The Sandy 15: Part 2 ‘During’

This is part two of how one can gain 15lbs during a weather disaster. [click here for Part 1]

Part 2

Monday, October 29, continued

Sandy15 hurricane NYC Trader Joe's

These are great…btw

The lights had flickered and though I do have a gas stove top, I thought it best to make a quick dinner before I ended up in the dark. As previously noted, I have a deep seeded fear of starving to death – though have never been out of food – or even in any remote danger of starvation. I decided on a Trader Joe’s frozen turkey burger – quick and easy and would, hopefully, be done before the lights went out.

power outages nyc sandy hurricane

The beginning.

Right around 8:30pm I had heard from my downtown friends that the power was out. Half of Manhattan was in the dark and though the wind was whipping up here, I realized for the first time how lucky I was.

Friends who live outside but near the evacuation zone (Zone A) were now living in the dark as their streets flooded with rushing water.

NYC hurricane Sandy

Washington at 12th St – photo by T Schultz

I clutched a flashlight in one hand and as my windows continued to bow with the pressure, I prayed the winds to stop. And thanked goodness for every watt of electricity that powered my apartment.

By about 12:40am on Tuesday morning the winds had died down a bit and I felt OK about going to bed.

Tuesday, October 30

In the morning, I ventured out for a quick walk. There were passing showers and some wind – but nothing like the day before. Save a few downed trees and some debris in the streets, the upper west side was in really good shape. We were so very lucky.

Downtowners are brave. As noted in several blogs over the past week, they seem cooler, they are more fierce and younger than the typical upper west sider. That said, it was cold and dark downtown. There were no stores open. No traffic lights. No heat. And, we had everything they needed just a walk away.

The migration north was on.

While waiting for our friends to make it uptwown…at about 11:30am something happened. Something good. For just a brief moment, a small hole in the sky cleared and the light bounced off of the clouds that still loomed overhead. And, there was a rainbow – a beacon calling the power-free to the well electrified upper west side.

hurricane sandy rainbow uws

A beacon of hope – the view from my 14th floor apt

As uptowners, we prepared for our guests. I cleaned and made sure I had sheets, towels, water and, of course, wine. [I had gone to 67 St Wines the afternoon before. The line was long, but people were patient.]

Still, I don’t think anyone in the neighborhood was prepared for the influx of people coming to the lucky land of electricity.

Crowded Streets nyc uws abc7

The migration

Once they arrived, the eating frenzy went on…The downtowners were here in full force. We tried to go to Cafe Lux – they had tables available, but not enough staff to serve. We gave PJ Clarke’s a try – but it too was jam packed with people and they told us it could be up to an hour wait for our party of five. Ultimately, we ended up at Shun Lee West and were fortunate to arrive just as they opened the doors at 1:30pm.

Inside, the iconic NYC Chinese restaurant looked like it did on a Lincoln Center Saturday night. Packed with people, waiters bustling to get everyone what they needed.

Shun Lee West nyc

A nighttime crowd at 1:30 on Tuesday

After a lunch of tres fattening grand marnier prawns, crispy beef, some veggies and …wine, we took our guests home and let them settle in.

We passed the afternoon watching the reports. It was so bad and we hadn’t even heard the worst of it yet. The mayor, all three governors (NY, NJ and CT) were holding constant press conferences updating the media on deaths, power outages, floods, rescues etc.

Sandy coverage dominated the airwaves and…we watched. And watched. And watched. All afternoon.

With not much to do, we started strategizing our dinner plans. A lot of the neighborhood restaurants were closed – because although we had electricity, there was still no public transportation and the staff couldn’t get to work. The tunnels and bridges were closed with few exceptions…it was a mess.

Most of the crew of six decided to stay in. We were an equal mix of the UWS residents and the displaced. Two of us though went to my fave Italian spot, Bello Giardino on West 71st. Nick, the owner, had personally driven to pick up each member of his staff and was going to drive them home after the dinner rush.

I love Bello Giardino – it’s a longtime neighborhood spot with a very personal feel. I think Nick knew how important being open would be to his regulars.

Bello Giardino uws

Nicky’s Famous Meatballs

bello giardino uws

Della Nonna Della-Licious

And, we ate. More fat food…I had spaghetti and ‘Nicky’s famous meatballs’ and my downtown guest enjoyed the ravioli della nonna.

No dieting going on. At. All.

We had survived Day 2. The Manhattan displaced were happily entrenched in the warm, electrified safety of uptown.

The downtowners were settling in. There was no news as to when power might be back on.

We watched more coverage…until we just couldn’t watch any more. And, went to bed.

Hurricane Sandy dangling crane


By the way, that crane collapsed in the winds early on in the storm…

……………………………………………….More tomorrow


The Sandy 15: Part 1 ‘Before’

This is the story of how to gain 15lbs in one week of a weather disaster…

Sunday, October 28

It started out innocently enough. Lunch with Sam at a local favorite on a somewhat soggy October Sunday. I had the country salad with a perfectly poached egg on top. Sam, having given up her vegetarianism, had the Luxemburger.

Cafe Luxembourg Frise Salad

Doesn’t the poached egg look a little like Sandy?

