Through Hurricane Sandy & Afterward

Monday, October 29, 2012 4:30 p.m.
High winds, sporadic sheets of rain. News broadcasts dismal. Satellite images and weather outlook foreboding. Put on the DVD "Ben Hur" for a family movie night. The non-stop shrill of sirens commences. The wind is blowing the screen right out of its frame in the kitchen.

Monday, October 29, 2012 7:30 p.m.
Wind gusts shaking the entire brick building as Sandy landed about two hours ago on the Jersey Shore. Scooted children into back bedroom with least wind impact. Sky dark, rain coming in steady streams. Very concerned the glass would shatter from one of the many branches flying down the street. "Bam! Bam! Bam!" something flaps in the wind. A screen door perhaps? An open gate? Creepy.

Monday, October 29, 2012 10:00 p.m.
The stately tree across the street is waving like a cheerleader's pom pom. How can a massive trunk like that bend so much? The wires woven through it are pulled taut but do not snap. The branches strike the streetlight and eerie shadows are cast into the misty rain. The family hunkers down as I tuck them all into bed. I pace the apartment, watching for the windows to blow. The rain begins to fall in steady streams. Anxiously, I climb into bed next to the kids.

Monday, October 29, 2012 11:30 p.m.
Power is out. Darkness falls like a blanket, broken only by flashes of lightening and emergency vehicle sirens. Why didn't I try harder to locate a battery operated radio Sunday when I stocked up on more water and food?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 6:30 a.m.
Power is out. The wind continues to howl, albeit without as much force. All windows are secure. Trees and debris line the streets. The rain continues on and off. Fortunately we have hot water and no flooding in our basement.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 1:00 p.m.
All of Jersey City, NJ seems to be without power.  The wind is still demanding attention and blows threateningly all day.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012 6:00 p.m.
Power is out. Darkness is quickly approaching. The temperature dips and we eat by candlelight.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 7:30 p.m.
Power is out. It feels like 10 p.m. We gather around the dining room table and knit, play charades and board games. Spirits are up, we made it through! We have food, hot water, candles, flashlights, LED lanterns and no school or work! There is a lot of laughing this evening. We all turn in early.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Power is out. The apartment is cold. Some of us venture out, heading to Journal Square Transportation Center. It is colder outside than we thought, should have worn more layers. There is a Sheriff...we ask the status and find
  • No PATH trains running
  • 80% of Jersey City is without power - no traffic lights are operating
  • Lower Manhattan is flooded and subway service is still shut down
  • Bus and Light Rail service in Jersey City is shut down until further notice
  • Power will remain out until Monday for most of Jersey City
  • Hoboken is flooded and the National Guard has been called in for rescue operations
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 2:00 p.m.
Power is out. The apartment is super cold. The local hospital is operating on generator power and we found an outlet to charge our phones. There is no service anyway. There is wifi and I check in with my job and watch a few local news broadcasts. Alarming devastation throughout the area. "The worst storm in recorded history for the state of New Jersey" plays over and over in my mind. Amazingly our new refrigerator's freezer is keeping food cold. I had foresight enough to freeze large containers of water before the storm and they are beginning to melt, but the food is not spoiled.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 8 p.m.

Power is out. We all are wearing several layers of clothing to stay warm. I noticed earlier as the sun was setting how even in dim natural light, I could see clearly many things in the kitchen. With my LED lantern I could barely see anything, even with it right up on top of things. A deepening appreciation for sunlight steadily grows. Candles are running out. There is no more lightheartedness, sleep will eludes us tonight. I wonder if I use a match to light the oven boiler if it can be used as a heat source. I decide not to risk it. I boil pots of water on the stove top in a futile attempt to generate heat. I move the hot pots to the foot of the bed to warm up the room, it does not work either.

Thursday, November 1, 2012 11:00 a.m.
Power is out. The apartment feels like an ice rink. Patience is wearing out. Depression is setting in as we are unable to get back to normal with no power. Trips to the hospital to use their Internet access and charge electronics is becoming routine. The grocery store finally restocked and we were able to get milk, but there is no bread. Without the oven I am not going to make any, either.

Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:30 p.m.
Outside we hear a commotion and cheering. Power is back! We run to the basement to flip the breaker back on and low and behold, electricity! I sing and jump for joy as the boiler begins to stir. Heat! We will have heat!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012 10 a.m.
It seems my office is back to normal and so are the various job site offices scattered throughout the area. I have no way to get from Jersey City, to Brooklyn.  I have received emails to print things out and to order replacement cell phones for staff members...tap tap tap on the keys, explaining the subways are flooded, most of my neck of the woods is submerged and without power and when I can, I will get there. Ugh! The 9 - 5 can be so grating! Back home, the boys have decided to do major room changes and are moving furniture and throwing out bags and bags of old "stuff". It is starting to look a lot better in the apartment with the changes.

Friday, November 2, 2012 3:00 p.m.
Of course, a bus is now running from Jersey City to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, and a shuttle bus is offered from Manhattan to Brooklyn...so I will be back to the office on Monday, Lord-willing. A neighbor stopped by to charge their DVD player. A friend of my son's came to take a hot shower. Another friend of my sons will stay overnight after visiting for the day because he is sick and does not have heat. We insisted he stay and sent him home to bring his mom candles and the LED lantern. I made him chicken soup which they all devoured for dinner. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012 10:00 a.m.
It is cold outside today. Things are getting back to normal in my household, but certainly not so much in the area-at-large. The forecast is for a snowstorm to hit in 3 days, just what we do not need.

Monday, November 5, 2012 11:30 a.m.

The commute to work was not too much of an ordeal, considering I left at 5:20 a.m. to catch a bus...the closer I walked to the terminal the darker it became. There were still no traffic lights a week after the storm in many areas of Jersey City.. This blackened photo is usually a well-lit thoroughfare on Newark Avenue near the Jersey City Courthouse. The bus station was flanked outside by police vehicles, providing lights for approaching and departing buses. The terminal itself was operating on back-up generator power and the entrance to the lower level and PATH train service was blocked.

The crowded bus, the first of the morning at 5:32 a.m. offered standing room only. Once in New York at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, I was able to easily transfer to the C train into Brooklyn. This train ran as usual. In Brooklyn near the Atlantic Center Mall, the power did not go out during the storm, but high winds did bring down trees, including this one that fell on Carlton Avenue.







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