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Posts Tagged ‘Battery Park City’

Where to begin? What can you say? So much destruction, so much pain, so much loss, so much mess.  We were warned…. we took precautions…we put away the outside furniture, we took what we could out of the freezer and we dutifully left as we were told to do.  It was a teary good-bye on Sunday afternoon as we pulled away from the cottage not knowing when we would return and what would we find when we got there.  

New York City seemed to be the much safer place for us and then again we didn’t really have the choice that we had a year ago, when we decided to ride out the storm with Hurricane Irene.  This time, mandatory evacuation was insistent and I reluctantly went along with the plan.  I had plans for Monday and Tuesday in the City anyway.  So back in our apartment we unpacked, ate dinner and went to bed listening to some light wind but not much more.

This morning it was raining lightly and since the Mayor closed the subways and stopped the busses, most of Manhattan’s residents woke up with a day off!  We went to  The Mansion for breakfast with my daughter Chiara, her husband, my sister-in-law, her son and of course Finley and Francesca.  The place was MOBBED! There was a festive mood throughout the diner, really like having an unexpected snow day when you’re in school. The City was virtually closed, Broadway was dark, schools were closed, Wall Street was closed, the airports were open but 95% of  the flights were cancelled. 

By 1pm the winds were really whipping around.  It kept swirling around creating waves of whooshing sound.  By 4pm it was raining and the wind was extremely strong and by the time I walked home 6 blocks I was drenched and winded.  Things started to go downhill rapidly from that point on.  

Soon the windows were rattling and rain and wind pounded against the panes.  By now every television in the apartment was on tuned to either CNN or ABC.  Reports started coming in as the menacing storm raced to our coast line.  We were stressed to the max dividing our anxiety between Ocean Grove and Manhattan.  We felt fairly secure in our home 14 floors up but so uncertain as to what was happening to our little cottage La Vie en Rose as it sat squarely in the path of Hurricane Sandy.  And I was concerned for about the tea room at The Lillagaard.  The hotel sat only 2 properties in from the boardwalk and was extremely vulnerable – it also had been locked up, sand-bagged and left to fend off the storm by itself. 

It’s now 11:30pm and the following is a partial list of the highlights, well actually the horrors of the Hurricane:

NEW YORK CITY

A construction crane 90 stories high in what has been called the Billionaire’s Building partially collapses and is presently dangling over the very busy, highly-trafficked West 57th St.  Buildings all around the building were evacuated.  My cousin had to leave her home on the corner of W. 57th and 6th Avenue.  Con-Ed shut down the power in the building and the gas.

Hundreds of trees came down, littering residential side streets and I saw one fall on First Avenue – not exactly what you expect to see in The City.

The subway entrances were cordoned off and sand-bagged, the grates sealed down, the entire system shut down in hope of preventing any salt water from entering the tunnels.

Battery Park City at the bottom of Manhattan was flooded by noon. Eventually there was over 13′ of water running over the walls.  The Hudson River breached the West Side Highway and was running eastward on 23rd St.  The East River breached and flooded FDR Drive.

There were a series of explosions as transformers blew up and one sub-station.  Con-Ed also voluntarily shut down some areas to preserve equipment.   By 10pm most of Manhattan south of 42nd Street and from river to river was dark – NO POWER.

Our lights are flickering every now and then and earlier this evening I lost cable tv and internet access.

No school tomorrow, no subways, no busses, and maybe no power.  At this hour every tunnel and bridge are closed so you can’t get in and you can’t get out!  How long can the few restaurants that were open or the few grocery stores open last without receiving new supplies.

OCEAN GROVE

I agonized most of the day trying to find out what was happening to our seaside community.  Tonight I was able to get online and check out Blogfinger – Ocean Grove Faces Hurricane Sandy’s Destruction

The Garden State Parkway was closed south of exit 129, the New Jersey Turnpike was closed. 

Neptune Township restricted  traffic on municipal streets. Police banned cars from Ocean Avenue and people from walking along the boardwalk.

Mandatory evacuation was extended further west and along streets near the lakes.

Additional man-made sand bermes were made along South Beach.

By mid-afternoon and mid-tide, the ocean had risen to the top of the Fishing Pier.

The high tide breached the dunes and washed over the boardwalk.  Water ran west as far as Beach Ave and a storm surge flooded New York Avenue and Broadway.  Power was out in most if not all of Ocean Grove.

Wind and waves destroyed the fishing shack on the Fishing Pier.  Part of the roof of the Great Auditorium was blown off. 

A tree came down on the corner of Central and Main and also one at the corner of Main and New Jersey Avenue.

Hurricane Sandy, Ocean Grove, Blogfinger, Mary Walton

Hurricane Sandy brings down a tree

Photo taken by Mary Walton for Blogfinger

Ocean Grove, Fishing pier, Monday October 29, Hurricane Sandy

The Fishing Pier 5pm Monday October 29th

Photo taken by Mary Walton for Blogfinger

The news is most disheartening and I think I will be canceling my Wednesday plans are heading back to New Jersey to assess the damage and see what state the Lillagaard and the tea room are in.  In the great scheme of things, the loss of food is minor, even though it creates a disgusting mess.  However, prior to leaving I spent considerable time baking in preparation for some imminent tea services.  Right now the thought of having to bake everything all over again and shop for all the food destroyed is pretty grim – BUT as I said  I know that’s so minor compared to the real devastation and loss wreaked by this vicious act of Mother Nature.  

