One year ago Sandy completely devastated my city.
I assumed the hurricane warning was another hyped up storm warning(like Irene) and didn't put much thought into preparing. I was sitting in the coffee shop in my building and the manager politely told me it was time to pack up because they were closing for the storm. My waterfront apartment building was being evacuated and I was told by the police that they couldn't “force you” to leave, but they would be cutting the heat and power and barricading the doors, leaving you trapped. So I gathered up a few things and headed to my boyfriend's apartment in Manhattan to weather the storm.
We never lost power so we continued to watch the news. It basically seemed like a windy rain storm, but we stayed inside, like the news said to do. As soon as it was over I headed out. I was a bit stir crazy from being trapped inside for 36-ish hours and eager to get some fresh air. I bundled up and prepped myself to walk the six miles back to my apartment in Brooklyn. As soon as I left his apartment I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Streets were empty, almost everything was closed, trees and wires were down. I managed to find an open bodega and grabbed a coffee for my long walk back. I headed downtown, towards the Williamsburg Bridge, going in the opposite direction of all the other people walking.
The power was off below 40th Street, so everyone was walking uptown towards food and power. I actually had someone ask where I bought my coffee, and when I said that I got it uptown they actually offered to buy my half drank cup of coffee. I walked along the FDR – a highway that is closed to pedestians. There were abandoned cars, overturned vending machines, extreme flooding and so much other damage.
I finally made it home and my apartment was completely fine. My block was flooded but the building was basically undamaged.
I was extremely blessed and lucky. So many people lost their homes and all of their possessions. I was fortunate to have someone take me in during the storm, but others were not. Shelters were set up but they were overcrowded and some elderly people were afraid(or unable) to leave their homes, leaving them trapped with power for days on end with nowhere to go.
After the storm, I ended up volunteering out in the rockaways. People donated food and supplies and I was one of the people that went around delivered the supplies. People were overwhelmingly grateful just to have a blanket, some water and snacks, but I still felt like it wasn't enough and I wish I could have done more.
Flooding surrounding my apartment building.
New York is a tough city. A year later and we're back on our feet. I moved here 7 years ago and never looked back. I'm proud to call myself a New Yorker and I can't wait to run through each of the five bouroghs on Sunday. Even if it takes me 7 hours to finish the marathon I'm going to appreciate how fortunate I am – the fact that I can run, I'm healthy, I'm gainfully employed, I have food and a roof over my head – every step of the way