Friday, 2 November 2012

To Hoboken and NYC with Love

It's Day 3 post Hurricane Sandy and I have finally just got internet back.  As you know this is a lifestyle blog and I rarely document personal experiences other than "I think this is super cute", but this week has genuinely been one of the most surreal experiences of my life and I have been so moved by not only what I have seen with my own eyes but also the images that I was able to access before my internet went bye bye.

I have a great view of Manhattan from my apartment.  Only this week everything is in darkness from below the Empire State Building.  That in itself is completely unreal and something I will only ever experience once in this lifetime.  One of the most iconic cities in the World has been completely paralysed by Monday night's storm and although the winds didn't feel as frightening as I had imagined them to, the flooding was definitely beyond anything in my wildest dreams.

On Sunday night myself and two others went for a wander along the Hudson from Newport, Jersey City to Hoboken, approximately five minutes.  The water had begun to rise already and Hoboken train tracks were submerged in water.  The wind was blustery, Hoboken was like a ghost town, most of the main strip and especially the waterfront were closed and safely tucked up with bags upon bags of sand but the bars were still buzzing.  There was an odd atmosphere and it was almost reminiscent of Christmas Eve.  Everyone was preparing for their day home from work and there was a sense of festivity.  We were amazed, being out-of-towners we just couldn't comprehend any of this.  For want of a better word, there was definitely an excitement about it all and I mean that with so much respect to those that have been less fortunate than us in this storm.  We were completely ignorant to the potential devastation and were just intrigued at all the different signs on retailers doors and windows referencing the forthcoming storm.  One announcing " Come get your fresh bagels before Sandy does!"

By Monday afternoon the 6pm curfew had been brought forward for us, with immediate effect.  A street just two blocks away from me was already filling up with water and winds had gained speed dramatically.  From 6pm  we sat watching CNN waiting for Sandy's landfall only to realise that our apartments were surrounded by water that was growing by the second.  Newport was flooded for as far as you could see, we were plunged into darkness for a short while but this was soon rectified.  Announcements were made over the apartment's tanoy system that water had entered the building and the elevators would now be shutdown.  The windows rattled, the mayor of Hoboken expressed her shock at how far the water had travelled in her town and we sat speaking to family or loved ones via phone or Facebook until the storm made it impossible.  An eerie silence fell amongst us as CNN announced that there was no no way in or out of New York City.

Just hours later the water had gone but Newport was trashed.  Stores, restaurants, the mall and much more were closed for water damage.  Some have begun work straight away, others sit neglected, even my beloved Starbucks.  Our transit system has been debilitated with little news of when this will be reinstated, one rumour suggesting 7-10 days, another a month.  The Ferry will be our mode of transport for now, but only running from monday-friday means the weekends will see us living very much as we have done this week, marooned in Jersey City.  Unable even to wander along to the wrecked Hoboken, that is unfortunately still flooded.  I have been inundated with messages saying how sad it is to see NYC in it's current state but truth is I have no idea what it's like.  I've been here, looking across at a darkened Manhattan with no internet or tv to inform me of my city's going ons.  Tomorrow shall definitely be eye opening but I'm already pretty certain that some of my favourite places in lower Manhattan will be gone for some time.

If you're a local then I believe, Hoboken especially, are looking for volunteers and as soon as I can get there I plan to.  For further information please see their facebook page here.

Sending my love to Hoboken and NYC and all the other cities, towns and countries that were affected by the storm, some even worse so with little money to rectify.  

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