What was your Hurricane Irene experience like? Thankfully, we didn’t feel her effects here in New York as much as the worst case scenario predicted.
Except for the Whole Foods in Tribeca.
The entire subway system was shut down at noon on Saturday. I believe the last time that happened was 9.11. Before the subway system shut down (and most of the city shut down along with it), I ran out Friday night to see One Day and get my Shake Shack on. Of course I loved One Day. David Nicholls writing the screenplay was a treat. The book leapt off the screen. And even though seeing every day from the book in the film was a thing of beauty, perhaps the film would have captured more of the book’s magic by focusing in depth on only a few days instead of showing them all. People who didn’t read the book couldn’t really experience the same impact during some of the shorter glimpses. But since I spazzed out over the book, I had so much fun filling in the blanks each year. Recommended viewing for sure.
I knew that I probably wouldn’t be going out on Saturday and I definitely wouldn’t be going out on Sunday, so I stopped by the Whole Foods in Tribeca on my way home to stock up. Good thing I’d already gotten extra water. Whole Foods looked like it had already been hit by the hurricane. The entire water aisle was empty. The entire bread aisle was empty. Last time I saw anything like that was 9.11. There were announcements about how Whole Foods was staying open all night until 9:00 a.m. the next morning, then closing until Monday. It made me wonder who would go there at 4:00 a.m. and what there would be left to get. I couldn’t even score a grape. But I did manage some Popchips and 365 popcorn among other essentials. And a slice of carrot cake. What can I say? People were in full-on panic mode and it was stressing me out and when I’m stressed I want cake.
Part of the reason that particular Whole Foods was crazy Friday night was that it was right next to Battery Park City, one of the mandatory evacuation areas. There are some gorgeous buildings in that neighborhood. They have amazing views. But the last place I’d want to be with a hurricane headed my way is staring out of a floor-to-ceiling window on the 32nd floor of my apartment building. You could tell a bunch of people stayed. When I was leaving Whole Foods, I saw tons of crates of water stacked up near the door with delivery tags.
What was my evacuation plan? I wasn’t in a mandatory evac zone, so my evacuation plan was no evacuation plan. I did not survive 9.11 to be bested by some wind/rain.
One reason I don’t have a TV is that the media can be ridiculous. The news whipped people into such a frenzy of panic I wanted to bust out my Save the Drama for Your Mama tee I used to wear when I was teaching and messenger it over to Fox News. As a former meteorology teacher, I have two recommendations for media when dealing with future severe weather:
1. Chill the eff out.
2. Take five minutes to explain the science of hurricanes.
Seriously. Did any of them explain that once a hurricane touches down, it begins to lose energy? Or that hurricanes derive energy from warm ocean water, at least 80 F? Or that by the time Hurricane Irene arrived in New York she would be a tropical storm, so as long as we stayed in out of the wind and avoided getting smacked with a tree branch or a flying patio chair some genius in that penthouse didn’t take in, we would not die? Not from what I heard. Way to freak everyone out, news.
There is a positive side to everything. The positive side of storm aftermath is this gorgeous weather we’ll be having all week. Storms bring down particulate matter in the atmosphere, resulting in a hugely decreased amount of condensation nuclei so that clouds can’t form. Storms are like atmospheric cleansing. So we’re having the best summer breeze ever. Another positive note? My windows have now been washed.
If you’re in want of more good news, check out the Good News Network. All good news, all the time. A refreshing antidote to the media frenzy huffufle!