My apologies in advance for this long-winded posting. I just wanted to write about the experience, especially now that it's over for us.
Thanks for posting the videos. I wish I had gone out and filmed, but I did manage to get some photos the next day. We were too freaked out to go very far during the storm. I was taking it all pretty lightly till I heard several explosions and saw a gigantic ball of blue flame a few blocks away at the ConEd plant. Shortly after that, our power went out and didn't come back till late this afternoon. We also lost cell phone reception, heat, and hot water. Our poor dog was shaking and hiding the whole time. She won't go in the house, so we took her out after things died down a little. My partner was afraid a tree would fall on us or someone would jump us since it was so dark outside...and the more nervous he got the more nervous he made me.
It was hard to find out what was going on in the rest of the city for most of the week and we relied on the radio for news. All-in-all, we were pretty fortunate. Right after the power went out, I was able to call my parents and tell them I was okay and sent an e-mail to my boss saying I didn't think I'd be able to work for a few days (I work from home). After that, we lost cell phone reception. We were lucky to find a food truck that let us recharge our phones on Wednesday, and ConEd gave out free bags of ice. We made it through the week without any food going bad, and I would cook while it was light and then we'd re-heat it later. It was weird taking our dog out at night since there were no lights and no traffic lights. One of my neighbors called it "urban camping" which was pretty apt. Some of our neighbors have electric stoves and couldn't cook, and other people I talked to lost water completely. I'd see people filling up buckets of water at opened fire hydrants in Alphabet City. Yesterday, we found an elderly neighbor digging through the trash for food. She told me some was still cold and she knew it was good. She asked me to carry the bag back to her apartment for her. It was very heavy, and I have no idea how she would have gotten it to the second floor. She said the food was for her dog, and I pretended to believe her. I went and got some canned food we had and gave it to her - I said we were trying to get through our food before it spoiled and that she'd be doing us a favor by taking it.
Once the buses and were running and the subways were partially running, we were able to go to the Upper West Side during the day and recharge our electronics from a friend's apartment, and I was able to get some work done. It took 1 1/2 hours each way, using a combination of bus, subway, cab, and walking. On the first day, we passed by a building where the entire facade had been torn off, and you could see into people's apartments.
After I finished working today, I went to a gym in the area and enjoyed a nice hot shower (I had been boiling water on the stove and taking sponge baths). I was thrilled when my partner called and said our power was back on because we didn't expect it till Saturday evening or Sunday. I took the crowded train to Penn Station and walked the 22 blocks and 6 avenues home, figuring the buses would be jam-packed at rush hour. As I walked home, some areas had power and others were still dark. It's eerie seeing buildings like the Flatiron with no lights.
We walked around on Tuesday surveying the damage and taking photographs, and ended up at the East River. I went jogging there the next day and saw the entire wreckage - so many trees were destroyed. The trees can be replanted, but so many people, especially in Staten Island, lost their lives during the storm. However, New Yorkers are resilient and resourceful, and somehow we managed to make it work. Here's some pics from Tuesday:
A playground at the East River park:
More East River park:
And, a sign of life in an uprooted tree: