The Days After

No, I’ve never seen the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” – somehow, the idea of NYC wrecked in a new Ice Age (and this movie probably came out some time after the bad snowstorm of 2003) didn’t appeal to me and I wasn’t in the mood for the emoting of Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal.

And, according to imdb, there was a 1983 tv movie with the title  “The Day After” (something about a nuclear fallout and starring a bunch of big names and familiar character actors like Jason Robards, John Lithgow, Steven Gutenberg, JoBeth Williams, and John Collum); I have no memory of that one.  And, based on the summary on the imdb page, it sounds really depressing. We’re no where near that close to world dissolution.

Count your blessings!  Breathe!

But, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy incurred a bunch of mixed feelings. The headline of this NY Times’ article by James Barron and Ken Belson, “Hardship Strains Emotions in New York,” works for me because there has been so much going on.  I think it was from the NY Times somewhere, maybe a Thomas Friedman column (don’t hold me to it!), where it was said that the nation was in post-traumatic stress since 9/11/01, and I often feel that’s the case in New York City; the stress of the hurricane’s aftermath only emphasizes that to me.

Dazed, since one never imagines that this much damage would happen to the tri-state area; persistence, since one can’t just give up; maybe even inspiration, since so many have risen to action.  We’re pulling through; we’re getting there.  (almost a personal motto of mine as it is).

There has been a lot of impatience – I wonder if the Internet and social media, and cell phones, only increased the feelings and expectations of instant gratification? Or that we’ve become so dependent on electricity? (easy for me to say, when my neighborhood in Brooklyn was minimally effected).  Then again, a lot the craziness could have been avoided with a lot more planning and better communication of what happened and what expectations to have and why things will be.

There’s the sense of question for what works in the context – what respects the community? (such as it is, since in a dense urban context, sometimes “community” is hard to find).  For example: do we hold the marathon or not?  Unlike 9/11/01, we did not have have a six-week odd to deal with stuff; we had only days. I consider the marathon to be a great NYC thing, and I look at Meb Keflezighi as an American inspiration for being an American elite marathoner (not too many of those for quite awhile), but there was just not enough time for the NYC Marathon.  We could have civil conversation, but the controversy itself became a distraction from moving forward and helping each other out.

How do we balance interests and feelings and needs and wants?

Everybody feels forgotten, and Manhattan looked like two cities, with the half/third of the island in darkness (even described as a “dead zone”) and the north end looking no worse for wear.  You got to feel empathy for Staten Island, Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn, and the Rockaways and Breezy Point in Queens, and there was so much going on.

But, there are reasons for everything: gas shortages are because the port was closed; the port needs electricity; there are places with no electricity; etc.

Gas? Well, we’re getting there…

Electricity? In Manhattan – almost there!  So looking forward to near normal MTA service; MTA is doing quite a job! (amazing that I’m even saying that).

Semblance of normality is near.  In the meantime, see how you can help.  There are a lot of possibilities. Brokelyn has a good list, wnyc has been a great resource (see here for wnyc’s list of ways to help; also, their tumblr page is terrific), and the libraries are open (NYPL, BPL, and Queens).  NYS Bar Association announced a storm relief effort.

Oh, and FC is so right on the mark on Facebook: NY1 has been on it and has done a great job.

I’m not forgetting NJ.  I’ll be out there again soon, I’ve no doubt.

Don’t forget Eastern Standard Time; we fall back an hour tonight.

Don’t forget to vote next Tuesday. The Civil War didn’t stop Election Day; our legal rights should still be exercised. Hell, you can still vote by paper, if necessary (not that I’m suggesting that it has to be, but that depends on your district’s situation). Check your district/board of Election/county clerk’s office.

So, hang in there, friends!

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