An Inside View of Hurricane Sandy, My Organic Food Supplies

Written by Max Goldberg on October 31, 2012. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

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.

Electricity/Gas Needed:

- 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.

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14 Comments

  1. max. i am so thankful you are safe. i have been unable to think of anything since the storm started. the devastation is horrific! how to even begin the cleanup is unbelievable. God bless the millions who have been affected by this monster storm. i love NY and pray for her recovery.
    be safe
    kerry

    Written by kerry surface on October 31, 2012 @ 2:43 pm
  2. Hi Kerry,

    Thanks so much for your kind words! The devastation is incredible and I am hoping for a very speedy recovery.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on October 31, 2012 @ 2:48 pm
  3. Outside of power on 23rd street in the flatiron district you would NEVER know that a hurricane had hit. Barely any debris, windows the size of the entire building barely shook and there wasn’t even any flooding that we usually get during a good rain in ny. People during the hurricane were going on strolls in droves as if nothing was really happening at all.

    I feel bad for the low-lying areas that got hit. New Jersey, a swamp in itself is used to it, but for NYers it’s not a common occurrence. As for the power let’s hope they get everything up and running soon so businesses like mine don’t go bankrupt. I will say there’s no excuse for buses not to pick up limited service and get people around the city to safer areas.

    I’m currently in korea town getting some great kimchee, charging my phones and ipad and poaching some wifi.

    Just wish I could have been one block over getting power right now…..and perhaps a shower!

    Written by mary on October 31, 2012 @ 2:51 pm
  4. Hi Mary,

    Yes, it is crazy. North of 23rd street it is as if nothing ever happened!! It is two different worlds.

    NJ got it real, real bad. It will be many months before some of those areas get back to normal.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on October 31, 2012 @ 2:55 pm
  5. Hi Max,
    The good thing is there are a huge amount of people from NJ that I know that usually have flooding issues and they are all okay and with power. You couldn’t pay me to live in a flood zone! Glad you’re safe and dry and thanks for giving everyone a little perspective. P.S. It is my understanding that building that lost part of its front was already being cited for violations. Thank goodness no one was hurt!

    Written by mary on October 31, 2012 @ 3:03 pm
  6. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for your kind words. I hope that NJ can recover quickly and something needs to be done to address barriers along the coastline.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on October 31, 2012 @ 5:11 pm
  7. Good to read your post. Glad you are doing OK.

    Written by Betsy on October 31, 2012 @ 7:29 pm
  8. Here in NJ there are mixed feelings: happiness that so many are safe and sadness at the toll that has been taken in so many dimensions.

    To clarify the NJ comments above and the imbalance of the news reporting:

    Not all of NJ is a “swamp”. Inland North/Central Jersey barely saw any rain despite predictions. The rain was the equivalent of a heavy July thunderstorm and my sump pump is still bone dry. What’s not reported is the immense amount of wind damage to trees in this area with hundreds/thousands of 50-80 foot tall trees downed on power lines and houses. The town of Westfield is similar to lower Manhattan – an electricity devoid ghost town with all of the downtown dark and all businesses closed/cordoned off. Gasoline lines are as bad or worse than 1974. Unfortunately, organic food is minimalistic on a normal basis and likely to be ultra-scarce for the next couple of weeks.

    On the good news side: I don’t believe much food production was affected by the storm.

    Written by Ken Lonyai on November 2, 2012 @ 10:30 am
  9. Hi Betsy,

    Sorry for the delayed response and thanks so much for your concern. Much appreciation.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on November 2, 2012 @ 2:50 pm
  10. Hi Ken,

    Thanks so much for your input from NJ. I could only give my perspective about NJ from what I saw on the news.

    The destruction on the coast line, the flooding in places like Hoboken, and the enormous gas line are the images that we are seeing. We aren’t getting a clear picture of other areas of NJ, so thanks for sharing and I am glad that you’re ok. This storm caused tremendous, tremendous damage.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on November 2, 2012 @ 2:56 pm
  11. Thank you, Max, for this wonderful topical story about your real life experience with Hurricane Sandy. The descriptions are vibrant, gut-wrenching and touching. So glad you have stayed safe.

    Sending love and prayers to everyone in the path of this incredible storm…Let’s hope the end result will be people realizing how inter-dependent and connected we are to both Mother Nature and each other! Hoping we can all work together and honor each other and stay united with all the current challenges our country is now facing.

    By the way, I am so enjoying your Organic Food Blog and how-to-videos; have added chia seeds to diet and have made a yummy pudding with a coconut milk-base, shredded coconut, cacao nibs, dried fruit, and chia seeds thanks to your recommendation. Just mix all together and refrigerate….ready to enjoy in a few hours.:))

    Do you think you could post an article please Max on what a health-minded couple would enjoy for dinners on a limited budget and what the average cost may be for 5 nights in eating at a home with a powerful blender, a great juicer, a bamboo steam basket and a small electric grill/panini maker as tools to work with? We love veggies, fruit, salads, smoothies,fresh juices, and ethnic foods yet always looking to improve the nutritional value of our meals.

    Thanks so much and keep safe and well.

    Mary

    Written by Mary H Anderson on November 2, 2012 @ 7:23 pm
  12. Hi Mary,

    Thanks so much for your kind words, and I am glad that you are enjoying what I write here.

    It is very hard to approximate what the costs would be. But if you cook at home, the costs will be significantly lower and you can definitely do something nutritious. Use farmer’s markets, CSAs, buy bulk, etc.

    Take a look at these two posts. They may give you some ideas.

    http://livingmaxwell.com/inexpensive-organic-dinner-for-two

    http://livingmaxwell.com/new-to-organic-start-with-this-inexpensive-breakfast

    I hope this helps.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on November 2, 2012 @ 8:20 pm
  13. I’m Happy you are Safe. Thats Good.

    Written by Rita on November 7, 2012 @ 2:32 am
  14. Thanks so much for your words Rita. So very appreciated.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on November 7, 2012 @ 10:23 am

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