The New York that got away: Hurricane Sandy spares parts of Northern Brooklyn
Hurricane Sandy hit New York after 6pm on Monday, 29th October, 2012. Every report focused on the destruction set to be unleashed on the city, a natural disaster affecting “the modern Babylon – New York”. The worst storm to hit in 70 years, the signs were apocalyptic.
However, what I experienced was very different from what the media was showing.
I live in Bedford-Stuyesvant, a neighbourhood in northern Brooklyn. It’s not too near the water that wreaked havoc on the city, but it’s not too far either.
After days of warnings, on cue the wind started blasting harshly at around 4-5pm, accompanied with a light rain that persisted all night. I decided to stay home, despite invitations to a number of “hurricane parties” and my roommate going for a drive here and there from time to time. The subway was down, as well as all the bridges, but he kept driving occasionally from one place to another. I’m not sure if I was scared, cautious or just too lazy to go with him.
My roommate returned laden with photos of flooded scenes in nearby Red Hook, and, comparing them to another photo on Twitter, concluded: “See, it’s not that bad, if you look at the other photo it looks much more flooded. It’s the angle of the picture…”
I agreed with him, but decided to stay home, just in case, and to put all my documents and electronics in one garbage bag lifted high, just in case. Then I lay comfortably on my bed and continued watching a movie. The entire time I had both internet and electricity.
From my apartment it all looked pretty calm. I even had the window open a little bit for some fresh air. Yes, it was blustery and you could hear the wind, but in the part of New York where I live it wasn’t that bad. Some delis were working, and one of my neighbours even took his dog out (which we later discovered could have been very dangerous as two people were killed walking their dog in Ditmas Park, a nearby area of Brooklyn).
Looking out of my window now, I can see people walking down the streets as though we were in a different world to the rest of New York.
I don’t want to say that the disasters and the destruction around New York City didn’t happen – people all over the world saw the fallen facade of the building on 14th Street and 8th Avenue and over 80 devastated by flooding and fire houses in Breezy Point (one of the finest beaches in New York). The truth is that Sandy did irreparable damage to many areas and, more seriously, many lives. However, it is also important to know that not all of New York was like that and in some neighbourhoods, like mine, Sandy passed through almost unnoticed.
The only destruction I actually saw around me is the fallen fence in our backyard.