Hurricane Sandy IV – The Next Day

It was a quiet night, little wind and next to no rain. The only question was how the city fared after the surge and when we might get our power back. A couple of trees down, one on top of a car, and an oddly smashed windows at the T-Mobile store on Water Street. (This followed by stories of smashed storefronts and looting at Seaport.) Mud, wood, garbage, uprooted bushes and branches were everywhere, along with signs of failed sandbagging in building after building. The smell of gasoline and oil and old burned rubber was in the air. I walked down the East River Esplanade – and past an odd assortment of detritus (toy police cars still in their boxes) – and came to the Battery Park Tunnel underpass, completely underwater.Construction workers stood around and took pictures too; there was nothing else to do. Battery Park hadn’t fared much better.Branches were scattered, trees stripped, one (above) completely uprooted. The waves continued to bang at the pier. It was high tide again.

I was still without power though – and no way to blog – and so headed uptown on foot. Rumor had it there was power above 34th Street. No businesses were open, nothing at all until a cupcake stand at Broadway and 3rd.

But no one was buying…not yet. There was a coffee shop after that, no lights but serving coffee and sandwiches. The tree damage was as bad in Union Square.The streets were crowded, more so the closer we got to the 30s, and then, a traffic light functioning at 31st. (Up to this point, it was mob rule at every intersection.) And then there were more lights and doors open…and then I arrived at a pub, Beer Authority, just south of the Port Authority. A blog (or two) and a drink (or two), and it’s time to go home and see about the power. And Lonnie.

Hurricane Sandy II – Lonnie!!!

Hurricane Sandy has just about made landfall; many tunnels and bridges into New York are closed, a crane has collapsed high above 57th Street and the talking heads are going crazy, “as we approach full moon full high tide.”

Hurricane Sandy coming ashore

It is a literal hurricane of images and chatter – and by literal, I mean figurative. Lots of breaking stories, tight-faced warnings and on-the-spot reporters losing their balance in the wind. The best of them has to be Lonnie Quinn of CBS 2 News in New York.

Lonnie Quinn looking presidential.

Lonnie Quinn not only has all the maps and graphs, but more importantly he talks in common folk speech. Sleeves rolled, tie undone, Lonnie offers clear and confident opinions with a genuine enthusiasm (“Look at the wind field on that!”); he is what many might call literally (figuratively) presidential.

Lonnie explains things to Maurice and Kristine

Now if Mitt Romney is looking for a way to surge those swing states, he should dump Paul Ryan and get Lonnie on the ticket instead. (Or if he were really serious about this, he could ask Lonnie to supplant himself!) Yeah, like any of that will happen…as Laetitia Sadier sings in Stereolab’s The Seeming and the Meaning: We communicate more and more/ In more defined ways than ever before/ But no one was got anything to say/ It’s all very poor it’s all just a bore.