Monday, November 5, 2012
A Week After Sandy
New York City Bus service is back to normal and the city’s subway service is nearly fully restored, thus my morning commute was a little more normal than it was last Friday. School was back in session for the first time in a week, which meant that I had students preparing to take the GED. Fortunately, the classroom I teach in had been thoroughly cleaned and repaired after Sandy damaged it.
A new employee reported to work today, her first day of work postponed a few days because of Sandy. She lives in Far Rockaway, except now she is staying with friends near Jamaica, Queens because her home is still without power. Other members of her family are living in two other places other than home. She spoke of having flood water in her basement, the water now pumped out, and the contents of the basement thrown out. She described the eeriness of dark, quiet nights associated with her neighborhood being powerless, and planning to go home tomorrow to vote, although she is not sure where she will have to vote. She described the presence of the American Red Cross, FEMA, the National Guard, and other relief and emergency responders, grateful for their presence.Local media (a New Yorker never really knows what is local and national when it comes to media) makes it clear that there are still sections of the New York City without power. At least one subway tunnel under the East River is still partially flooded. People are still lining up for gasoline but we are promised that the situation will ease within a couple days. I still have half a tank in the car, filled up the Saturday night before the hurricane. The mayor’s office estimates that twenty to forty thousand New Yorkers have been left homeless due to Sandy and FEMA knows that in our urban environment, mobile homes will not even be a temporary solution. My wife and I have offered to share our warm home with two different people whose homes are cold and without power, but both have chosen to remain where they are.
Meanwhile, a Nor’easter has the disaster zone in its sight, threatening winds up to fifty miles per hour, heavy rain, and snow inland and perhaps even near the coast as early as Wednesday and no later than Thursday.I am tempted to write that life in New York City will eventually return to normal, maybe in a few weeks or months, at least for some if not many, but I think New York City and Normal is an oxymoron when used in the same sentence.