Monday, November 5, 2012

{Hurricane Sandy - The Journal...}

Hey Peeps!! Boy has it been a while since I've been on here. First came traveling for work, then came a hectic work week, then came out of town visitors, and then came Hurricane Sandy. Wow - so much has happened - so much to share.

After an amazing weekend with two of my favorite peeps, full of laughs, drinks, good food, and shopping - one thing that kept looming was the promise that Hurricane Sandy was coming and she was going to hit hard. Thankfully my friends were able to get out of the city on Sunday before the transit and airports shut down. After they left, my sister and I went to grab a few essentials (water, bread, non-perishables, candles, flashlight) but much to our surprise, everyone was taking this storm much more seriously than us and everything we went out to get (except for water and chips) was sold out. So we came home, made a big pot of spaghetti and sat on the couch glued to the weather channel. While the reports were saying that this storm was going to be huge, after the hype of Hurricane Irene, we were in denial that anything was going to happen - especially to us and our neighborhood. Due to the transit shutting down on Sunday, most businesses (including ours) were closed on Monday (and the entire week). Literally, we didn't move from the couch - we only watched reports on the weather and waited for the storm to arrive. There were winds and light rain - but where was this hurricane 90+ mph wind we were supposed to be getting? Where was the downpours that were to happen all day long up until the hurricane hit? Why was the sun out? As time went on, and the promise that the hurricane was only 45 minutes away, we remained pessimistic as really the only thing that changed in the weather was the winds were picking up. All of a sudden a report on the news said that the wind from the hurricane has blown the front a building right around the corner of our apartment off. My sister and I both looked at each other and thought it would be a great idea to put some clothes on and go see this building with the missing front. Once we got there, we were surrounded by news crews, neighbors, nypd, nyfd all amazed at what we were looking at. People were taking pictures and laughing at what we would do if we were there sitting watching TV and all of a sudden, the front of our building just blows away. The thought of it was pretty funny, the reality is that it really happened - and luckily no one was home, or hurt.
chelsea apartment
After about 20 minutes, the wind started to really pick up to the point that we couldn't control where it blew us, and the rain was really starting to come down. We decided that maybe we should head back home. We resumed our positions on the couch and in front of the TV for another 20 minutes or so, when the biggest gust of wind came strolling through. Addy was barking, and for the first time my sister and I weren't laughing anymore. There was a bunch of banging and clanging - we could definitely hear that things were blowing around outside, there was glass breaking, and our eyes were getting wide. Our lights started to flicker, and that's when my sister jumped up and started to light candles - thank God she did, because minutes later our power was off and the winds, the banging, the sirens, the glass were getting louder and louder. This went on for what seemed forever, and then things started to calm down to the point we felt comfortable going to sleep. When we woke up the next morning - that's when the fun started...

On Tuesday - we woke up and decided to go out to assess the damage. There were trees down, glass everywhere, wood from the construction across the street everywhere, trash blowing around, and something that is very odd for NYC - there were no people or cars out. There was no power anywhere, minimal stores were open and the ones that were, were powered by candlelight. Since we didn't have power and couldn't turn on the TV to see what was going on elsewhere, we decided to use our phones 3G services - but quickly found out that ATT was down and we couldn't get any phone service. GREAT!!! We came back, got dressed, and decided to go walking to see where we could find power to charge our phones and possibly a cup of coffee...maybe something to eat. During our walk in the cold and rain - we found this old little man selling flashlights, so we purchased one from him (thank God - this flashlight saved our lives as we needed it during our walks in the pitch black - so dark you couldn't see in front of your face) and kept walking. After blocks and blocks and blocks of no power, or stores/restaurants that were open, we found a 711 and they had coffee AND charging stations for people to charge their electronics. 
charging up
This routine of getting up, trying to find food and a place to charge our phones was something that we relied on all week. We learned that if we brought an extension cord and surge plug with us, we would make friends and could usually find a way to convince someone to take out their plug so that we could insert our surge so that we could all benefit.  We would literally sit somewhere for hours- most of the time on the floor/ground - waiting for our phones and computers to charge. However, during these times of sitting and failing to connect to the wifi, or connecting and then getting kicked off due to the amount of people trying to get on, we met some pretty amazing people. 

