Tonight as I watch news accounts, Twitter feeds, and my Facebook newsfeed about Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc on the east coast, I can only be scared for NYC. After living there for 5 years, I can tell you that it will always be home to me. I can tell you that most places I lived would be without power. My junior year apartment: I would have had to evacuate. My university falls in the no-power zone (as I type this, below 39th Street). And the fact that NYU is closed, huge deal, it didn’t close for storms for years, because nothing as serious had happened I’m sure.
I wonder where I would have gone, during college, probably an NYU gym, or a friend’s dorm who hadn’t been evacuated. I wonder what I would have brought. Or how I would have prepared my room before I left. I never lived below the 4th floor so flooding wouldn’t have been an issue, but what if a window broke?
And when I hear that the subways will be shut down, potentially for days, I mentally think about how I would have gotten to work. Walk a few blocks over and probably wait for a bus to arrive. When I see photos like this, I know this storm is insane:
I know the water will go away, the damage will be extensive, and as I write this I see more and more photos of flooding in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, New Jersey….but I know one thing, the city will recover. People come together there like no place I’ve ever seen. Sure you hear about rude New Yorkers, trust me, I became one of them at times, when I had somewhere to go, that group of tourists walking slowly down the middle of the sidewalk: problem. But see, I fell in love with NYC 3 months after 9/11. I walked the streets with my dad on cold December days as we said our last goodbyes to my grandfather at his funeral (his death was not 9/11-related). And the city was still vibrant and moving on. Is this storm the same as a terrorist attack? Not at all. But New York City is one of the most resilient cities I’ve seen. And that’s one of the reasons why I love it.
I was fortunate to miss the giant snow storm in 2010, I was home in warm AZ, but when I got back there were piles of trash leftover. It was gross, but frozen so it didn’t stink, and slowly but surely the crews picked it up. I actually just thought about the trash that’s probably floating around Manhattan now…ok, I can’t keep that image in my mind. But my point is: the city is going to suck for a few days, and I’m sure I’d have no battery left in my laptop or phone soon, but I’m sure I would complain a bit, but be figuring out what to do next. How to fix what needed to be fixed. How to help people out.
Those 5 years in NYC changed my life, for the better, for one, I grew into the adult that I am now. I made amazing friends. I started to realize what I want to do in my life. I met my husband. I ate amazing food. I tried to take advantage of everything the city had to offer. So while I’m following the storm and its aftermath, my heart and mind are in NYC. I can’t help it. It became my 2nd hometown over those years, I can’t wait to go back, and I wish I could be there tomorrow with some power and food to help people out. So while I may not be there in person, I’m thinking of you NYC, especially through this recovery. Friends: I am glad to know that you are safe, thank goodness for the Internet and smartphones.
Love you New York, until next time, stay safe. We’ll be back as soon as we can.