Love Letter

When I moved to New York City as a single young stallion umpteen years ago, the last thing on my mind was the possibility of being engulfed in a hurricane. Mugged? Flat broke? Long, long periods of time without the kind favours of a girl? Yes, yes and yes. All that happened. But a hurricane? No way. It just goes to show you; you think you have all the angles and possibilities accounted for but it turns out you’re just a punk who can’t tell art from a fart.

Back home, our power inexplicably came back on after only two days. Jersey Central Power and Light pulled a Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope. They said it would take 7-10 days and did it in only two. Now they look like Gods. The fact that we live near a hospital might have helped. The juice is only flowing to a small enclave of houses. Many are still in the dark. Mrs. Wife has hosted an unending parade of people who stopped over to charge their electronics, use our shower and get a hot meal. School is closed until the 13th so she’s also minding a gaggle of children whose parents both work and cannot take time off. That woman is a SAINT, I tell ya.

A large swath of Manhattan is still without power. My morning commute takes me in through the Lincoln Tunnel. Just before disappearing underground, I’m treated to a spectacular sweeping view of Manhattan. Currently, there’s a demarcation line right around 23rd Street. North of that line, the lights of Broadway are burning bright. South of that, it’s pitch black. It looks like a big budget sci-fi horror show. The New York City Marathon has been cancelled, which is a pretty BIG DEAL out here. People arrived from all over the world to run. Now there’s no reason for them to get out of bed early Sunday morning.

Instead of posting pictures of the destruction, of which I have plenty in my iPhone and which I’m sure you’re sick of seeing, I’ve decided to post this video. I recorded it a week before the storm. A love letter to my poor, broken city. Autumn in Central Park. A gentle saxophone plays while tourists stroll and take pictures. The musician sways. A reflection in the water.

14 thoughts on “Love Letter

  1. Glad you guys came out of Sandy ok! Funny thing is, in Houston, we worry about Hurricanes EVERY year, from June till December. Can’t say that I ever expected one to do so much damage to NY and NJ. Hope things return to normal very soon! And God bless your wife! Kindest regards, Jim

  2. An excellent description of the aftermath UB, it conjured up images of Kurt Russell under the guise of ‘Snake’ Plissken battling through the ravaged streets.Console yourself with the thought that some places in the south of England look that way without first enduring a storm!

  3. I hope your neighbours give you a title for sharing your power with them. ‘The Watt-giver’, ‘The Charger’, ‘The Socket’ – take your pick. I like your video clip – 5 seconds into it, a girl with a big butt prances away from her friend to pose for a picture. Should have got a close up of her.

  4. It’s the seemingly “small” things that should take headlines. Not the greedy bastards complaining that they’ve been in a gas queue for 90 minutes. Not the thieves who are looting stores and empty homes.The people like the taxi driver who only charged his 5 passengers $15 (that’s $3 each!) for a trip from down near Lower Manhattan to up beyond Broadway.And the people like you and Mrs Wife, recharging appliances and minding kids.GB is right. I hereby dub thee Sir Socket of Charger.

  5. map: Thanks for the song. Who doesn’t need that?! And she is a pistol, isn’t she?Richard: A hurricane is the LAST thing on our minds up here. Lots of other horrors but rarely that. Thanks for the ping.Chef: The storm did not rob me of my perspective, thankfully. As bad as it is here, it’s not post-Kartina New Orleans. You can always find someone worse off than yourself.GB: If this goes on much long, I’m thinking about supplementing my income by charging them to use my services. What do you think of that?dinah: I’m happy to report that, overall, people are behaving themselves. Humanity can surprise me with its unexpected show of kindness.

  6. We used to call it the wartime spirit when hardship and disaster brings out the best in people. Mre UB would have been a star.A Mrs Miniver – and you are Walter Pigeon:)

  7. After Ike blew across the midwest, many folks here were without power for almost 2 weeks. It was friendly, and there was a lot of ‘good neighbor’ stuff going on. Glad you are getting back to normal. The Boy is still out there, trying really hard to keep eejits from playing with downed power lines, and discovering that the having a lot of money may, in fact, turn people into arrogant, entitled assholes. Mrs. Wife for President! That’s how it ought to be done, sister!

  8. I’m glad that it seems to have brought out the best in some people and that you had a chance to help others who are still in the dark.In a perverse sort of what which I hope doesn’t sound tasteless, I bet the tourists who were caught up in it are having a very interesting time now, watching the place recover, with the kind of unintended rare scenes that you describe and which as Chef Files suggests, look quite cinematic.Anyway, glad there is a light at the end of the tunnel… or at least in your living room!

  9. daisy: My bride also washed a TON of laundry for people. How do you like them apples? How did she end up with a crusty old grump like me? Opposites attract.looby: It’s not perverse at all. Those tourists are having the vacation of a lifetime. And another positive? The construction industry, which has been on the ropes for years out here, is about to enjoy a boom.

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