A Tale of Two Cities: NYC After Hurricane Sandy

New Yorkers woke up this morning to blue skies.

The sunshine was a welcome sight, although clouds rolled back in pretty quickly.

NYC after the storm is a tale of two cities.  Neighborhoods like mine in upper Manhattan had no flooding, no power outages, and withstood the brunt of the storm with relatively little damage. Sure, I heard about a neighbor’s window that shattered in the middle of the storm, and as I posted yesterday, trees are down and businesses and buildings have suffered wind damage. Clean-up is underway.

Fixing the scaffolding above Cascabel Taqueria.

A little over a mile south of here, an enormous tree is apparently still down on Columbus Avenue behind the Museum of Natural History. Due to recent foot surgery, I can’t get out and take photos beyond my narrow home range, but I have it on good authority. But in general, the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights are intact, lively and functioning well. (For more, visit my local on-line newspapers, West Side Rag and My Upper West.)

We’re even getting ready for Halloween.

A firefighter prepares for Halloween on 108th Street and Broadway.

But lower-lying parts of the city remain without power and even, in many cases, without cell phone coverage.  We have no idea how many people, elderly or disabled, are trapped in high-rise apartment buildings with no way out except the stairs. As the hours and days mount, people may run low on water, food and other supplies. Click the photo below for a link to Gothamist’s article, Outrage in the Powerless Zone: A Dispatch from Lower Manhattan.

A destroyed car near the Jacob Riis Houses on Manhattan’s Lower East Side (photo: Jonathan Maimon/Gothamist.com.)

NYC bloggers are remarkable sources of information on neighborhoods around the city.

On Coney Island, the amazing Tricia Vita writes Amusing the Zillion, which is all Coney all the time. Tricia reports that the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel are standing strong, despite harrowing winds and a five-foot storm surge.  Browse Amusing the Zillion for photos, stories and video. Surf Avenue, Mermaid Avenue and Neptune Avenue were all underwater during the storm, and Mama Burger, the iconic figure atop Paul’s Daughter’s restaurant on the Boardwalk, seems to have been swept away.

Mama Burger in calmer days.

Mama Burger’s burger has been spotted on 15th Street, but Mama herself remains missing. Come back, Mama Burger, come back. Tricia writes: “If you find her please contact Paul’s Daughter at 917-607-4960 or via Facebook.”

Also in Brooklyn is Matthew Wills of Backyard and Beyond, a blog documenting the surprising diversity of nature in the city. Matthew writes life forms ranging from the fungus among us (today’s post), to wasps, birds and horseshoe crabs. He’s as likely to write about a ladybug or tiny spider found in his home as to travel the city to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jamaica Bay, Prospect Park and Four Sparrow Marsh.

The Lo-Down provides news from the Lower East Side, where floodwater from the East River reached beyond Avenue C.

And back uptown on the east side nature beat, Bruce Yolton of UrbanHawks.com photographs Pale Male, NYC’s venerable Fifth Avenue red-tailed hawk, and his ill-fated mates for years now.  Bruce reports that Pale Male has weathered the storm just fine, although as of yesterday’s post, Bruce hadn’t yet seen his mate or his fledglings.

More later from upper Manhattan.

Unicef boxes await ghouls and goblins.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2012, Birds, Fall, In the City, Seasons, Wildlife/Natural History

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6 Comments on “A Tale of Two Cities: NYC After Hurricane Sandy”

  1. mthew Says:

    A curious thing: in some case, neither land line or cell phones are ringing with in-coming calls but working otherwise.

    Personally, I was most struck by the dark coastline of New Jersey across the harbor from the Brooklyn Promenade. Darkened buildings of Lower Manhattan were still quite visible because of ambient light etc., but Jersey City and environs were completely dark across the water. Beyond, further into NJ, there were islands of light flowing upwards, like fires on the distant plain.


    • Poor New Jersey. And as for phone coverage, it has indeed been weird, even from up here in the powered zone. Sometimes a call doesn’t go through the first time it’s placed, then goes through just fine moments later. Not complaining! Just sayin’.


  2. I lost power just after I read your last blog post on Monday night. The last 3 days have been an experiment in how to live resourcefully without electricity. It’s been eye-opening and enjoyable actually. One discovery that surprised me about myself relates to your comment about A Tale of Two Cities. Those who have power, so to speak, and those who have not. Some friends of mine recently got their electricity restored. Upon hearing about it, I was surprised to have mixed-feelings about it! Happy for my friends, and yet a little jealous of them! Over electricity! Who’d have ever thunk it.

    By the way, I am able to respond to you right now by the grace of my very supportive friends who are letting me use their electricity and internet access. I am very lucky. And grateful. ;-)


  3. Same here on the Upper East Side—no major damage. Like night and day compared to downtown…


    • Last night, my husband & son drove downtown to check on my mother. They described it being downright eerie down there in the dark with no one out on the streets. This morning, power was restored in some parts of lower Manhattan, although not yet above Vecsey Street.


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