When I first started preparing for Hurricane Sandy on Sunday, I, like the rest of New York, had no way of knowing the full ramifications of this storm. Never the less, being a prudent individual, I took the necessary precautions and hunkered down for the long haul in my union square apartment. On Monday morning it still seemed like business as usual, little did I know that New York City was about to encounter one of the most devastating storms on record.
The entire toll of Hurricane Sandy will only become clear in the days to come. But so far what is known is that the lives of 22 New Yorkers were claimed and the property & infrastructural damage have been quoted at upwards of $20 billion. Power went out across the city leaving the city that "never sleeps" eerily dark.
The New York Post reports "A total of 660,000 Big Apple Con Ed customers are still without power -- 22.2 percent of the entire city. Another 183,000 customers were without electricity in Westchester County." While most Manhattan residents are back up, lower Manhattan will not be up for at least a few more days after an explosion at the ConEd substation on 14th street near the East River. The NY stock exchange and thousands of businesses were closed for two consecutive days costing millions in revenue lost. While the stock exchange opened for trade yesterday, hundreds of businesses remain closed. The city's massive transportation network was ground to a screeching halt and several tunnels remain flooded.
In Union Square there was not much water damage, as we are nearer to the center of the city. But, with winds up to 85 miles per hour, there were many trees down, damaging property and affecting infrastructure. The deli on my corner was the only store with power on Tuesday morning and so they were selling hot coffee (which ran out quickly) and allowing people to charge their phones for ten minutes at a time. Closer to the east side of the village, the water was reported to have been almost engulfing cars, actually moving some down the streets. On the west side, I heard that both the Superior Ink & Richard Meyer buildings had water flooding into their lobbies. In all my years in NYC, I have never heard of such a thing.
This was truly a catastrophic storm, but thanks to planning, organization, and the team work of various federal/state/local government agencies as well as utilities, NYC is bouncing back. Manhattan & Brooklyn are slated to have power back by Saturday; the subway system is partially open, the stock exchange is open, & airports have been partially reopened, while the full damage of Hurricane Sandy may take up to a year to repair. It'll be interesting to see the full extent in the next few days, especially in downtown Manhattan which was worst affected.