“No bread. We don’t have any bread. No buns, no biscuits, no bread!” the manager of Key Foods was shouting to a group of unlucky customers on Astoria’s 30th Ave. Lines at the grocery store were invading the produce aisles, while queues at Duane Reade wrapped toward the rear of the building.
Such Sunday hubbub could only mean one thing: It’s hurricane time.
New York is an odd place to inhabit when one of these gales unexpectedly blows through the East Coast. Our fluidity of the city is interrupted by a new excitement. The 8.5 million people of NYC spastically shop for supplies, grab last minute “hurricane survival kits,” and then, quite suddenly, disappear.
Never will you feel more like the apocalypse occurred -- and you were infuriatingly left behind -- than when you’re standing in front of a shining, glistening, completely empty Time Square. It’s an eerie sensation to see one center of the universe so vacant of human life.
At 2pm this afternoon...
But people love storms too. That same energy New York grasps on a daily basis is bundled into a shared excitement that spreads faster than the flu in February. News anchors become superstars, meteorologists become gods, and we common folk? Those of us not living under a rock quickly ban together against what might as well be dubbed the “impending doom.”
As I ran down Steinway to pick up two more bottles of wine before the liquor store closed, I saw a few old women jumping up and down in the street about their “sleepover,” a rolling office chair fly down the sidewalk and smack into an SUV, as well as a group of guys who wanted to know if me and my roommate would attend their “hurricane party of the century.”
I think it’s safe to say we take ourselves seriously in times of distress… but not that seriously. And that's probably best.
If Hurricane Sandy’s current trajectory pans out, storm force winds are expected to occur around lunchtime tomorrow in the New York City area. Already the subway, busses, and other forms of public transportation have been shut down and evacuations of “Zone A” ordered. The majority of businesses (including Wall Street) are closed for tomorrow, and schools were cancelled early this morning.
So what will the supposed “Frankenstorm” inflict? Maybe Hurricane Sandy will bring a whole lot of nothing… or maybe the worst weather to have swept this area in decades will stubbornly commence.
Either way, I’m staying (safely) in the city. And I’m a little excited to see what tomorrow will bring. Let's hope I don’t eat my words...
Be careful out there kiddos.