08.27.11: on irene, from nyc {updated throughout the storm, at least in theory}

11:19 i've packed up apartment tent, drained the tub, and released our plants back into the wild. it's probably time to get started on fan letters to the folks who offered to put us up if worse came to worst (though irene has been losing steam for the past few days, we were convinced on thursday that we'd be evacuated from the building over the weekend; i very nearly cried with relief when friends told us that of course we could stay with them).

09:54 back from surveying the city from our roof. a news crew is now filming our trees.

09:28 the poor old gentlemen.

our trees, 9 am

09:07 williamsburg is just visible across the river.

williamsburg bridge, brooklyn

08:17 the weather channel reports that irene is still a "low-end" hurricane with winds of about 75 mph; "it's gotten kind of elongated and fucked up," joe notes. 125,000 people in the tri-state area (including several thousand in each of the five boroughs) are without power, but we're going strong.

08:00 the sea wall on the east river has been breached down by wall street, but it seems to be holding up here. someone just crossed the overpass between us and the park on foot.

07:53 we woke to screaming winds at about three this morning; another band of rain has moved in, and joe says the eye wall is coming at us from the southeast (it's a darker grey in the sky). the fdr seems to be under a few feet of water.


23:54 administrative note: if we lose power, i'll continue to update via twitter (the most recent tweet appears on this page at right). i will also try to convince joe to have a flashlight party.

23:43 abc news is reporting that con ed could cut power to lower manhattan, as salt can collect on cables; the housing authority, in turn, might shut down elevators in high rises (in public housing, not private buildings).

23:24 out on the balcony the air is soft and warm, the windblown rain like confetti in your face; it's not unpleasant. the current in the east river is picking up speed.

22:30 @twintermute (my friend stewart, in boston): "fenway letting people in for free, so we cabbed over. so empty you can hear the drummer guys out on lansdowne." traffic on the fdr hasn't disappeared altogether, but it's lighter than i've ever seen it, and mostly city vehicles.

21:30 took a farewell bath and left the tub full of water (in case we need it to flush the toilet). truth be told, the idea of going without bathing saddens me more than the idea of going without flushing; i'd be showering right now if i could figure out how to waterproof the laptop. it's an interesting reversal of my concerns as a girl scout camp counselor years ago, when i could deal with showering once a week but fixated on "real" toilets after getting trapped in a port-a-potty with a nest of earwigs (concealed in the tp roll).

19:27 the staten island ferry will run for another two and a half hours, which is very much in character, if a bit baffling. with bus service suspended and a terminus deep in the evacuation zone, who will be riding those ferries? an suv loitering on fdr drive (that is, on the border of zone A) was just hastened along by a police cruiser; we could hear the loudspeaker barking.

18:49 am baking icelandic-chocolate-and-walnut cookies. what the news reports won't tell you: child-free hurricane area residents end up with terror-food babies.

18:01 on a phoner with the huffington post this afternoon, "must-read" scientist-slash-weather-blogger jeff masters said, "I'm not too worried about the wind. But the big damage will be from the storm surge and fresh water flooding. That is going to be the big worry." flooding i don't mind; we're just across the street from the east river, sure, but our building's ground floor is full of wet vacs, water pumps, and sand bags. i've been eyeing the neighbors' balconies and thinking about airborne projectiles, as we seem to be the only people on the lower east side who brought our stuff indoors (thanks, guys). i don't actually want to find and throttle the guy with the potted japanese maple on the terrace next door.

16:48 our plants and chairs are in from the balcony, our extra-breakable stuff (joe's speakers, a lamp, a decanter and glasses) are tucked in the closet, and our little stockpiles of batteries, water, and emergency supplies are in easy reach. as we can't completely avoid the windows (which are in every room), it gives me great pleasure to announce the return of apartment tent.

apartment tent: the re-debut

15:20 my friend lauren (in durham, NC) tells us to be prepared to lose power; she's been having off-and-on surges since last night, and "now it's just off." FEMA reports that 500,000 people are without power in north carolina now, up from 250,000 just two hours ago, and it's expected to get worse as the storm moves up the coast. our building has a generator for the lobby; we, in turn, have three flashlights and several thousand stinky candles.

