Riding out the Storm

August 29, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Sydneysider Michael Benjamin has lived in New York for 10 years. He reports on making acquaintance with Hurricane Irene…

Michael Benjamin

By midday on Saturday, the city that never sleeps was in a deep slumber and wondering whether a knockout punch was on its way.

Mass transit was shut down at noon on Saturday.  While bridges and tunnels into Manhattan remained open, any transit was strongly discouraged and low-lying areas were subject to evacuation orders.  Most stores and restaurants were closed and the city felt cut off and eerily silent.  The literal calm before the storm.

Friday had been more frantic with New Yorkers squirrelling supplies and many grocery stores and supermarkets stayed open through the night.

This was especially important in Manhattan where residents are notorious for having empty refrigerators.

Water and tinned food were the most popular products.  Liquor stores were also doing a very brisk trade.  New Yorkers like their booze and people were throwing Hurricane parties.  I attended one in Soho where we created our own version of a vodka-based hurricane cocktail and there was a festive mood.

By Saturday evening, the rain had started in earnest with the wind picking up.  Irene had weakened somewhat on her way to New York and blew through overnight.  She had thankfully lost some of her bite and by late Sunday morning, it was all over with Irene heading towards New England.  The damage is meaningful, but it could have been a lot worse.  The gym is open as per usual.  I am headed to work off some of the excesses from too much food and wine on a rare Saturday night in during summer in New York.  Looks like lots of others are in the same boat…..

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