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NEW YORK CITY IS DARK

Posted on: Friday



No electricity. No heat. No hot water. Lower Manhattan is dark. In the wake of this storm, the bottom half of the island, along with parts of Brooklyn, huge areas of New Jersey, all along the coast of Queens, and the entirety of Staten Island, is suffering.  So many people are struggling right now to find basic necessities, and to be reunited with their loved ones, and it is heartbreaking.

Gaby and I rented a car the day after the hurricane to drive over the bridge, towards the darkened skyline, and into the pitch black maze of downtown.  As we left the dim-lit bridge and descended into a blackened metropolis, a sense of doom overtook us. The sight was eery. The towering buildings reached towards the moon as massive gray silhouettes, flickering candlelight glowing from the occasional window.  The streets were silent and lawless, peppered with beams of light from the few passing cars, no traffic lights for miles.  People huddled with flashlights to navigate the streets, making their way to the refuge of the handful of brave candlelit bars and restaurants that had managed to somehow open.  Nobody seemed fearful, but you could feel the desperation building.

We wandered the streets and took it all in.  We tried to find friends to recruit back to Brooklyn for hot food and hot showers. Without any cellphone reception downtown, people are flocking together in their communities, helping one another.  The collective courage is amazing.  I am so sad for my city, but so proud of its people.

Like the way your love for someone quadruples when you risk losing them, or how you don't fully realize how much you care about something until it is wounded or gone, my adoration for this city has never been stronger.  I am so grateful for all that we have, and for somehow getting through this storm with such good fortune.  Every time I do the dishes, turn on a light, give Biet a bath, or cook food, I am filled with gratitude.  My heart goes out to all of our friends and old neighbors, just a few miles away, who are suffering.  But I know the city will come out stronger on the other side of this catastrophe. And, with heartfelt honesty, I can say that I love New York City more than ever.









24 COMMENTS:

  1. So glad you and your family are safe! My thoughts are with all of you and everyone affected by Sandy. Much love. M x

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    1. Thank you Miss M. Our thoughts are with our fellow New Yorkers too. Now its time to donate and volunteer and get to work to make sure everyone is well. I'm off to sort through baby clothes for donation.
      xx
      best wishes,
      belle

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  2. So wonderful to hear of the brialliance of human spirit! Such a trying time for you all and your beloved city. Our thoughts are with you. Steph :) x

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  3. Anonymous2:32:00 PM

    Belle, Thank you SO MUCH for this moving post. You, more than any other blogger in NYC, have conveyed the precious humanity that resides following the destruction and loss. Thank you for holding on to and nuturing that humanity. We need more people like you in this world, and more people to follow your example (instead of posting about sponsored goods in the aftermath of the Hurricane). THANK YOU! Hoping you, Gaby, Biet, Nico and baby stay safe. - Juliet

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  4. That is so sad and hard to comprehend. I feel for all the families struggling, it is truly such a difficult time for so many of our fellow citizens. I really hope everything gets back in order soon.

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    1. It is hard to comprehend. Its hard for me to walk down the street and see people going about their business and going to the grocery store, when not 20 minutes away people have nothing. Is that what they call survivor's guilt? Our neighborhood was truly lucky, and now we are banding together with neighbors to get everyone in less fortunate neighborhoods what they need to get back on their feet.

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  5. As always, your beautiful writing stirs so much emotion in your readers. I feel for my NY friends without their everyday needs being met. I cant imagine the lack of heating or possibility of a shower! Good work at offering your home to your Manhattan loved ones! Stay warm and safe!

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  6. So spooky, be careful out there!

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  7. Wow, these images are so surreal. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. We're hoping you all can get back to life as usual very soon!

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  8. I absolutely love these photos. It's crazy to see such a huge city in the dark. My family is all in New York, many without power but luckily they are able to shuffle around and clean up/ charge phones with the family that does have power. My cousins on Long Island and in New Jersey actually have it the worst with some damage to their homes.

    We were very lucky here in Boston that we didn't really get hit. Glad that you guys are safe and thanks again for the beautiful pics.

    xo Lilly

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    1. Oh I hope your family in Long Island and New Jersey are ok! It breaks my heart to see how badly some of those areas were hit. We are so grateful to be safe, and doing what we can now to reach out to others.
      My thoughts are with your family,
      Belle

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  9. Anonymous1:57:00 AM

    there are people in less glamorous parts of the Tri-state area who are in dire need of help...I'm not convinced this post really captures the magnitude of this event...cool pictures aren't always appropriate. You rented a car to be a spectator meanwhile there are lines for gas and people just trying to get to work..to live.

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    1. You are absolutely right, these photos come nowhere near capturing the magnitude of this event. The photos all over the news, of family's with their houses washed away, of entire neighborhoods underwater, of FEMA performing body counts, of senior citizens stuck on the top floors of apartment buildings with no way to get down and no running water or food, of people being evacuated from hospitals in the dark- these capture the magnitude. They break my heart and bring tears to my eyes. And if I was a reporter, I would post them, but I am not. I am a mother, a New Yorker, a blogger, and this was my experience.

      We rented a zipcar for a few hours to get to the East Village when there was no other way, to find certain people, some of whom Gaby has been neighbors with for over 20 years. Our friends there were just getting news that their power could be out for up to ten days (it finally turned back on last night, thank goodness), and many were not prepared with enough food, water, charged phone batteries. We felt a need to be there and offer what we could, even if it wasn't much. And on the first day after the storm, there were no reports of gas shortages in the city, no lines at gas stations. Perhaps our trip did conrtibute to the gas shortage, but in all honesty we didn't know that then. We were thinking of our community.

      These pictures were taken as we walked from our car to meet three of our friends on a corner. This is what we saw, what we experienced, and I wanted to document it in the best way I know how, with pictures and words.



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  10. Anonymous4:58:00 PM

    maybe, instead of spending your free time with your rented car taking photos of the devastation, you could consider those whose lives have been completely torn apart by this storm. you could take your gratitude and use it as motivation to volunteer your time to those in need instead of being a spectator. here's a site with a bunch of volunteer opportunities:
    http://www.nycservice.org
    just a suggestion.

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  11. I wouldn't have known about this if it wasn't for you and another blogger, so thank you for sharing. I am in shock that a storm could do this level of damage to New York. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone suffering in America and the Caribbean. Hope everyone can receive shelter, food and their basic needs soon.

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  12. Glad your little family is safe & sound. It sounds like you did the best you could to help friends in trouble. They are lucky to have friends like you. xx

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  13. Everything seems very scary...Hopeful you and family in God blessed

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