Sunday, August 28, 2011

#16 The Week of Mother Nature Drama

Well, my friends, I had planned to do my blog once a week, but it seems I was out of touch for a good chunk of time. I have my reasons. I will not go into them now, perhaps if you come visit, we can discuss them over a Cosmo and dinner, but for now, I say greetings and what a week of Hell I have observed in NYC!
Now, you notice that I didn't say "experienced a week of Hell", because, by my normal standards, these past days have been interesting, not life threatening or really stressful. Let's start with the earthquake. Now, as things go, a 5.08 quake is perky, noticeable and usually forgettable. Something about being on bedrock makes such an event in NYC feel more powerful. I was happily typing away answering e-mails, Tuesday around 2pm, when I said to myself, "Self, there seems to be a REALLY large truck rumbling by on 3rd Avenue. Now that would have to be a super tanker for me to notice, as I am on the 20th floor, but it took all of 10 seconds for me to realize that there was no truck and another 20 seconds to fully appreciate the deep vibrations that rumbled through the Earth and made it all the way up to my apartment. Quite a feat if you think about it and much longer that the real quakes I have lived through in Cali. I instantly remembered that there was an earthquake in NYC perhaps 4 years ago and recalled that I was sitting at my desk at the Park Street Business Association wishing I was in NYC. Here I was, reliving an oddity of East Coast Nature, and I was delighted. Well, delighted after I assessed the level of danger and saw it as nil.
Within 3 nanoseconds The internet was abuzz with earthquake news and jokes. I love the internet! There are some funny people out there and they make me laugh. I will have you know that I fully participated in the banter and a good time was had by all.
Now, on to the hurricane. Bitch Irene, as we fondly have named her, was hyped big time. Wednesday, right after the press about the quake had died down, the articles and chatter about Irene started. I was even looking forward to the hullabaloo, because I was hopeful no one would show up on Broadway in the rain. I could maybe win the WICKED lottery, which I have lost often lately, but no, that was not to happen. On Friday Mayor Mike decided to shut down the Subways at Noon on Saturday, thereby assuring the entire city would close including all the theaters. Now, he was expecting the storm to hit around midnight, but he needed to err on the side of caution, so he did. How are people going to get home to the far reaches of the city if there are no Subways? He was correct. I was not happy, but I am not the mayor and I am a selfish brat.
I spent Saturday morning out walking taking observations of preIrene. Times Square was empty of most people, except the poor tourists who had no place to go because all stores and restaurants (even Starbucks and McDonalds) were closed. The T-shirt shops were open, to be sure.
I was compelled to leave by about 1, well after the trains had stopped, but I was distracted by the large number of tourists on 5th avenue and the high end jewelry stores that were open. That was interesting. I walked home in a gentle rain and by the time I got there it was getting dark.
Nothing much but rain until about midnight when the wind got going. The building creaked a bit around 3am, but really, it was so uneventful that I fell asleep a few times waiting for the roaring. Now I say that from real experience, as I did spend a rather unpleasant night under a dining room table in St Thomas while a real hurricane was making mischief some time in the 70's. It was terrifying, I must admit.
While Bitch Irene was wet, she was not as wild as I had expected her to be. We were lucky not to lose electrical power, that would have been nasty, there was water damage and flooding around the edges of the city. This morning, on my walk about to check things out, I found that lots of branches and leaves had been tossed around, but no broken glass storefronts. Around 9 in the morning, well after the storm had passed through, a large tree fell on 17th Street, half a block away. It took out 2 cars and was of much interest to the neighbors, who were happy to be able to get out of their apartments and talk about Irene. The NYPD proved valiant and took chain saws out of their trunks and cut that tree up into fire wood. It went down because of a shallow rootball and soaked ground.
That's all to report on NYC this week. Oh, one more thing. I met Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson) last week. She was charming and told good stories.
I will report on my adventures in a more regular fashion from now on. I promise. TTFN

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