as the city flooded.
After showering with those little “friends” we walked toward a dormitory where we were invited to eat – another service open to NYU families. We came across a couple of food trucks in the neighborhood, supported by Jet Blue, giving out water, snacks, and sandwiches to people in the neighborhood – I was touched by the sense of community.
As the light will shine on us Downtowners this weekend (as we are supposed to get power inside our apartments), we recognize the inner power we have has been strengthened even more by this latest experience. New York City is not for cowards.
If you are planning to come to New York – please consider staying and shopping Downtown. I’ll be posting a Fabwick guide to lower Manhattan next week.
PS. If you have a couple of extra dollars lying around – please consider supporting the Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Aid.