zaterdag 3 november 2012

Guided by Sandy (day 2, Monday): Anxiety

The night seems to have been relatively quiet. No signs of damage as I walk the streets of Midtown Manhattan. There is some wind, but the night has also brought a reality check. Car parks are empty, as are the streets and avenues in downtown Manhattan.

Manhattan is anxious on Monday.

Cycling my way East, the wind increases with every block I pass. At the East River, more people have gathered to watch Sandy come. Taking pictures, making movies, touching the water of the ocean rolling in.

The only moving cars are taxis and police vehicles. Sometimes they stop to watch, as if expecting an alien invasion.

Other police cars try to evacuate people from the danger zones...

...or are just helping the homeless to find shelter

Peddling South, more water is entering the East River Bikeway.

Near the Con Edison Power Plant on Avenue C the first cars seem to be wrong place / wrong moment...

...while the power plant itself has found a very special way of keeping Sandy out.

Further south, at the South Street Seaport, more protections have been built. Some of them clumsy but very serious...

...some of them hardly...

...and one of them plainly provocative, if only by the name of the shop.

As I wonder if any of these safeguards will have the desired effect, I ride back north to midtown. I decide to come back here tomorrow, if Sandy lets me.

On my way back north, rain is beginning to pour down on Broadway. Most oddly, heavy gusts of wind are interspursed with total calms. As the hours pass by, the gusts last longer and the periods of calm become rare. On Broadway the first casualties of the street are there.

Same story on Times Square.

When I leave Times Square, the only cars left are the ones on the lighted billboards. Tourists still swarm the place by the hundreds though, as if nothing is about to happen.

When I finally reach the hotel, these guys decide to spend another couple of hours on their bikes. Until all the lights are out in downtown Manhattan.

The management of the ACE Hotel is preparing itself as well. As a total power outage seems to be getting nearer and nearer, the guests are advised "to keep their phones charged" and not to get out on the streets anymore. Light sticks are distributed to every of the 269 rooms of the 12 story building.

My tv stays on all night, as NBC's storm team shows Sandy's invasion.

When I wake up, the lights in ACE Hotel are still on, Sandy has passed and Manhattan has gone from anxiety to helplessness.

First post in this series: Preface
Second post: Ignorance
Third post: Anxiety (this post)
Fourth post: Helplessness
Fifth post: Epilogue
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