Fiat lux

New York, NY, USA -- 02 November 2012 | Permalink
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I don't generally care for the sound of my own voice, but calling my apartment from Brooklyn, where I was working, and hearing the answering machine pick up made me very happy.

I've spent the last couple of days working at a colleague's house in Brooklyn, where the power is on. My morning commute, on foot across the Manhattan Bridge, is a little longer than my usual one, but it's not a bad walk when the weather is nice. It's certainly much better than trying to go the other way on public transport: the queues in Brooklyn for the subway replacement buses running into Manhattan have been insane, stretching for blocks down Jay Street.

Power in my neighborhood was restored around four or five in the afternoon, but not all Manhattan is lit up yet. After checking on the office hamster, I walked down Broadway. Power on the west side of the street was still out, making for an odd contrast: one side of the street, brightly lit, the other dark. Cross streets on the west side of Broadway were gaping black holes.

Hurricane Sandy for us has been little more than an inconvenience. We've had a few days of washing in cold water and eating by candle light. Thanks to the kindness of friends, we were able to go out of the "dead zone" to work or shower or catch up on news. I've had to walk more than usual. And that's all.

One consequence of being without power or information (lower Manhattan was temporarily rechristened SoPo - "South of Power") during the first few days is that I've only had a worms-eye view of the whole event. I still don't know the full pattern of the damage done by the storm. The pictures coming out of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn such as Red Hook, Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay are frightening. It's clear that we got off very lightly indeed. A few days of trivial discomfort while the engineers and the emergency services rebuilt our city around us, and then life was back to pretty much normal. Other people have not been nearly so lucky.