Post-apocalyptic, confused, hopeful, supportive, broken – the reactions to New York in the wake of hurricane Sandy have spanned every adjective imaginable.
It depends where you are.
The city is split between those lucky areas that escaped largely unscathed and those areas that are still in darkness, still reeling and clawing back towards normality.
Our realities could not be more different. We were incredibly lucky to be located in a part of the city that was left almost entirely untouched, save a few downed trees. We kept hot water and electricity and only lost internet and heat for a while.
We’ve had lots of Manhattan friends come to stay for hot showers, a comfy bed, WiFi and lots of home-cooked meals. They’ve come with tales of local neighbors coming together and helping each other out, of restaurants serving customers by candle-light, of grocery stores giving free food to locals, of gyms opening their doors to offer showers. There have been less rosy stories as well – stories of piles of drowned rats, of 4 inches of flooded sewerage in bedrooms, of rotten food, of dark stairwells, of restaurants asking people to pay to charge their cell phones in order to call family and friends.
It seems as if the storm has brought out the best, and the worst in everyone. In the dark zone, there’s a craziness and a loneliness. Even here, where life carries on much the same, the disorientated city seeps over the water.