When the newscasters and meteorologist on the TV shows talk about hurricanes many New Yorkers don't pay too much attention unless they have family, friends, or property in the Caribbean. Let's face it -- that is where the majority of the Hurricanes usually wind up.
Unfortunately, call it what you want, global warming, a change in the weather patterns, or the oncoming Armageddon, the fact is that something is going on that will force us all to change our perception of the weather. New Yorkers who rarely ever paid attention to hurricanes will forever change that perspective and will pay a lot more attention from now on. The destruction that those us who live in New York have witnessed during these past few days of going through Hurricane Sandy will remember this for the rest of our lives. Sandy is to us what Katrina was to New Orleans.
The difference is that the total cost of destruction in New York and the surrounding tri-state area will surpass Katrina by a whole lot making this the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history.
My other observation is that "thank God I live in the Bronx." For all the times that people would criticize me for living in the poorest and most blighted borough, it made up for all of that during this storm. The Bronx, a majority Latino borough, survived this hurricane better than all the other boroughs. All the people who left the Bronx to move to "better places" like downtown Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island or upstate Westchester County are not better off that me in the South Bronx after this storm. These people are struggling with no water, no electricity, and possible flood damage. My only interruption was the fact that my lights went off for about a second, yes a second, and that I had to do a lot of cleaning up of leaves, branches and limbs from trees. My car was damaged, but that was due to my own lack of understanding about what a hurricane can do besides flood your house and tear off your roof, things that did not happen.
Anyone who grew up in the Caribbean knows better that to leave cars outside where flying tress, coconuts and other debris can hurt you and your property. Now I know better. I wish those people who were killed because they were hit by falling trees, or stepped onto electrically charged water would have known what everyone in the Caribbean knows during a hurricane: NO SALGA AFUERA! You don't go outside.
All the folks living in the projects in the South Bronx are not suffering like the people living in the high risers in downtown Manhattan. Everyone in the low-income projects has water and electricity and can ride their elevators all day, something that many in other parts of this city wish they had and can't do.
Now New Yorkers will be a little wiser. I'm sure that from now on when they hear of a possible hurricane coming this way they will not only stock up on essentials, home owners would have purchased generators (like most homeowners in the Caribbean) for their house and consider evacuating if they live near a flood zone. People like me will look for better parking, or park inside a safe garage and most importantly we will be thankful that we live in the Bronx, the only borough that is not an island and that is above sea level. Who's talking bad about El Bronx now?