I've been "stuck" in Greenpoint since Sunday night. Of course, I'm hardly stranded - I'm among the luckiest of the "Brooklyn smug" and have power, internet, and access to hard alcohol. But with the subways still shut down, our office closed, and all of my plans canceled, it's hard not to feel just a little bit sorry for myself and stir crazy as I continue to binge-eat all of my provisions. So here are five links that will put things in perspective and make you feel better off/worse about being a brat re: your shuttered Halloween party plans:
1. Brooklynite Jonathan Maimon sent Gothamist an email after running 12 miles through Lower Manhattan, stopping to talk with some of the hundreds of thousands of people - rich and poor, young and old, strong and disabled - who are without power. Some excerpts:
Virtually every retailer, restaurant and grocery store south of 38th street is CLOSED. This is in an area covering 8 square miles. I only observed a handful of bodegas in Soho and the East Village, along with Ben's Pizza on W3rd and MacDougal serving customers. Whole Foods Union Square had a sign reading "because there is no electricity, we cannot open." There is no food, other than what you have in your refrigerator.
For now, this is an economic crisis - hourly workers cannot be paid, freelancers have no clients, small businesses have no sales, office buildings are shuttered. In my estimate, the lost output is $1 billion dollars EVERY SINGLE DAY that goes by without power for lower Manhattan. Included in this number is the shutdown of our major airports and transportation system. (Note that NYC's economy generates $2.8 bn daily and over $1 trillion annually - which makes it the world's 17th largest economy, if it was a country).
2. BuzzFeed has 25 "Before and After" photos of the hurricane's destruction, like this one of Wildwood, New Jersey. Christ.
3. Here's Reuters' David Rohde on how Hurricane Sandy's destruction has revealed just how economically divided NYC is:
Hours before the storm arrived on Monday night, restaurants, corner grocery stores and hotels were open in the Union Square area of Manhattan. (My wife and I moved to a hotel there after being ordered to evacuate our apartment in lower Manhattan.) Instead of heading home to their families as the winds picked up, the city's army of cashiers, waiters and other service workers remained in place.
Divides between the rich and the poor are nothing new in New York, but the storm brought them vividly to the surface. There were residents like me who could invest all of their time and energy into protecting their families. And there were New Yorkers who could not.
Those with a car could flee. Those with wealth could move into a hotel. Those with steady jobs could decline to come into work. But the city's cooks, doormen, maintenance men, taxi drivers and maids left their loved ones at home.
4. The New York Times tracked down the stories of some of the storm's victims, including Jessie Streich-Kest and Jacob Vogelman, two 20-somethings who died after being smashed by three falling trees while walking Jessie's dog. Their bodies weren't found until the next morning. Jack Baumler, an 11-year-old star shortstop Little Leaguer, and his best friend Michael Robson were also killed by a tree that crashed into their sleepover party:
They were watching television, the winds pounding outside, when the hurricane uprooted an enormous tree. It ripped through the roof of the compact cottage. Jack and Michael were killed.
"I lost my son," Ms. Baumler wailed to Danny Seymour, Jack's uncle, as she clasped him. "I lost my son."
Warning: you will cry while reading this. If you're not already.
(Image via AP)