my book of poetry about September 11th, 2001...and after Available NOW at -click here

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Working the Storm - A Diary Entry

My day started with a walk to work on Monday. The trains were not running, so I had little choice, either ride my bike, take a cab, or hoof it. Since I was carrying a bag of gear, and dressed in my foul weather garb, I decided to walk and take a cab if one presented itself. One did not.

After spending the morning making storm preparations,I left the apartment at 1:30 pm and was almost immediately greeted by stiff, gusting winds. The storm was early.

I was photographed by a lone lens-slinger as I leaned into the gale on the Brooklyn Bridge. Got to work after my 2.5 mile trek in Hurricane Sandy none the worse for the wear. Got ready for my regular tour of 18 hours with ERT. Shortly before 3pm the news broke about a crane in trouble over West 57th Street. C Team geared up and responded to the crane and we were next.

I won't give you all the details of the night, suffice to say we were out in the teeth of it. From Morris Park in the Bronx where a tree limb crushed the parapet on a brick home, to a sidewalk shed on 2nd Avenue Manhattan which was systematically being dismantled by the wind, to the facade collapse on 8th Avenue, to Flushing Queens where an entire, robust tree crushed the roof of a frame dwelling killing one of its occupants, to Staten Island where homes were washed from their foundations by the surf. Just a small snapshot of the devastation and havoc wrecked by Sandy.

Power was out downtown, so our elevators were not operational and we walked the seven flights to our squad room a couple of times during the tour which was extended due to the storm coverage. On Staten Island, I chose to show a photo of hope rather than devastation which is documented elsewhere. I wanted to show the effort to respond and restore order, which along with the dramatic rescues by Police, Fire and National Guard, is no less heroic in the face of disaster. Sanitation was removing the debris, Parks was removing trees and Con Ed was there to try and begin to restore power. Those names you see on the dry-erase board are just a few of the responders of the NYC Buildings department. Touring the Island on the way back to the office, traffic lights out, trees and debris partially blocking some streets, I passed the two, great maple trees on Old Town Road and they stood unbowed by Sandy, a sign of the enduring and resilient spirit of Staten Island and New York City.

Coming home, I checked in with my family to let them know I was blessed and my abode had weathered the storm. Mom still has no power and is virtually a prisoner of Wheaton Point, New Jersey where for the lack of a part for their back-up generator, they were plunged into darkness even though they are far from the shore. My sister in Rockland has no power, and as of last night my sister in Weterleigh had power.

Last night I slept the sleep of the exhausted. Blogging now. After,I will get our warm things out of storage and take a tour of my area. As for the fetid water left over from the flood tide combined with a hurricane to form an unprecedented storm surge, it's like when the Ents flooded Isengard. Nature sets her own metes and bounds. Man can often work out a compromise but when push comes to shove, she wants her way and she gets it. The waters have receded and left her pools where there were once tunnels busy with trains and cars, trucks and buses moving the region to and fro.

OK, going now, to get ready for winter. Hope all is well with you and yours.