marina, hoboken, tuesday
new york, from hoboken, tuesday
Took the kids to the park. The park was the most full I'd ever seen it. Parents were saying it was their last chance to take the kids out for a while, joking about how they'll be drinking a lot come Wednesday.
It was lucky we enjoyed it when we did, becaue the mayor closed all parks as of 3 p.m. that day. Police tape was across the entrances by nightfall.
Watched the news to see if the storm was going to turn toward the sea instead of making the rare direct hit into Jersey. But...
Little happened on Sunday and Monday except for gusts of wind.
I had to put up breaking news items for work on Sunday and Monday, almost all of them storm updates. My trusty barometer was steadily dropping.
The storm was supposed to arrive around 7 p.m. on Monday. All day, infrequent gusts shook the colorful foliage, but that was it. I've been in noisier hurricanes (Floyd, Gloria, and when I was a little kid, Belle). Most failed to live up to the hype.
But Sandy was different. The effects were worse after the storm rather than during.
We were watching the news on TV around 9:30 when everything went dark. It was pleasant to finally be relieved of all the constant noise around us in busy little Hoboken, and just hear the steady wind. We flicked on our flashlights and played with the kids.
At first it felt like camping. I lay on my back with both kids and looked at the rings of light on the ceiling. Even at one point was thrilled to remember that had a battery pack for my breastmilk pump (TMI, sorry.)
That night, my trusty barometer, which has its own blog doncha know, got to its lowest reading ever: 28.85 inches. It stayed there for a few hours, then started going back up, which I guess meant the eye had passed. Cool!
Monday night, without light or noise, I slept well and had vivid dreams.
We were relatively ok. We ate nonperishable food, listened to the radio. Except for some realizations:
-We no longer had internet, even on our phones.
-iPad couldn't work because the wifi router required power.
-The lack of hot water meant I couldn't clean stuff well.
-Our phones were losing their charge and there was no way to recharge them. And:
-Phone service was out anyway, except for brief moments when a bunch of backed-up texts squeezed through at once, then stopped again.
The curfew was supposed to be lifted by 1 p.m. Tuesday, and the storm was gone. So...
We walked uptown in Hoboken and saw some waterfront detritus in the streets. Most stores were closed. We saw lots of police cars, few lights. A couple of stores were open with long lines.
Town was quiet.
We had no idea that just a few blocks from us, the streets were full of water and people could not leave their homes.
We had no idea, in fact, that other communities were destroyed, homes were leveled, and people were hearing things about Hoboken on the news and worrying about us. We had no TV, no internet, so no idea.
I entertained the kids with books and songs. It got dark early. We had plenty of flashlights, but it was getting colder at night.
We got word that relatives had their power back. Yay! We were going to pack up and go. The cold water and lack of heat were getting bothersome.
Walking toward the car, we saw that there were a few blocks with power. The houses had signs in front saying "Recharge here, free!" and "Happy Halloween. Recharge your phone." Neighbors had threaded extention cords out of their windows so that other people in town could come recharge their phones for free. How delightful!
For some reason, there were more police cars around than the day before. NBC and CBS news vans were prowling around. Why? We weren't sure.
Before we could leave town, we had to stop by my office, where my boss had told me by text we were going to meet at 11. We met, made some plans. A few of my co-workers said they had trouble getting into Hoboken because police were turning most non-residents away or making them go to a different entrance. Town had seemed so quiet the day before. What was going on?
We finally got to unpack, watch the news, and get our phone messages and e-mails.
People were very worried that they weren't able to reach us.
Someone called us and said that the national news reported that 20,000 people in Hoboken were trapped in their homes.
Huh? There are only 50,000 people in Hoboken. I thought the person had misheard.
Then we started watching the news.
Long story short, we were very lucky. Many people WERE trapped, some for days, some with newborn babies. Even if the water was only a few feet high, it contained gas and wasn't something people could wade through. There may be people who live alone who are still trapped.
Starbucks gets the word out
Poles around town
In our family, everyone was fine. Other people lost homes, some lost family members. We are very lucky.
I hope you and your family are safe tonight, wherever you are.