HOLIDAYS, New York HURRICANE SANDY, YOU SUCK 16 November 2012

It’s not every day that one can say they were in the middle of a hurricane, but that’s exactly what happened to us. I guess you could say we were unbelievably UNLUCKY, but I’d also say that since we survived it unscathed, it was actually a really interesting experience.

So the hurricane alert was actually issued before we arrived in NYC. We were in a very small town, which was about 1.5 hrs away from NYC and also under hurricane alert. So we figured that given our location and situation, probably better to be in a large city (ie. if any thing were to happen, a large city will probably get everything restored quicker) and better for at least Carter and I to be in a comfortable home (as we were staying at my gf’s place) than all of us in a hotel with no amenities.

And so we drove in.. very nervous because it was critical we beat the storm. It’s definitely unsafe driving during a hurricane (duh) so we needed to:

  1. Make sure we arrived in NYC before the hurricane struck
  2. Have Carter and I dropped off and safe at my friend’s apartment
  3. Have Hunter and Mum dropped off and safe at the nearby hotel
  4. Dad return the rental car by himself and go back to the hotel

NYC was bizzarely quite quiet when we arrived.. presumably because the residents were all hunkering down at home. We were actually quite lucky, as it turned out, as the hurricane kept being postponed until it was reported that it would strike at 8PM, instead of the earlier anticipated “afternoon”.

And so Carter and I settled down, we all had a lovely homecooked dinner… and we basically sat around awaiting Hurricane Sandy to hit.

The CRAZIEST part was that our apartment was actually in the ‘mandatory evacuation’ area. But, due to the high location, we didn’t have to evacuate. However, we had to be prepared for power outages, flooding, etc.

I guess the ‘fun’ thing was that we were way up high, with unblocked views of the Hudson River. This gave us a great vantage point to watch the storm roll in.

And roll in it did.

By late afternoon, the skies were dark and threatening, the chill had descended, and the wind had picked up. It was pretty foreboding and it kept getting worse as dusk came.

The rain started around dinnertime, and got heavier and heavier, and it got foggier and foggier.

 

Foreboding skies

 

We weren’t that worried. It was more like a bad storm than a hurricane. But then, the wind really started going bonkers…. and I could see the huge glass-pane windows starting to wobble – now THAT was scary!

But the scariest part? Soon after, we realised we could hear the building creaking. BECAUSE IT WAS SWAYING. Now that I think back on it, it’s pretty cool. But at the time, I was pretty alarmed!

But there was not much else we could do, except wait it all out.

Hello Hurricane Sandy

 

We were all glued to the TV (fortunately our power never did cut out!), but to be frank there wasn’t much for them to say, so they just kept replaying the same footage over and over again… zzzz.

We did see the flood waters swell under us though! The Hudson River overflowed and it was pretty interesting seeing the street lights on the pier go out one-by-one as the water rose.

See the flood waters at the bottom of the pic? That used to be a park with grass. Also, that pier (top-right) got submerged as well.

 

The howling of the wind died down just before midnight, so we called it a day and went to bed. The next morning, we woke up and I looked out the window to this view (same location as the photo above, taken during the storm):

Hurricane? What hurricane?

 

The sun was out, and it was gorgeous! Like nothing ever happened. Surreal.

After watching the news, it was clear that the Upper West Side (where we were), was largely spared. It was pretty much all of the Downtown area that was submerged and had power cut, etc etc etc. So, when we walked outside, it didn’t look too bad apart from uprooted/broken trees.

Trees lying across the sidewalk

 

I suppose the craziest thing for us was that Central Park was closed, and would remain closed over the next few days. A major bummer for us as we are mere minutes from it, and most of the NYC trip was planned around it – doh!!

What was left of Central Park

 

Apart from that, the other thing that really affected us was that our internet was cut. WOE IS ME. Yes, #firstworldproblems and all, but it did hit me hard because I am heavily addicted to it. I could get access to free wifi when we went out, but it was especially awful for me because I couldn’t Skype with Chris (to regularly chat with him and assure him we’re OK), nor with Hunter and my parents. I hated not being able to easily get in touch with the most loved people in my life. It was really isolating, but in the grand scheme of things, I know we were really lucky.

It was sad seeing on the news the people that got affected, and the extent of the devastation the Hurricane brought – not far from where we were staying.

The other thing that was awful was that the train stations were shut down, for DAYS!!! My Aussie girl friend lives in Brooklyn, so we were so close yet so far, as the bridge was closed and public transport was down. I was fully expecting us to be able to see each other daily, so this was a huge disappointment 🙁

DO NOT LIKE.

 

This also meant that since the entire Downtown was washed out, NYC for me was purely Upper West Side and Upper East Side. No SoHo, no Chelsea, no Brooklyn, etc etc. Irritating, because this was my FIRST AND LAST TRIP… and I would miss out on all these major areas!

On top of that, for the following 2 days after Hurricane Sandy, all businesses were shut down. Employees couldn’t get to work due to bridges/transportation being down, thus nothing was open. We were thus home-bound.. and that was a big deal as we only had 3 days (!!) in NYC. And so………..

We extended our NYC trip by a few more days 😀

Mum and Dad were very nice about it (considering they would have to pay $$$ to stay in the hotel for extra nights), and my gf was lovely and let Carter and I stay on. This meant that we got more time to check out NYC…. and that we did.

NYC sights and sounds, coming right up!

 

9 Comments

  • Pris posted on November 17, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Hey Bev!
    Wow, thank God for protection on you guys during hurricane Sandy! Sounds quite scary actually! With the creaking of the building and all. Glad that you managed to extend your stay!!!! Look forward to your post!

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on November 17, 2012 at 10:01 am

      Thanks Pris. yeah it was pretty bad timing for us, but it worked out in the end. Very sad for the people that were badly affected though 🙁

      Reply
  • shreejacob posted on November 17, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Glad you were all okay during the storm!! Swaying buildings can be scary!!

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on November 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

      No kidding! My first time experiencing it and I can make do without a hurricane for future trips 😉

      Reply
      • shreejacob posted on November 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm

        Mhmm..I had my experience of a swaying building during the Aceh Tsunami. Was living in a three story building then and felt “dizzy”..thought was coming down with a fever or something till I looked at the bottle of water near me…the water was moving! Turned away from the computer screen and looked at the walls…yup the walls were swaying!

        Reply
  • Mag posted on November 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

    It sounds really scary! So glad you’re back safe and sound. Chris must’ve been really worried. *squeeze*

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on November 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      He was.. I guess it’s particularly hard for him as he was so far away!

      Reply
  • Tracey posted on November 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    My sister was in the lower east side and their power did go out. I was freaking out but they managed to walk up to Times Sq to use an internet cafe and calm me down, lol. She did say the same thing – bummer that their stay in NYC was washed out but glad they were safe

    I would of freaked at the building swaying!!!

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on November 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Poor thing.. hope they were ok even without power!

      We just had bad timing I guess, sigh. Wish it was super close so I could pop into NYC anytime!

      Reply

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