Throughout the day on Sunday the news on the radio kept getting more and more grim. Hurricane Sandy was on the horizon and it seemed that suddenly folks were in a panic. It was announced that the subways would be stopping at 7pm, and buses at 9pm. Understand that this NEVER happens in New York City. We were planning a small get together on Sunday night; spooky board game night to celebrate Halloween. A couple of people called in saying they couldn’t make it. But others decided to brave the lack of transportation and get a car for the ride home. Another friend was local and could walk over.
While we all hung out and laughed and ate snacks, we joked a bit about how the city was on lock down. You need to understand that last year for days leading up to Hurricane Irene we were told to store water, tape up our windows, stockpile food and prepare for the worst. The worst was a bit of flooding, some downed trees, but overall wasn’t so bad. The concern that seemed to get heightened continuously throughout Sunday felt so sudden that it also felt unreal. Perhaps this was good politics for the upcoming election? Making sure they did everything necessary for a “worst-case scenario.” The magic hour of 9pm hit, and I started to lose steam. I can barely stay awake past 10pm these days, and that’s a vast improvement from my first trimester. Everyone gave hugs and said their goodbyes and Chad and I settled in for the night.
Around midnight I could hear the wind start to pick up, but was able to get myself back to sleep. Then, suddenly at 2:30am I was awoken by explosions. It sounded like firecrackers, one after another—boom, boom, boom—for at least 15 seconds. I woke up Chad, we both listened and looked out the window not seeing anything. The sound stopped. Chad felt that it was nothing to be concerned about, but I was in go mode. I got up out of bed and went to the big room of the apartment where I can get a bit of a look at the other end of Astoria and our street. It’s then that I see a power line ON FIRE. And not just one line, the fire is traveling down the poles, line by line. I immediately unplug everything I can find and then continue to watch as the sparks twitch and flare in front of our home. After a short time the sparks seem to go out and I’m shocked to see that somehow we still have power. I feel like—this isn’t going to last for long, better check to see what’s happening online. I logon and learn that things are bad, really really bad. Flooding, fires, explosions. I sit there and feel for the first time my mom instincts really kick in.
I am watching my husband sleep, holding my large belly, and am filled with an overwhelming need to protect my family. I am awake for the rest of the night watching the storm outside our windows. The trees swayed down low in the high winds, bowing and almost dancing with the storm. Slowly dawn began to break and the storm had begun to subside. I finally lay down next to Chad as he began to wake up. “We made it through” I say to him. “We’re all ok.”
I wake up a few hours later and we decide to stay inside all day. The images from the rest of the city are scary, and we were both feeling a little shell-shocked. On Tuesday, we left our apartment to go check on our car. Where we live, we park our car on the street, and both of us were concerned. Luckily our car made it through just fine, but we were lucky. Very lucky. Just 100 feet down the road a large, old tree had come down and taken out two cars with it, along with part of a house. We walked around our neighborhood—so many downed trees and hanging power lines. Many cars were crushed and many homes were affected, but thankfully everyone in the neighborhood seems to be ok.
Amazingly we did not lose anything in this storm. We maintained power, internet and phone. Also, thankfully our puppet studio about 2 miles away was undamaged as well. We feel so very lucky, and are counting our blessings. Our hearts go out to all of those in and around NYC who have been affected by this storm.