Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Up Close and Personal

My girlfriend Angela and I decided to take a long weekend trip to New York City. Angela had not been to the Big Apple before and we were looking forward to a short getaway. After a long storm delay, we finally arrived in NYC around midnight. It was an omen.
Our plan was to fly home on Sunday evening after taking in a Broadway show and a tour of the city, but that was not to be.
On Friday, the forecast tracked a direct hit to NYC from Hurricane Irene.
On advice from the hotel, we headed to the closest Rite-Aid for supplies in the chance that the city was without power for a few days. Bottled water, peanut butter, granola bars, chips and salsa seemed to make the most sense to us, a couple of Iowans in the path of a hurricane. Times Square is always crazy, but we were joined by what seemed like thousands of others also wondering how to prepare for the pending storm. The shelves were soon bare.
New York is often called "the city that never sleeps." But sleep it did by noon on Saturday when it actually shut down. It was historic! About five hospitals in low lying areas actually evacuated their patients and others put their disaster preparedness plans into action. Shops and restaurants closed. All public transit shut down and the Mayor asked everyone to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Fortunately, the best happened and although the storm did create havoc along the Eastern Seaboard, New York City was spared and damage was minimal. All we really experienced was some strong winds and a lot of rain. By Sunday afternoon, the sun actually peeked out and the city came back to life.
When I'm in NYC, folks often ask where I am from and it's great fun to tell them I am from Brooklyn. They say, "That's funny, you don't sound like you're from Brooklyn..." When I tell them the Brooklyn I am from is in Iowa and has 1,500 residents instead of 1.5 million residents, they always get a big smile.

As you might have guessed, our Sunday flight was cancelled and we could not get a flight out until Tuesday. Because of something to do with the hurricane, The David Letterman Show needed an audience on Monday. This was a Bucket List item for both of us, so we were thrilled to score free tickets! It was really fun to see all the behind the scenes things that go on to produce a show like that every weeknight. We agree with Alan Colter, the Late Show announcer that New York City is indeed "the greatest city in the world!"

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