Hurricane Irene

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Photo taken by Malachy Sherlock

I have to admit, despite all of Mayor Bloomberg's warnings, I was skeptical about this storm. It's just in my experience, storms have been built up so much and then turn out to be a lot of nothing. It seems like this concrete jungle with its giant element-blocking skyscrapers has been able to keep natural disasters (and sunshine) at bay for all of my life. And even when it has been something (blizzard of 2010), Manhattan has been extraordinarily well taken care of. (For the outer boroughs, it's a completely different story.)

This is why I was so shocked to find midtown Manhattan deserted on Saturday night. I walked several streets and avenues in hopes of finding an operating restaurant. Between the low 50s and the mid 40s, 6th and 9th avenues, these were open: a Thai restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, a fancy Italian restaurant, and a handful of delis.

I've been outside in the middle of Manhattan in the middle of two natural disasters in my adult life: Hurricane Irene and the blizzard of 2009. I love it, because the ordinarily bustling and irritatingly crowded city becomes very still. You can stand in the middle of the street, watch the street lights change from green to yellow to red. You can open your mouth and arms and stick out your tongue to catch snowflakes or raindrops. You can be the first one to stamp your way across perfect blankets of powdery, white snow.

You sort of get this feeling that you're sharing a little secret with the city, or that you're one of a few survivors after some sort of apocalyptic event.

Since I didn't see anything extraordinary to photograph, here are some photos I found from New York Times readers (I hope it's okay if I post these) that I found extraordinary ...



Photo taken by William K. Desjardins
Unprecedented.

Photo taken by Jennifer Marie Conroy

Photo taken by JML

Photo taken by Angel Rolon
I love the caption on this one: "Nine hours before Irene's arrival, 
traffic signs are already committing suicide."

Photo taken by Gary Golkin
This is the building where my Senior Prom was held ...

Photo taken by Mark P. Levine
Photo taken by Barbra Tolentino
Another great caption: "Only breadcrumbs left."

Photo taken by Kelly Wilson

Photo taken by Michal Nanoru
Quintessential New York

Photo taken by Lenny Pridatko
After the storm, Brighton Beach

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