Hurricane Sandy crippled my beloved New York City and I am angry. I haven’t been this angry since that witch Katrina slammed into New Orleans. Angry and helpless and worried, I find myself checking my phone every few minutes, waiting for news from loved ones on the East Coast. Many are without power. Some have gone radio silent, cell phone batteries dead and no way to charge them, cut off from the rest of us. I hate Sandy as much as I hated Katrina. I hate it for wreaking havoc amid the streets and neighborhoods I love exploring. I am angry that it probably put some of my favorite places and people out of business, out of homes. I almost feel each snapped old tree in Central Park as a personal injury. Sandy was a monster of a storm, felt far beyond New York City. But seeing this majestic city wounded hurts me the most.
Images of the last few days haunt me. Snapped construction crane arm dangling in the air over Midtown like a broken limb. Vicious waves lapping at the waterfront of Battery Park. Water gushing out of elevator shafts in MTA subway stations below ground. ConEd power plant exploding in a short brilliant super nova flash, plunging parts of Manhattan into complete darkness. Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel turning into an angry river of churning water and debris. An infant cradled by a nurse being evacuated from NYU Medical Center gone dark in the middle of the storm. These pictures play in my mind’s eye, one more terrifying than the next. Did I mention I hate Sandy?
Amid all of this disturbing information, I actively have to seek ways to be grateful. I find myself cataloging my favorite New York memories over and over. I am thankful to have made contact with almost everyone I know to confirm their well being. I am fortunate to have so many delightful and delicious moments on the streets of New York to counteract the horrible images that are streaming at me at every turn.
- Strolling through Central Park on a crisp fall day, taking in Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Whitney.
- Sharing Slovenian white wine with beloved friends at a little wine bar overlooking Rockefeller Center, laughing and catching up and sharing dreams.
- Munching on a bagel in front of Tiffany’s on Fifth, channeling the spirit of Holly Golightly and Audrey Hepburn combined.
- Fearfully and quickly crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in order to try Grimaldi’s Pizza on the other side.
- Dancing to Hava Nagila, performed by a one man band, with a reluctant friend, arms wrapped around perfect strangers, at Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse.
- Sitting atop High Line, at Terroir wine bar, drinking bottles and bottles of Austrian Riesling with friends old and new, looking over the water at New Jersey.
- Riding East River ferry on a sweltering hot day along the Brooklyn Promenade.
- Whiskey and pickles late night at Post Office, shared with the friendly owner.
- The flavors and aromas and sights and sounds of my childhood filling the streets of Brighton Beach.
- Oysters and absinthe and friends and jokes in the secret garden behind Williamsburg’s Maison Premiere.
My list is long. I am lucky, I guess. So, here is my heartfelt wish:
My dear New York City,
Please, get well soon. You are strong and resilient. Your people are tenacious survivors. I should know, I love so many of them, and it takes one to know one. That Sandy? She is a b*tch. She’s got nothing on you. I wish your wounds would heal quickly. I look forward to the day we meet again, my beloved city, the day I see your face. It maybe a bit more weathered but no less beautiful. Speedy recovery, my friend. I’m in a New York state of mind…