Last week while shopping around at the outlet malls, I glanced at my phone to see a few messages in from concerned people on my blackberry. Turns out, there had been an earthquake in New York City. "Thank God I was on flat ground and not in my apartment on the 41st floor," I thought to myself, letting my friends know that I didn't feel it at all. I returned home to the city (I was staying with my best friend for a few days) only for the doorman of my building to inform me that we had a hurricane coming our way. "What?!" I said panicked and started researching all the news I could find on what was coming our way. My friends laughed and my best friend joked that I was turning into a typical American and worrying about absolutely everything. As the days went by though, people seemed to take me more seriously as the news carried warnings about Irene and the crazy destruction she was causing in her path. As Irene's arrival grew closer, a lot of friends who had scoffed at me had to vacate their homes as the Mayor caused a forced evacuation of a lot of areas in New York which were in danger of being hit the hardest. It was all very scary.
I decided to tackle Irene much like Indiana Jones- I was prepared for the worst! The first thing I decided to do was to stock up on groceries that were dry and slow to perish on the off chance that the electricity went out. The streets of New York was hectic yet eerily silent and all conversation around me was only about the hurricane. I felt like I was in a Hollywood movie with half the people (myself included) taking every precaution imaginable with the other half making plans on where they wanted to party through the hurricane and trying to find out what was open. It didn't help that all Hollywood movies around doomsday all seem to take place in New York City! I did all my laundry so I would have clean clothes, withdrew extra cash from the ATM in case credit card machines stopped working, did the dishes and bought a huge bag of supplies for a first aid kit that I might need. After I was done, a friend convinced me to go out for dinner after which we went out club hopping. It looked like a regular Friday night in the city and we returned home at 4AM.
The next day, Saturday, was when we expected Irene to hit us in all her glory. She was scheduled to arrive at around 5 PM and I decided to rise early and take a walk around the city and grab myself some coffee. Buses and trains were ordered to stop running post noon and people had shut shop to return home before they got stranded at work. Virtually all the stores were shut with a scary sight of Bloomingdales right across my apartment building being boarded up just in case the winds shattered the glass. A nearby Cafe Metro seemed to be the only place open, which is where I grabbed coffee for myself and bagels for the building staff who were going to be working through the storm. The roads were silent and it was raining slightly. Was very, very scary.
At 7 when Lavo shut in preparation for dinner, we headed on over to Tao (that is right across the road) for some dinner and some more drinks. I had a friend staying with me and we reached home at around 10 I think (because of my insistence that too) while other friends made plans and decided to go over to each others homes. I had another friend come visit and leave at 1 AM in the morning... It was just raining outside but apart from that there was no strong winds. And then, we waited. We waited and waited and expected something to change. We watched the news and watched it pour outside and at one point were very nervous as the full glass windows on my 41st floor apartment started to shake and vibrate. My friend calls me over to the kitchen and makes me listen to a creaking sound that we can hear- was the building actually moving? We braced ourselves for strong winds and I kept my first aid kit plus my handbag with my passport and all my cash by the door in case we needed to dash. Pretty soon the vibrating subsided and it was calm again. We decided to watch a movie and track the storm on our laptops instead. We watched "3 idiots" and the next thing we knew it was 7 AM in the morning. The storm was now scheduled to hit us in around an hour and was supposed to be pretty bad till noon. We decided to get some sleep while we still could. Of course, for those who know what happened with Irene knows what happened next- Absolutely NOTHING. I woke up at around 10:30 only to find that the rain had stopped and whatever storm was supposed to come, just didn't. I switched on the TV only to find a reaction between relief (weather and news guys) and amused (the chat shows) with Irene being the butt of all jokes-
"How sad that everything that goes near Wall Street gets downgraded"
(Irene was to hit the downtown area the hardest. She was also downgraded from a "hurricane" to a "tropical storm" in those few hours I was asleep.)
And another one that I loved- "Typical. You think you're hot shit and then you get to New York City only to find out you're not a big deal."
Well I guess all's well that end's well and it's a good thing nothing happened, although a few friends who lived in the suburbs did lose their electricity for a day or two. At least I know now that I'm pretty good (if not paranoid good!) while preparing for an emergency! I also suspect that on the 21st December 2012, NYC will have the baddest party this world has ever seen. There is something about oncoming death and destruction that really makes these guys go wild! A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and it couldn't have been more apt for the occasion-