When Hurricane Sandy hit, I was working as an RA at my dorm, sponsoring a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Making event in which half of my dorm showed up to. Three minutes before the residents were invited in, I was given the opportunity to make as many as I possibly could for myself; so I went in and pumped out two sandwiches and a couple of Oreos, ran upstairs, and stashed it in my cupboard.
Two hours later, the power went out. Explosions from the Con Edison Power Plant became frequent. My basement flooded. The waves of the Hudson River crashed half a block away from my apartment. The wind never stopped racing once the rain died down; while the skyline of Midtown stood illuminated and distant, all of Lower Manhattan was left in complete darkness. ‘From 31st to Rivington‘ some of the guards were saying.
Apparently it was worse than that.
Once the wind died down, Cop cars with their shining, blinking lights patrolled the streets. They reappeared on Greenwich Street every five minutes; you could hear the engines whirring and the wheels squeaking on the wet floor- it had gone so quiet. The megaphones on top of their roofs kept repeating the same things over and over, ‘Stay inside, get back inside, don’t come out.’ It felt like a fortress. Cold, desolate, overseen.
Inside my dorm, the emergency lighting began to burn out, one by one the mounted torches fizzled and popped to black. As more of the floors grew dark, more and more of the residents of the dormitory panicked. Some played cards and got pissed drunk, playing manhunt, popping out from corners to terrify one another. Others smoked entire packs of cigarettes while others paced in the same figure eight patterns back and forth. I was on patrol duty for the evening and had to roam every single floor in the dark. It was eerie. And bleak. And too quiet. Eventually, everyone had figured that the only way to pass the time was to sleep. This morning though, a girl fell down some steps and broke her ribs. NYU has decided to open some facilities to keep the power on for students to charge their machines and connect to their families back at home.
The images and commentaries are ridiculous. Insane to see, really. I’ve spent most of my weekend on Avenue C and now it’s covered underwater. I can’t fathom what has happened and I’m going to try to do so in the upcoming days. I have a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter waiting to be stacked. Once it is, I’m off to the streets to figure out what the hell’s going on.