Friday, November 2, 2012

Today I am fighting hurricane tears so...

The news is just all too sad. We were so lucky that it's hard to truly visualize what is happening elsewhere. My parents are still without power, my pharmacist's house was severely damaged, and I don't even personally know any shore residents other than one friend in the Rockaways whose bungalow was magically preserved. But for whatever reason, after reading so much news and now getting worried about gas disappearing, it is starting to wear me down.

Paul's family in Texas has given an outpouring of love and spiritual support to us east coasters, and one said she "hoped people would rally" in the face of all this. And you know what? New Yorkers shine, they shine, during crisis. I told her that I think it is our brusque bull-headed attitude that makes everyone roll up their sleeves during a crisis and reach out to their neighbors, to strangers, to abandoned pets and stray deer caught in storming surf. We are indomitable, as has been proven before, even if there's some fisticuffs in the gas lines. When the shit really hits the fan, when people are truly in trouble, we RESPOND. Even before it's asked for. I mean, it's not like the deer caught in the riptide could ask for help, it's not like the guy who risked his life to pull it out was even thinking straight. He was just a bullheaded New Yorker.

So I am showing you my favorite images, the ones that made me smile rather than made me cry.

Free electricity, via Swiss Miss

Restaurants who still had power giving away free food (and because they had power this was not because their food was going to go bad, it was purely to help out) via BuzzFeed

Doctor giving free aid, via BuzzFeed

And the historic carousel they just installed in Brookllyn Bridge Park miraculously survived, the water only getting to the floorboards. When people pray for the safety of inanimate objects I get teary.

via Andrew Sullivan from The Daily Beast

But this morning I find myself crying for New Jersey. People don't pay attention to New Jersey, they will forget about their vanished shoreline and boardwalks that brought them livelihoods and peace, because they're not famous like we are here. I'm starting to think (and I bet there are studies about this) that living in a dense urban environment is even better for surviving disaster. Your neighbors are within a few feet of you. Evacuation centers are within walking distance. And our firefighters can reach the hospitals so easily and are the tough old Irish stock who can carry a woman in the middle of delivering a baby down EIGHTEEN FLOORS. Or who carry generators UP 13 floors. Who are these amazing men and women? 

In the countryside, which don't get me wrong I love deeply, it is so hard to reach each other. A bridge goes down and you are stranded. Your electricity goes out and you run out of firewood and you must hike to your neighbor and hope their generator has enough gas, and that they are comfortable with sharing. These things have happened to me. One neighbor was made intensely uncomfortable by my presence. There is so much less to go around. You don't know if the government is going to step in and have the army bring in gas and food. Which they will always always do for New York City. Because we are famous. And because you can take care of millions of people in one swoop.

The electric companies have literally said that they must prioritize areas with the most dense populations. If there is a choice between fixing the electric lines for 1000 people or 5 people, they must choose the greater number. I understand that. And so I feel so lucky to live where I do.

But what about everyone else...

Please don't forget everyone else. Please don't forget those upstate, or in New Jersey, or any other affected area. NYC needs only so much thought—we're famous.

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