Well, let’s see what tomorrow brings.  The lights are still flickering here, so I have filled the bathtub with water to flush the toilet, filled water bottles for drinking water and two huge pots for cooking water.  

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Goodnight is right!!! Oh dear God, hurricane fever has been here for days and NOW, Irene is almost here.

It all started for me on Thursday. Peter arrived late in the afternoon and I was still at the Tea Room finishing up and we decided to go to the store and pick up a few Finley items such as whole milk and orange juice without pulp.  Once I arrived at Wegman’s two things became instantly apparent;  Finley probably wasn’t coming to the Jersey Shore and Hurricane Irene was on her way – have you ever been in a major grocery store and seen all the bread shelves EMPTY?? I mean EMPTY!  We did get milk because after all, milk is PERISHABLE and everyone knows you are supposed to stock up on non-perishable foods.  I think all of Monmouth County is planning on eating Pb & J’s all weekend!!!

And so it began….no news except hurricane news, talk, talk, talk, only about the impending storm and plans A, B, and C formulated in each household.  Who was staying and who was going, that was the really BIG QUESTION.  My thoughts immediately were to stay and I  think at that point I wasn’t really comprehending the breadth and depth of what was to come.  I said, “well the apartment is safe and the cottage is vulnerable, so I need to be here to protect it.”  Peter thought about this and agreed.  We really didn’t think we would be in real danger, just that house might be in some and perhaps if we were here, we could prevent and/or protect.  The thought of being in NYC and watching the happenings and wondering what was happening to my sweet La Vie en Rose was quite disconcerting, so I said, “We’re staying”.  Thursday night seems much like any other night.  Peter even went to get me ice cream.

Friday dawned sunny and bright and the buzz was everywhere.  Some neighbors immediately started hauling in porch furniture and tying down everything else.  Mmmmm should we go after all?  Several conversations later, it was decided that Finley would be better off in NYC with her Daddy and her baby sister.  Chiara HAD to go to the middle of New Jersey to attend a wedding on Saturday;  she is a Bridesmaid.   I thought she would never get off “the Island” which was probably evacuating itself westward to the City.  But she made it, dropped them off and kept on going.  I hope for the bride’s sake some people come to this wedding.

I don’t hold out much hope though because the NEWS which was now broadcasting 24/7 alternated between Governor Christie declaring a State of Emergency on THURSDAY and Mayor Bloomberg saying the City was in the cross hairs of the storm and therefore, the subway and bus systems would be shut down, the news just got more dire by the hour.

By Friday afternoon, Peter and I had packed up the back yard furniture, put away the umbrella, turned the glass top table upside down, removed bird feeders, and with bungee cords anchored the trash cans and some chairs.  I moved the upstairs porch furniture into the guest room making my tiny cottage just that much more smaller.  Things were beginning to feel weird!

Ocean grove, police tape. beach is closed

Beach is CLOSED

Let’s go to the beach!  It was 4:00 the sun was still somewhat high in the sky so we took off to get a good long look-see at our beach not knowing when we would see it next or in what condition it would be.  There was police tape across the  entrances to the beach so we walked a ways to Bradley Beach and got onto the beach there.  We took our chairs and our books and sat down near the water’s edge for about an hour or so enjoying the last of the sunshine, sharing the experience with about 5 other people as far as the eye could see.  The tide was extraordinarily high which was the result of new moon.   Well clearly we were illegal and I heard later on that if you got caught going into the water, you could get a $500 fine.  Of course Peter had to push the envelope a bit and get his bathing suit wet which caused the young ticket taker on the boardwalk to come rushing down to inform us that the “main lifeguard” sent him down to tell us we could NOT be in the water.   Why didn’t someone tell the surfers that?  As we left the beach, two young surfer dudes, boards under arms and a young girl passed us on their way to the shore.  The young girl looked at Peter and shook her head and rolled her eyes.  Governor Christie told everybody to get off the beach in Asbury Park, they had enough tan, now get out!

Governor of New Jersey

Christie says "Get Off The Beach"

 

Ocean Grove, beach is closed

From Here to Asbury Park

Friday night we had dinner out because it would probably be our last good meal once the power went out and surely it will, they say.  And in New York City, Broadway was shut down, the subways system cut back and Battery Park City under mandatory evacuation!  We received numerous calls imploring us to return to NYC and truly we vacillated so many times I couldn’t tell you what the number was, but something has kept us here.  It didn’t help that the beach town north of us and two towns to the south of us were under mandatory evacuation, and the Governor reversed the highways so you could only leave and not come, they even made the tolls free.   There is a bit of foolhardy adventurism at play, the swagger that comes from having toughed it out and not the least, the need to be here to protect the homestead.  At 11:30pm an email alert came through from Neptune Township informing us that Broadway from Ocean to Pilgrim Pathway was under mandatory evacuation: WOW we are two houses in from Pilgrim Pathway.  I sure hope the storm surge knows where it is supposed to stop.  Tomorrow is another day and Irene is expected to hit the Jersey Shore in the early evening. 

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