We met the app developer of Foodspotting while sitting at an Applebee's in Time Square charging our phones. We also met a couple of guys that we teased and allowed them to use our charger, as for some reason they forgot to bring theirs. We met a great guy while sitting outside of Madison Square Garden. We ended up having a great 2 hour conversation about everything from the hurricane, to our jobs, to sports, and in the end we exchanged numbers and I'm sure we'll be drinking buddies. We met a guy while charging our phones at Cosi that talked about how he left his job to follow his passion of film. We met a couple whose parents were flying in from England to visit NYC for the first time - of course they were staying with them and they were trying to figure out fun things to do in the city since they had no power, and all of the hotels were sold out. We met several people that just by a nod of the head, or a small smile meant that they knew what you were going through, because they were going through it as well. New Yorkers are BAD ASS!!! While anywhere else you could get in your cars, charge your phones, drive around for food and water, listen to the radio - here - you walk, in the cold, in the rain, in the dark and just make do. 
walking at night
I read two books by candlelight and it allowed me to escape my cold and power-less apartment and take a journey with "Night" which was about the Holocaust and all of the torture the Jewish people endured during their time in the concentration camps and "Sold" a story about a 13 year old girl who was sold by her step-father to the sex trade. Both books, in perspective made me realize that me shivering in the cold, with no power, no food, no water, and no connection to the outside world wasn't really that bad. 

Days went by, our routine never changed, but we did learn that we could boil water by turning on the gas to our stove and lighting a match (don't judge, I didn't know). This boiling water helped warm up the apartment for a bit, and it allowed us to "shower". This was a luxury for sure - although I'm afraid of our gas bill this month. 

Finally, Friday around 8PM our power was turned back on. We were sitting at the Starbucks in Macy's (again charging our phones) when we got a tweet that power has been restored in Chelsea. We jumped up - threw our things in our bags and started walking back home, hoping and praying that it wasn't a hoax. On our walk we saw that the stop lights were working, that lights were in buildings that were dark all week, and as we approached our street our strut was a little faster, and as we turned the corner we saw that our building light was on! Thank God!!!!! We immediately turned on the lights, the TV, and checked to see if we had hot water. Score! When then sat down and started to watch the news for the first time since the hurricane hit and couldn't believe the damage and devastation this storm caused. Here we had been complaining about what we've been going through without power - but in reality we didn't go through anything compared to what the people of Staten Island, Queens, and Jersey went through...and our still going through. It brought tears to my eyes. 
Sandy - map
We decided to go out to dinner to celebrate our power being turned back on, and we had the best meal (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans from Cafeteria) and the best waiter. He hugged and kissed both my sister and I on the cheek to say welcome, and that we made it through. I had two big tears in my eyes, as this genuine form of affection is so rare from strangers - and all the emotions that I had pinned up over the week trying to be strong, let go at that moment.

Since Friday - we have gone back to life as usual - but we will never be the same. I have learned so much about myself and life through this experience. There is more to life than work. There is more to life than our simple pleasures. It is our duty to help others in their time of need. There is always someone who is going through something more tragic than you are. Have faith in people and be kind to strangers - they really are lovely. Most importantly - life can change in an instant. Spend the time while you can control it doing something you love.

THANK YOU to each and every one of you that sent a text, wrote an email, called and left a voicemail, offered your homes, offered money, or just sent up a prayer and good wishes - you kept me going and I LOVE you!

Please join me in making a contribution to the Disaster Relief at the American Red Cross by clicking here.
Jessica Signature


  1. Glad to read that you and your sister are safe and sound!!


  2. So glad you are safe and didn't suffer too damage. I kept checking the blog for you. Lots of my family lost everything--it is indeed a difficult experience but New Yorkers are hardcore.

  3. You made it through a major historic event ~ and with a smile! You New Yorkers truly are bad-ass! Donating tomorrow after I VOTE! <3


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