Hurricane Irene hit New York yesterday. I was a bit concerned on Friday and Saturday, after reading about the preparations I needed to make. I found a big flashlight in my closet that my mom gave me years ago, and it had working batteries, but I went to six stores without success in finding extra D batteries to keep on hand. I thought I had it nailed down when I heard that one CVS was getting a shipment on Saturday at 10am… but when I arrived at 9:45am, they were already wiped out again. Duracell and Energizer sure made bank this weekend!
Luckily, when checking out my stationery/odds and ends drawer for a reading light, I hit the jackpot: a small flashlight (which took AA batteries), two dozen AA batteries (I tested them), two D batteries, and… a cowbell. Because when you’re in a hurricane, the only thing you need is more cowbell. (Or a rape whistle, according to the various lists I found around the web for what should be packed in your “go bag”).
Other hurricane necessities involved a trip to the library (books, books, and more books!), lots of DVRing, and lots of cooking. I made batches of both lentil salad and chickpea salad (as seen in my suggestion to Greatist blog’s How to Stay Healthy in a Hurricane), reasoning that they’d keep at room temperature, be tasty at room temperature, and also be extremely healthy. As a backup plan (and not fulfilling the “extremely healthy” criteria), I also picked up some bread and a jar of Nutella. Seriously, if I were ever on Survivor or something, I’d pick a jar of Nutella as my luxury item – super delicious, and high enough in calories to help you survive at least a month!
Unfortunately, my preparations were all for naught. Irene got bored halfway up the coast and fizzled to a tropical storm, which barely rattled my windowpanes by the time she got up to me. I suppose I should be glad that everything was just fine, but mostly I was annoyed that I had spent the night on the not-quite-as-comfortable-as-my-bed futon in my living room (since my bedroom has huge windows that overlook the Hudson River). On the plus side, while I was in Evacuation Zone B, I didn’t have to evacuate like the buildings next to me (which were in Zone A… clearly, my building’s location was more like a B+ than just a plebeian B).
I woke up at 7am, looking excitedly for signs of the storm… but honestly, from my bedroom windows, it just looked like a regular rainstorm. I made coffee, and soon thereafter, was called by a nearby friend who was upset that all the Starbucks shops were closed. In what I thought was an incredibly stupid move, he walked over to my building just to have some of my coffee. I headed downstairs to meet him, refusing to take the elevators (for fear of getting stuck) and packing a flashlight, waterbottle, and protein bars in my purse – just in case. However, after sitting in my lobby and watching the “storm” for a while, I realized there wasn’t much to be afraid of. Still didn’t stop me from using my now-vanquished fear of the elevator as an excuse to hike back up all 19 stories to my apartment – what a workout!
When I got the all-clear from Bloomberg in early afternoon, I immediately headed out for a run along the Hudson to survey the damage. The winds still seemed much stronger than usual right outside my building, so I was still a bit nervous – was it dangerous to be heading down to the river so soon after a hurricane? I figured I’d play it safe and turn back at the slightest sign of danger. Then I got down the steps and saw…
Everyone had come out to gawk, and the river path and piers were even more crowded with people than on a sunny and beautiful day! In fact, the only real change was that instead of 90% of people being either runners or bikers, 90% of people were wearing trendy short shorts and knee high rubber boots – clearly trying to see and be seen. While I had thought that the wind would give me a really good workout, my run actually turned out to be fairly slow going not due to the wind, but due to having to stop for rude groups of people meandering along four or five abreast. Not fun, but neat to say I ran through a tropical storm!
As for the damage? Pretty much the worst I saw was a bit of garbage around the piers at the Boat Basin. Not bad!
Apparently word amongst the Canadian goose population was that the soccer field was the designated safe zone. Unfortunately, not a go bag in sight. While the rest of us were all over the internet and Twitter, laughing at El Bloombito (seriously, the best thing to come out of this storm) but also getting the necessary info, it would seem that equality has not spread to the geese just yet. At least not until someone starts a Twitter account for Mayor Honkberg.