Escape from New York

Three days and two nights. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Meet Mike at the cor­ner of 31st Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan after the busi­ness part of his trip was fin­ished. Get out of the coun­try, con­nect with a good friend, return with some nice mem­o­ries. That was the plan, but I nev­er caught my plane home.

A day before Hurricane Sandy land­ed, all flights at LaGuardia were can­celled, a theme that would con­tin­ue two more times until the air­line resched­uled my return for Saturday, almost a week longer than I had orig­i­nal­ly planned to stay (and that’s if it’s not can­celled again). Mike made it home to London, Liz and I weren’t so lucky.

They were expect­ing 6–9 feet of water, and we got 14. The pres­i­dent has declared a state of emer­gency. All mass tran­sit is shut down. The rail­road tun­nels are flood­ed. All air­ports are closed. School is out for the whole week. The New York Stock Exchange has been closed for two days straight, some­thing that has­n’t hap­pened since 1888. More than 2.5 mil­lion are with­out pow­er. The death toll is over 100 and count­ing.

Luckily, I have a place to stay. Aside from a brief loss of pow­er, a longer loss of inter­net access, and a few leaks from the ceil­ing, we’re sit­ting pret­ty with run­ning water, heat, and a flush­able toi­let. It’s a lux­u­ry com­pared to what oth­ers are going through at the shel­ters, and I con­sid­er myself for­tu­nate com­pared to those in New Jersey who’ve lost their homes, their pets, their pos­ses­sions, and their lives.

The strange part is that I’ve nev­er met the cou­ple who own this Brooklyn apart­ment. Liz and Mike found them through Roomorama, and they left before the storm hit, leav­ing Liz with the main bed­room and Mike with the guest room. They’ve been gen­er­ous enough to let me stay dur­ing this exten­u­at­ing cir­cum­stance, although the fact that they rent­ed out the guest room to some­one else two days ago means I’ve been rel­e­gat­ed to a nook and mat­tress on the floor. At least it’s cozy, and there’s a spare mat­tress.

Still, I was­n’t pre­pared for this. I’m run­ning out of mon­ey, med­ica­tion, and morale. The only things I brought were a change of clothes, a cam­era, and an iPad. The worst part is the wait. Not hav­ing a com­put­er to be pro­duc­tive, and now a week of can­celled plans. Not hav­ing my cats1 or my gui­tar. Not know­ing when I’ll get out of here. Just wait­ing in a city I hard­ly know, with no way to get around. I can’t be proac­tive; all I can do is be patient.

To keep abreast of the ever-chang­ing sit­u­a­tion, I’ve been watch­ing 24 hour news cov­er­age, hang­ing on the words of Mayor Bloomberg at his live press con­fer­ences for any sign that I may make it out of here.

I came to New York, expect­ing to return home recharged, refreshed, and ready to take on the world. The world decid­ed I was­n’t ready yet.

  1. I left them six days of food, but they go through that in three days when I’m away. A major cri­sis was avert­ed when Aaron found a spare key to my house, and was able to take care of them. The only oth­er per­son with a spare key was Pat, and he just hap­pened to be leav­ing for Cancun on the morn­ing I found out my trip was can­celled. []


  1. Are you still there — I did­n’t even know you were going! Holy crap we hope every­thing is ok!!!

  2. Didn’t know you were actu­al­ly strand­ed. The impor­tant part is your’re safe, and there’s heat , pow­er and water. At times like these it makes you realise what’s most impor­tant in life. What sucks is you’re short on mon­ey and med­ica­tion. Just hang on.

  3. So sor­ry I com­plete­ly missed this whole sec­tion of time for you and could have said some­thing. Was run­ning on emp­ty the whole time and work­breaks (the place I gen­er­al­ly end up get­ting to go through your site) have been nonex­is­tent for WEEKS now. (boss = preg­nan­cy leave tomor­row). Sleeping inef­fec­tive­ly, jet lagged from Seattle, sick a week before that. Pandamonium. The ele­ments fol­lowed my lead, I guess.

    So: Now we can both breathe. Be at home; just found you’re home via Twitter.

    Kitties! DOgs! BED~! Yes!

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