New York City is having none of this shit.
Even in the middle of the hurricane there were shops open at 2am. And yesterday morning, the people took to the streets. Everyone was out in force, knocking back takeaway coffee, scurrying around with deli takeaways, blinking in the light. They sidestepped fallen trees, braved the NY traffic (no traffic lights) and sang out of tune in candlelit bars.
Today even more stores are open. Restaurants, cafes, bars – each one jammed with people charging their laptops and phones. There are even nightclubs gearing up for post-hurricane parties. Although Burger Joint, where we were going to go tonight (after days of candle-lit pasta and now toxic cheese) is currently evacuated on account of the massive great big crane dangling into the street from the side of a construction site nearby. So we’re still looking for somewhere to eat that isn’t our depressing, pitch-black apartment. But still. Things are picking up, fast. It’s quite extraordinary to witness.
The pictures have been truly shocking. I saw shots of the submerged subway today – they made me gasp, but of course nothing is so harrowing as the scenes from Queens where it looks like a nuclear holocaust is in progress. I believe forty lives have been reported lost already and I’m quite sure it’ll get worse. I’ll say it again: we were lucky. Really lucky. Reports from the Lower East Side suggest that it’s become feral and lawless; our neighbourhood, on the other hand, is literally crawling with cops.
But it’s impossible to describe the extent of the clean-up operation. I keep trying to imagine what it must be like being Bloomberg right now but I can’t. It’s just unfathomable, New York in this state. If I were Bloomberg I’d probably have holed myself up in a bakery to panic-binge on cupcakes. It’s lucky I’m not the Mayor.
The show must go on. And on it goes. The Executive Director of the company who’ve kindly invited me and The Man in to charge our batteries and connect with the outside world (some people do have power – and they’re only three blocks from us, dammit) took four hours to get here. But she got here. There were fights on her bus; she had to walk 60 blocks, but she arrived by lunchtime. The subway is apparently going to start tomorrow, in spite of the havoc wreaked (look at the pictures in the link above… Look!) and the MOMA and Met museums are open to welcome the thousands of tourists wandering around in shock, pointing their Nikons at police cars and emergency generators and fallen trees.
As I said, New York is not having this shit. New York is marching on. I love this bloody city. It’s made of tougher stuff than Sandy.
So. I’m off to find a burger. I’ll report back tomorrow.
PS. Thanks for all the tweets, emails, facebook messages and other concerned communications. I’m sorry I’ve not replied to all of them. I was trying to get through to my Mum. But I’m safe. It’s not been fun but in comparison to many, we’ve had it easy.