We had a few drinks as we read the doomsday warnings in the NY Post and Daily News. The headlines were daunting. They screamed ‘There’s No Place To Hide’ and ‘Play It Safe & Evacuate’ – But since there was no place to hide, we weren’t sure where to evacuate to. We were told it was a ‘Monster Storm’ and wished a ‘Happy Hell-Oween’.

NY Post Hurricane Sandy

There’s NO Place to Hide!

We went item by item down the list of things we were instructed to have in our ’emergency’ kit – some we had, some we didn’t. We had a few questions about the list:

  • Did some loose bandaids and a tube of expired Neosporin count as a ‘First Aid kit’?
  • What am I supposed to do with duct tape even if I did own some?
  • Besides my stock of canned artichoke hearts, what other ‘canned goods’ should I have in my pantry?
  • What’s the conversion between gallons of water and liters of Evian? Evian was on special at the Stop & Shop, so I bought a lot, but I’m not sure I had 1 gallon per person per day. Also, there was no mention of how many days I would need.
  • If I packed a ‘go-bag’ where was I supposed to go…I mean, there was no place to hide from this monster super storm!

While at lunch, we learned that the Mayor had ordered a complete shut down of the City’s subway system at 7pm followed by a complete shut down of the bus system by 9pm. The elimination of public transportation coupled with the doomsday forecasts forced all NYC businesses and schools to announce they would be closed on Monday.

So, there was like no work on Monday….but no way to get out or home to meet people? I knew very early on that Sandy was evil.

Barcibo Enotecca Hurrican Sandy

A-Mazing Meatballs

That night, after Sam caught one of the last subways home, I met some upper west side friends for dinner. First, we went to Barcibo for wine and some amazing meatballs.

Dinner at PJ Clarke’s followed – cheeseburger, duh.

Monday, October 29
The morning arrived and the storm didn’t. I had some toast – might have put butter and peanut butter on it, but can’t remember. That’s what happens after an event like Sandy. You lose track of days and time and specifics…
hurricane sandy sandy15

Tons of water BEFORE the storm

I met friends for a walk. As we strolled along the Hudson River on the west side, we were amazed at the already extremely high level of the water. The waves – yes, there were waves on the Hudson – crashed over and had already created giant puddles on the walkway. The floating docks were pounding into one another. The river was so high that the boat ramps were literally inverted – like going up. And Sandy wasn’t even here yet.
We stopped by The Time Warner Center to see if anything was open and the doors were locked. I looked east and saw a giant crane stretching up into the sky. I said something along the lines of ‘Don’t you think they should have taken down that crane before the storm?‘ My friends thought it would be fine. Still, I was concerned…and snapped this picture:
Crane NYC Hurricane Sandy

Monday Morning

By noon, the winds had picked up and we all went home.
But, I was quickly bored….And decided to venture out one more time before it was too late to venture out at all. ABC7 in New york warned that the storm was growing and speeding up and that very soon stronger winds would be here.
ABC7 wind speed hurricane sandy

Amy Freeze ABC7 forecasting winds…

I walked up CPW and noted the signs posted outside each entrance to Central Park: Park Closed Due To Storm Conditions. I worried about the tents and bleachers that were erected for the NYC Marathon – how would they withstand the winds?

I noted all of the stores that were closed or closing early. I witnessed dozens of people carting bottled water out of Food Emporium. (Food Emporium never closed. Never – amazing).

Every restaurant and bar was closed and it was only 2pm. Even Cafe Luxembourg who the day before promised to be open, was closed. I decided to stroll up Columbus for a few more blocks before giving up and going home. I know, crazy,  I cook and have a lot of food in my apartment…but, the threat of being cooped up there for the next unknown number of days drove me to fight the winds and rain which had started and find a place to eat.

AG Kitchen was open. I hadn’t been there yet and there was one seat at the bar…It was packed. Maybe because it’s relatively new and very good. But most likely because it was the ONLY thing open.

I mixed with the people – sharing stories of preparedness with the couple to my left who lived on a very high floor of an apartment building nearby. Chatting up the pair of building utilities management guys from ABC who had been brought up from DC to help ensure that ABC would have power throughout the storm. I jokingly asked if I could stay at the station if I lost power….they didn’t really get my humor.

Grilled Cheddar and Tomato Soup

pic borrowed from Mariya

I had a pretty decent bowl of roasted tomato soup and grilled cheddar cheese.

I had started comfort food eating…and Sandy had yet to arrive.

At around 2:45pm a tree fell in front of the restaurant blocking the entrance and almost taking out a couple and their dog. Once the manager at AG Kitchen and some other guys got the tree moved. It was time to go home.

I was home in time for the winds to really pick up and the heavier rains to start. I kept in contact with my friends via text or phone – comparing winds and rains and talking about what we thought might happen.

It was bad. Like scary bad. The winds were bowing the windows in my 14th floor apartment. They were literally moving…almost like breathing…like the walls in a haunted house of a scary movie. I called and asked the door guy to check with the super to reassure me that the windows were built to withstand winds of 80 mph and higher. I wasn’t the only panicked resident who called.

The lights flickered…twice.

—————————————————-More tomorrow.