The Week of the Hurricane

Part I: The storm

One week ago today, I was holding a marathon cooking-fest, trying to make sure my husband and I would have plenty to eat should we loose power in the impending storm, which by that point, we had decided to take seriously. Zucchini fritters, roasted chicken and vegetables, plus bottles of water in the freezer that we could use to keep our food cold should our refrigerator stop working. All of last Sunday felt like a waiting game which persisted into Monday. Businesses were closed across the city, and the sky was a relentless gray. Rain fell lightly off and on, but much of the morning we were waiting for “it” to happen, unsure of exactly what “it” looked like, but fully confident “it” hadn’t arrived yet. Then came the winds. Wind strength can be hard to gauge in a Brooklyn apartment when there are few trees outside to witness swaying. But this wind, we heard. Not whistling or howling, or any word you’d usually use to describe the sound. This was a creaking,  a heavy sound, like someone was walking on our ceiling. Chuck said it sounded like we were on a boat getting rocked back and forth. (This wind, we would learn later, uprooted 300 tress in Prospect Park that night, just 5 blocks from our apartment.)

We kept waiting all through Monday. The lights flicked on and off, but always came back. The rain remained a light sprinkle. The streetlight in front of our window shuddered. After making another dinner, and watching a movie, and drinking a bottle of red wine, and discovering it was not yet 10 PM, we consulted the amateur hurricane tracking studio we’d assembled in our living room and determined that the center of the storm had passed us and the worst was over. When the creaking quieted, we ventured outside for the first time in 24 hours. Our short walk around the block yielded what you’d expect: lots of downed tree limbs, taped windows, nearly every business closed, (Der Kommissar, which slung beers and sausages throughout the night, being the exception,) and a still quiet rarely experienced in New York. I snapped a few photos of an empty 5th Ave. that night.

And then the trees started shuddering again and we got ourselves back safely indoors. We followed every newsfeed we could. The New York Times. Facebook. Twitter. The actual TV news. We heard about green lightening. The exploding power station on 14th street. The evacuation of hospitals that had lost power. The darkened lower Manhattan. The news was worse with each post. We went to bed, grateful for heat and power, unsure what we would find in the morning.
I woke up to this view out our front window:

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