I went on a run for about 45 minutes this morning to the Brooklyn Promenade to survey the state of Brooklyn after the storm. Here in Ft. Greene (where I am for a few days before I move to Williamsburg) things were surprisingly calm. I was accompanied by dozens of other runners, all of us I’m sure happy to be out in the sunshine after a day spent cooped up. People were milling about, stores were open. The ground was slick and covered in leaves. A light mist whipped about that would have been ominous on Sunday but this morning felt harmless. The one indicator of a big storm, a giant tree that fell across the road, had children playing in the sheltered road area that it had created.
The Manhattan Bridge had opened a few hours ago and cars were pouring onto and off of it, below a sign that had not yet been updated and said “GO INSIDE AND STAY SAFE. ALL BRIDGES ARE CLOSED.” Even in the daytime, the powerless Downtown looked ominous and strikingly different. Emergency vehicles crawled across the island and a lone helicopter crossed the East River to touch down. It occurred to me that 30 million people have an emotional attachment to this concrete and glass city; when Manhattan is in trouble, we each feel like a family member is ill.
New Yorkers brave storms differently than most, and it’s not just because we worry about whether we have enough whiskey. We worry about work. Should I go into work? (for most of my friends the answer was “yes” until the gale-force winds actually showed up on our doorsteps.) Can I work from home? How will I work if the power goes out? And for me there is a maddening, back-of-the-mind, what in the hell does work mean when buildings are being taken down in a storm that may indicate that we are bringing the end of the world on ourselves? What is a world where we must hunker from hurricanes, get married, and attend funerals to our loved ones while remaining preoccupied about today at the workplace?
We were fortunate to have power and water and internet throughout the whole storm, and we used a good chunk of it to get work done but even more of it to watch the devastation of the storm before watching some Planet Earth and sleeping in.