On Monday night in New York City at about 8PM EST or so, I was literally ten minutes away from publishing a post about all of the organic food that I bought before Hurricane Sandy’s arrival.
Yet, the electricity went out and the post never went up.
Scroll down to the bottom to see these foods and read about them if you wish. However, this information seems really trivial and unimportant to me right now. Why?
The devastation that this storm has caused to NYC, New Jersey, Long Island and other parts of the East Coast is the only thing on my mind right now. Lives have been lost, homes have been ruined, communities and towns have been completely upended, and countless small businesses are sure to go bankrupt.
Since I was in downtown Manhattan during and after the storm, here is what I experienced.
- I lost electricity, cell phone service, and internet on Monday night. I suffered no damage, flooding, or broken windows to my apartment during the storm.
Realizing that it wasn’t going to be a quick fix for the electricity to come back on, I finally left my apartment on 1PM on Tuesday to walk around.
(The picture below is on 8th Avenue and 14th Street, just a few blocks from my apartment, where the storm completely ripped off the front of this building.)
After speaking to people, I heard that the electricity was not expected to go back on for 3-4 days to a week. It was at that point that I realized that I needed to leave Manhattan ASAP.
The subways are not expected to be fully working until later this week but who really knows. Apparently, there is limited service now but what is essential is people being able to use the subways in Manhattan and to be able to leave/enter Manhattan.
It isn’t just because I live in Manhattan that I am saying this, but it Manhattan is the economic engine of New York City.
For those of you who don’t live in New York City, the importance of the subway to our city cannot be underestimated. I take it everywhere and so do 8.5 million other people on a daily basis.
Most New Yorkers don’t have cars and getting a taxi in these conditions is incredibly difficult.
- There is no power in downtown Manhattan. On the West Side, it is below 23rd street. On the East Side, it appears to be below 34th street.
I had to walk up to a pizzeria on 36th and 8th avenue to charge my cell phone. (And even though I was hungry and it looked good, I didn’t order any pizza there.)
Some people were using the back of a CNN News truck, which was parked on 14th and 8th avenue doing a live feed, to charge their cell phones. The line was insane.
- At night in Greenwich Village, where I live, it was completely dark and there were no street lights at all. It was very eerie and gloomy. More importantly, it felt very unsafe.
If something happened to you in the dark, no one would see it and you couldn’t call the police because the cell phone service was down in most areas.
Many people were walking around the neighborhood at night with flashlights. A very strange sight.
- I live on the third floor of my building but there were no lights working, and I had to use a flashlight as I went up and down the stairs. Again, another very creepy and weird feeling.
I can’t imagine what older people who live on high floors had to deal with. No elevator service for a while.
- Nearly every single business in downtown Manhattan was closed. There were a handful of restaurants half-open – probably serving whatever food they had left and that hadn’t gone bad already.
I didn’t even bother to go in.
- My local organic markets were completely closed and aren’t going to be open until the electricity comes back on.
- My office, which is in downtown NYC, will be closed until the electricity comes back on.
The number of small businesses in lower Manhattan that will either go bankrupt or will need months/years to recover financially from Hurricane Sandy has to be enormous. It is so, so sad.
- Cars and taxis were running but there were no street lights. You can only imagine how dangerous that is.
- What is crazy is that when you go north of 23rd Street (West Side) or 34th Street (East Side), it is as if nothing ever happened. All of the lights are on and businesses are operating as if no hurricane ever came through the area.
Then you head back downtown and you have an absolute ghost town.
- I have been reading that some restaurants are doing delivery service now (presumably those who have electricity uptown) and food trucks have entered the downtown areas. This is all good news but getting access to this food is much easier said than done, particularly when cell phones don’t work.
- I was very fortunate to have gotten a ride out of NYC and into Boston last night from my incredibly giving and kind father. I am not sure how I got so lucky to have a father like him. He is the best.
I would have stayed in NYC if the power was going to be back on in 24 or 36 hours but after several days of no electricity is when people are going to start losing their patience and bad things may begin happening. And if people are speculating that it is going to be a week with no power, it could also be two weeks. You just never know.
A Few Final Thoughts:
1) My heart goes out to those individuals who lost their lives in Hurricane Sandy and to the people in Queens, NY and New Jersey whose communities were literally turned upside down.
2) I sincerely hope that our country starts to get serious about climate change because if we don’t, these hurricanes are going to become the new normal for the foreseeable future.
3) Starting tomorrow, I will go back to the organic food stories and coverage. However, until the entire East Coast is back on its feet, it just won’t seem nearly as important.
4) Thanks to the many people from all over the country who have called, emailed, or texted me asking how I was doing. I am incredibly grateful for the concern.
As I mentioned, below is that much less important story about what kind of food I bought before the Hurricane. If I hadn’t written it on Monday night, I certainly wouldn’t be posting it. I kept all of the original language in there.
(Written on Monday, October 29th at 8PM EST but it was not posted at that time due to the electricity outage.)
I was in Boston this past weekend and rushed back on Sunday morning so I could stock up on food for Hurricane Sandy.
Since I live very close to two organic food markets in NYC, it is incredibly rare that I have to buy food for any more than a few meals in advance.
Yet, with the markets closing last night at 5PM and their being closed today and probably tomorrow, I was forced to plan in advance.
I probably bought much more organic food than I needed but better to be safe than sorry. So, here is most of what I got.
- Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta. I LOVE this pasta.
- Middle Earth Organics Pasta Sauce. Read my review of this product and find out why it tastes so good.
- Tru Roots Sprouted Mung Beans (if I decided to cook them.)
Electricity/Gas Not Needed:
- Apples, celery, celery.
- Food for Life Cinnamon Raisin Granola – This cereal rocks and uses sprouted grains.
- Navitas Naturals Cacao Goji Superfood – one of my favorite snacks. Here’s my review of it.
- Mountain Valley Spring Water – my favorite bottled water, comes in a glass bottle. Here is an interview I did with David Wolfe, where he talks about the importance of glass bottles.
- Olivia’s Organic Spring Mix – supporting a company based in my hometown, Boston.
- Kelp by Maine Sea Vegetables. Kelp is an amazing source of iodine.
- Navitas Naturals Chia Seeds – an amazing source of protein.
- Edward & Sons Brown Rice Snaps – maybe my favorite cracker. I buy the unsalted plain ones. They are super dry and super plain, but that’s how I like them.
Electricity/Gas Maybe Needed:
- Apples, celery, kale (not pictured), carrots – (electricity needed if using my juicer.).
As of 8PM EST on Monday night (at the time of this posting), I luckily still have power and all of my windows are intact but my cable TV went out. Somehow, the cable modem is still working. Most importantly, I am fine.
I hope the same can be said for all of you who are on the East Coast.