Sunday, August 28, 2011

New York: After The Storm

Irene, downgraded from a hurricane category 1 to a tropical storm, has passed the city. I had spent the night on the Lower East side at my girlfriend´s flat. This area stayed quiet, I heard no storm noises. But some unfortunate car owner will find his vehicle covered with a big tree branch.

Other areas of Manhattan were hit harder. At some places we saw trees felled by the storm gusts. The southern peak of Manhattan had another problem: The water. Irene, which arrived during high tide, had pressured the water up the Hudson River and caused problems in lower parts of the city. In Tribeca some streets were flooded because a lot of water spilled out of sewers and huge steam clouds signaled problems with the steam pipelines.

There was another phenomena. The streets were almost empty and many restaurants and shops stayed closed. The mass transport system was still shut down and a taxi ride from the south peak of Manhattan to Lower East side costs double of the usual $10.
The spooky street scene reminded me of the movie "Devil`s Advocate" when Tom Cruise stood alone on 5th Avenue and nobody else was to be seen.

But there were many police cars with their flashing lights on. It seems they wanted to show their presence to discourage looters and other suspicious elements, especially in areas which were evacuated. The cops also warned by loudspeaker about fallen electricity wires, which could electrify the street (just like in the movie "Ice Storm) and the risk of falling branches.

Its seems the otherwise very busy metropolis used the storm to take a short time out.

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