Into the Darkness – Our Hurricane Sandy Blackout
*Please excuse the quality of the photos. They’re all a bit blurry, even the daytime ones.*
I can’t really complain too much about our experience with Hurricane Sandy compared to countless others. We made out pretty well. My friend Kaisa was with me for Hurricane Irene, so she came over again for this one. Dr. Awesome is usually away either on vacation or conferences when huge storms decide to happen here, but this time he was around.
As the hurricane started, we went out on the balcony to see how much the wind had picked up. It seemed that every time we went outside, the gusts died down. But as you can hear toward the end of the video, I give a giggle because I was getting pushed a bit by the wind (and you can hear Kaisa faintly in the background telling me to get inside).
I came back inside and watched the news. If you didn’t think those winds were strong, here’s some evidence: a crane at the top of a new luxury building blew over and was dangling because of the gusts.
Everything was still pretty normal. Having experienced Irene, I was slightly disappointed that this one would probably be the same. Actually, I really shouldn’t say disappointed, but more just waiting with anticipation and nothing happening.
Of course, that’s when things started happening.
Kaisa was doing work in the bedroom and Dr. Awesome and I were in the living room playing a video game. The lights flickered for a second, and I had thought that was probably going to be the worst. Then, everything went dark. But something was weird – everywhere around us, slightly uptown and downtown, was pitch black. It was really unsettling.
Got to love the flash.
View from the balcony towards Union Square. That building with the peak is the Con-Ed building.
Facing downtown. You can see the Freedom Tower is still lit. That didn’t last too long.
We had the windows open slightly, so we could hear the rain and wind really going. But then, we all heard someone yelling out on the street. At first we weren’t sure what the guy was saying, but then we heard it loud and clear: “HELP ME!” We all looked at each other and went outside, trying to see where the guy was, but that was no use. We tried yelling down to see if he would answer us, but the wind was too strong. Dr. Awesome shined his flashlight down at the street and wanted to go down and help him, but we couldn’t see where he was. We just kept hearing him. Luckily, people in the building across the way were able to start some sort of conversation with him and in about 3 minutes, a police car and an ambulance came and took care of the situation. I still have no idea what happened. He could’ve gotten caught outside with all the lights out and couldn’t see where he was going; he could’ve gotten hit badly by debris. I’ll never know. I’m just glad that he was attended to quickly. I’ll never forget his screams though. It’s a bit haunting. I think for all of us, that’s when the storm became something serious and dangerous.
After being a bit emotionally drained from that ordeal, we tried watching some trashy shows on Kaisa’s laptop, careful not to waste all her battery. It was a lost cause and decided to go to bed.
At some point before the blackout, a Con-Ed transformer blew up because of the east river flooding it. I thought I had seen a flash of something, but heard no explosion. That’s when all the lights went out.
We woke up with the power still off and decided that we needed to try getting in touch with our friends who lived uptown. Luckily my phone was able to send text messages. Dr. Awesome and I were going to stay with our friend Jason up near Columbia, right where Dr. Awesome works, and Kaisa was going to stay in midtown with our friend Ginger, who was near where she worked. My work had no power the whole week, so I was free and clear.
All packed up.
Our empty, sad fridge.
It was so weird once we got outside (there were no emergency lights in our hallway or stairwell, so that was interesting). There was tree debris everywhere and no traffic lights were working. We had to be pretty careful crossing the streets, but the cars were pretty good with that. It was so quiet and the wind had died down a ton. Once we crossed the power grid, somewhere around Flat Iron, everyone had their cell service back. And then it started down pouring. Luckily, we decided to cross the street and go under some scaffolding. That’s when someone got out of a taxi and we were able to hop right in. We were very lucky. Needless to say, no subways were running.
It was so weird to be uptown, where nothing had really happened (other than a lot of downed trees). Students were taking photos of soaked newspapers, which I didn’t get. If they wanted to see what was going on, they had to walk downtown and see what was happening in other parts of New York. Life went on uptown as downtown was at a standstill. It was nice to read on various media outlets that local restaurants, etc. were trying to help and feed everyone who stayed down there.
Dr. Awesome and I were displaced from Tuesday to Saturday morning. Like I said, in the grand scheme of things, we were very lucky. We had a great place to stay with lots of food and company.
On our last night uptown, we all decided to take a jaunt downtown and see what was going on.
Con-Ed taking over Union Square.
A ransacked grocery store. It was closed.
A photo of that apartment building that lost its whole front. Crazy.
We made our way back uptown and learned that the lights had come back on. Such a great feeling to know that we could go back home and try to have life get back to normal.
I can’t even imagine if this storm was stronger than it was. This category 1 did so much damage, it’s unbelievable. I know people who JUST got power back about 2-3 days ago. This happened on October 29. Then we had a blizzard.
Life, at least for me, has gone back to its normal routine. All the subways are working, other train lines are all back up and running, and I go to work.
I’m very lucky.