Sunday, November 4, 2012

So this is my post-Hurricane Sandy story....just a hell of a commute!

I wasn't sure if I wanted to share my hurricane Sandy story because from what I've read and seen out there, what I went through is not so bad at all. Actually, nothing worth sharing. We did not lose power and only briefly lost the internet during prime hurricane time. All I have to complain about was the painful commute to work days after the storm has gone.

Neighbors' plants and fence

We had a friend stay with us. He was stranded in the city for three days before being able to catch the first bus out of the city. The day after the hurricane passed, some grocery stores and cafes were open around our area so we were able to drink some hot diluted Stumptown coffee at Variety and pick up some provisions for a steak feast. It was also the day when I get a dreadful hint from my boss that he expects me to be at work for the rest of the week. I was so bummed. I thought I would have the whole week off or until the subways started running anyway again. My boss has been going to work during the hurricane because he lives on the Upper West Side and it takes him 20 minutes to walk across beautiful Central Park to get to work. I think he did not really know the severity of the storm and how it affected lower Manhattan and the outer boroughs. On Wednesday, with no subway trains restored yet, the commute to Manhattan from Brooklyn was BRUTAL! So for the last three work days, it was mission 'How to get to work'!

Cute doggy!

Spirits were high when we have food and coffee!

On Wednesday, a coworker rented a Zipcar and picked a few of us Brooklynites up to go to work together. She  picked me up just before 7 a.m. and we decided to take the Queensboro bridge. It was HELL traffic with 3 hours of stop and go. We got to work just before 10 a.m. but we were so tired. On our way back home, we commuted for a total of 4 hours where 2 of them was spent trying to get onto the Manhattan bridge near Chinatown. Lower Manhattan had completely lost power and we plunged into darkness when we drove downtown. While stuck in traffic, we felt bad for all the people who have lost power and heat. It was pretty scary for me to see so many people on the streets with flashlights and I was scared there would be violence or looting going on as we slowly drove by. I finally got home around 9:30 p.m. and the lesson learned from the first day back to work was that we would have to leave even earlier the next day to avoid wasting time in traffic. The next morning, I left the house at around 5:45 a.m. and it was such a great idea since we breezed through the commute and got to work around 6:20 a.m. A 3 person and more carpool rule was also instated for anyone traveling into Manhattan which might have helped with reducing traffic that day. Since we came in so early, we left early too. I got home at about 4 p.m. which was weird, had dinner at 6 p.m. and like an old person, I tried to go to bed at around 9 p.m. but because I am NOT old, I couldn't fall asleep until 11 p.m. or so. Therefore, the next day's wake up time of 5:30 a.m. was a torture and turns out, so was the commute again.

Silvercup studio by Queensboro bridge

Queensboro traffic 

Watching the sunrise at work was nice!

With the carpool rule and people's cars slowly running out of gas, traffic was expected to be a lot better that Friday however, our Zipcar was actually almost on 'E' when it was picked up. My coworker decided to drive it anyway in hopes of finding a gas station that had gas. At that point, most of New York and New Jersey's gas stations were running out of gas and those that were open had long line like at a YSL sample sale. See here if you don't get the reference. A gas station near my house was open and in business but it had cars waiting for several blocks down. People were angry and shouting since there were many cars trying to cut in line. We got in line too because we didnt think there would be another gas station with a better situation but gave up after 15 minutes of waiting since we moved only 2 car spaces and realized that we were not going to make it to work at a decent time if we waited 'til the end.  Driving was no longer a viable option unless we found gas and we were all unwilling to take the free MTA shuttle buses from Brooklyn to Manhattan due to the crowds and traffic. Our last resort was the free shuttle service offered by our company that day. It was all the way back in downtown Brooklyn. The shuttle was not close to the drop-off location of our Zipcar so we decided to park it somewhere closer call Zipcar and claim that we were almost running out of gas and wouldn't be able to drive it back to its original parking lot. That worked out and we walked two blocks to the shuttle stop. The shuttle came early and we got to work at a decent time of 7:20 a.m. with no traffic. Coming back was not so easy as well.  First off, the shuttle was late due to traffic but once it dropped us off back in downtown Brooklyn, my mission was to get home back home to Williamsburg. I could have taken a cab but I felt bad because buses were running again and I could at least try to find my way home. I managed to get home after 3 hours of commute again and was thankful that it was Friday already and did not have to go through this for the next couple of days.

Into the dark side in Lower Manhattan...

Good thing D was not around or else he would be hearing me bitch all night long however, I knew he wasn't any better since he was in Atlantic City helping out his parents. Atlantic city was evacuated during the storm due to flooding and there was loss of power. D had to take care of his flooded basement sooo I was glad he went to help out his parents to pump water out of the house while I was simply trying to get from point A to point B.

So that's my lame little story. Commuting was a biatch and I know I was not alone! Next time, I gotta buy a bike and save the headache of being on a motor vehicle solely reliant on a non-renewable source of energy...Oh and to make matters worst, we are not getting paid for those two days we could not make it into work even when public transportation was completely shut down! Yea..I know.

Jane's carousel was surrounded by water during Sandy but looked okay now!
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