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Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey Turnpike’

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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The posts I thought I was going to do did not get done, quite obviously.  And it’s not because I brushed 9/11 aside.  Quite the contrary, Sunday night turned out to be the most emotional 9/11 I’ve had since the 9/11.

I went to a memorial service held in the Great Auditorium and within minutes I was in tears.  Between the solemnity of the occasion, the bagpipers, the flags, the orchestra, the two choirs and the speakers, not to mention the building, I was a wreck.

And why I didn’t think to bring tissues, I don’t know.  The speakers were all great but I have to say I was definitely partial to the Baptist Minister, former Secretary of State New Jersey.  He was quite the preacher man!

As I promised, I would post any memories sent in to me about 9/11/01, please read Heather’s account of that dreadful day, my generation’s day of infamy.

We had left Maine early on September 10th and were planning to stop in NYC to visit our daughter the next day.  We stopped overnight at a hotel in southern Connecticut to allow ourselves a relaxed time the next morning before heading into the city for our lunch date.  As we were getting dressed, my cell phone rang and it was our oldest son calling from his then home in Hatboro, PA asking if we were watching TV.  We had not been but the moment we turned it on, the only images we saw were the scenes of the first plane and then the second plane smashing into the World Trade Center buildings and the attendant misery as a stunned world watched.  Everybody was speechless and most of the hotel guests gathered in the lobby to watch the large TV and perhaps share the comfort of being around others

   Needless to say, we did not go into Manhattan that day but rather, several hours later, skirted around and headed south on the NJ Turnpike.  We were one of the only cars on that road.  The plumes of ash and smoke were clearly visible from the NJ side.  The rest stops were deserted and nearly all food outlets within them were shuttered.  The northbound traffic consisted of fire trucks and emergency vehicles ONLY.  It was a surreal spectacle and a surreal experience.
   To this day, whenever we pass along the NJ Turnpike,  we look over toward Manhattan, and we remember the tragedy of that horrific day.
I’ve blogged about Capt. Timothy Stackpole, whose memorial bracelet I ‘ve  been wearing for 10 years, my recent encounters with a fellow blogger and with Michele, two people who actually knew Captain Stackpole and went to his wake and funeral.  And last year I did a blog about 9/11 Then and Now.  See link below.

https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2914&action=edit

I featured the photo of the empty shoes which so poignantly spoke to the loss of so lives and how the left behind living try to cope when there’s no one there to fill those shoes.  That memorial display was in New Jersey and in New York City…

empty chairs, Bryant Park

A man remembers his father

photo by Murray Head

Timmy Stackpole, 9-11, memorial bracelet

Memorial bracelet - 10 Years

And Gail sent me this link to one man’s tribute to the wife he lost in The World Trade Center:


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