|I Love NY by [email protected]_de_leche, via Flickr|
As I sit in my eighth-floor prewar apartment, I hear more sirens than usual. I stare outside my wide bedroom window and the streets appear normal. The Upper West Side looks like any other cloudy Tuesday with a slight wind coming off the Hudson River.
But it’s no ordinary day in New York.
The effects of Hurricane Sandy have been devastating for New York City, particularly, parts of Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, City Island in the Bronx, and Lower Manhattan. But now that the worst of this catastrophe is behind us, we need to pick up the pieces. How do we get back to life as we know it?
Irene hit 14 months ago, and within 24 hours after the storm, subways were back in operation. Damage in the city was minimal, with the brunt of it upstate. But this time, Sandy didn’t spare us. Most residents south of 39th Street in Manhattan are without power, and the Financial District is under water. It could be days before subways are up and running. Buses will be on a limited schedule starting at 5PM today.
With two important annual events for the City of New York this week, where do we go from here? Local government has bigger fish to fry than worry about tourism, entertainment or major athletic events. Thus far, 12 people have died in NYC, hospital patients have been evacuated, dozens, perhaps hundreds of people have lost their homes and vehicles to fire and flooding. Destruction throughout the five boroughs ranges from trees breaking and uprooting to a facade falling off of a tenement building on Eighth Ave in Chelsea.
Tomorrow is Halloween, a major holiday for New York City. Each year, the Village Halloween parade draws thousands of spectators from near and far, produces millions of dollars for the city, not to mention the thousands of dollars it costs to organize the parade, and endless hours of time on the part of volunteers. And as with most theatrical events in NYC, creativity is never spared.
Mayor Bloomberg announced this afternoon that this annual parade is canceled for the first time in its 39-year history. With power outages throughout most of downtown Manhattan and mass transit paralyzed, it’s no surprise. But still, it’s a huge disappointment for the 50,000-plus participants and thousands more in the audience.
As of now, the ING NY Marathon is scheduled to take place this Sunday, November 4. There is no word of cancellation. This is also a huge annual event for the city. I hope at least a partial recovery will be in place so the world can come together again and run throughout the five boroughs.
It’s a sad day in New York City, but we are resilient and will bounce back.
Tune in tomorrow for a special photoblog of past Village Halloween parades.