14:56 @MCSnugz (our friend sarah): "So Fresh Direct did that thing where they cancelled our order and we had to fight the Brooklyn hordes for 10 bottles of Smart Water." the hoarding started early in midtown manhattan: when i headed out for a late lunch at about two yesterday afternoon, C and D batteries were long gone. i found an overlooked stash at a bodega near columbus circle; joe informed me that 2-packs like the ones i scored were going for $15 on the upper east side. (i did not buy them all.)

14:36 our building's exercise room is as lively as i've ever seen it: every machine was enthusiastically occupied, and katrina and the waves (a bold choice, local radio station) blared out of the sound system. televisions tuned to the local news informed us that new jersey governor chris christie is still livid ("get the hell off the beach in asbury park and get out"). it suits him.

13:10 just got my first hurricane-related commercial email, courtesy of fredflare.com - "EVERYBODY WAS TALKING ABOUT IRENE BUT SHE WASN'T ONE TO GOSSIP. STAY CUTE & SAFE THIS WKND. XOXO" - and as far as i can tell, the irene in question is a striped cardigan. in other news, raising a hand and saying "stay safe" every time i walk away from someone has started making me feel like the pope. i don't know how that works.

12:52 back from our last trip to the grocery store. it's calmed down since last night, when a small mob gathered around a woman with something like seventeen items in the fifteen-items-or-fewer aisle. plenty of water, but the bread was long gone. here comes the rain.

12:12 we've decided to stay in the apartment (on the border between evacuation zones A and B); while we're on the 18th floor, our building management maintains that our windows can handle 75 mph winds and gusts of 80-95 mph. local news reports that many zone A residents are ignoring the city's evacuation order. staying behind is foolish and dangerous, bloomberg says. a guy on a sea-doo just passed us, heading up the east river.


Celia said...

seriously, lauren, STAY CUTE.

kidchamp said...

i'll admit that i swapped my lucky cibo matto tee shirt out of my go bag when i realized we wouldn't be leaving town. 

jen said...

following your blog along in real-time today. please post more of your fabulous storm pictures! er, provided that it's safe to be near your windows, of course. xo to the kitties, and a swift kick for joe.

kidchamp said...

we might sneak up to the roof later, if the rain stays mild. so far it's still just grey and breathy.

jamie said...

several thousand? really?

can i have an apartment tent with no impending hurricane?

ben has another show, and i think me & henry & manray would REALLY enjoy it. 

Milkmaid's dumb friend said...

Are you even now preparing a votive candle for your weather-related power-celebrity?  There are a lot of obvious choices, but might I recommend Philip Seymour Hoffman in the pick-up basketball game scene from (the not so too terribly bad) Along Came Polly?  (Let It Rain!  Rain Dance! Rain Drops!)

kidchamp said...

@jamie: i've brought home every candle i've encountered at the office for the last six years, people send me even more, and i buy a bunch on my own. it's kind of a sickness, but it made me very popular when we had a power outage in college.  
@MDF: who wrote that short story about the people made of sugar who melted in the rain? was that asimov? i'd probably make an asimov candle. or a roy batty candle. 

holli said...

PSHAW! here in the keys, for categories 1-4, we toss our outside furniture into the pool, close the accordion shutters on all doors but 1, rip off dead palm fronds, and dance through the aisles of tourist-free grocery stores. for 5's we drink heavily. and tow behind trucks on boards through puddles like rednecks of the isles. you'll be fiiiinnnneeeeee, stay cute.

kidchamp said...

i'm definitely more curious than worried; joe wanted to leave town (we had the option of borrowing a car, so we made a worst-case-scenario reservation at a hotel in PA last night), but i thought we'd be fine and convinced him to stay. i worry that saying so jinxes the hell out of us, but what can you do? 

holli said...

you savage. it'll be an experience, if anything! i've been selfishly hoping all's well so my early week flight into JFK isn't interrupted- but now you've got my thoughts as well!

Lisa said...

No wit here, just generalized maternal good wishes. Specializing in on demand hot water.

furiousmuse said...

following every update from california! also, well-wishes to you, joe & the kitties

Amid Privilege said...

Oh well. At least they were trees, not people, or kitties. Glad you are still there.

naurnie said...

i'm just glad it didn't hit you for realz.

kidchamp said...

me too, L. i like exotic weather, but exotic, destructive weather is no good; we lucked out.