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.