Hurricane Sandy (5), the aftermath - goin into the 'dark zone'

Manhattan Travel Blog

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Park Avenue and 32nd street and 28th Street, Subway entrance

Today was the first real day after hurricane Sandy. Activities are everywhere to clean up Sandy's mess. Collapsed trees are being removed, the MTA (public transport) is emptying subway tubes/stations and repairing tracks, Con-Edison (the electricity company) is working hard to restore the power for those who lost it, charity is providing free food for those who became home less, etc etc.

As per yesterday evening the city buses are running again. And those were my only hope to get to the office today. Hope in vain... however. When I arrived at the bus stop it looked like Yankee stadium had just finished a Major League game. Crowds were waiting. And there were no buses to be seen at all.

Lafayette Street
Cars, on the other hand, millions of them! In fact none of the south bound avenues did flow at all. So, I decided to walk instead. Doing so I passed four buses (all filled like sardine cans). The buses were free, by the way!

There were very few in the office, mostly colleagues that live in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens. Everybody had his/or her story. Those who live in the "dark zone" (All Manhattan south of 39th Street, which lost power) told how they coped with and suffered from the electricity less life. Other had been in a traffic jam for hours or left home at 5 am.

After work, I decided I wanted to see the "dark zone" for myself. So I walked south on Lexington Avenue and Broadway. At first there was still day light. But twilight came soon, making the streets extremely creepy and mysterious.

Broadway
Unreal! Not a single traffic light, nor a street lantern was working. No light in the many offices, no neon at McDonald's, no shop windows, everything looked deserted. Like a huge ghost town with a huge traffic jam.

The latter came in handy, because thanks to the car lights I was still able to see where I walked. Others were better prepared and walked with flashlights. It was remarkable how the drivers made their way at the intersections. There was a lot of police but also on intersections without police everything went smoothly and without antisocial behavior. 

Once in a while there was all of a sudden some (generator powered) light, at hospitals, a military armory, at the federal courts, and with a grand finale at City Hall. In the middle of pure darkness City Hall was standing in many floodlights, sparkling like a big wedding cake.

Broadway, looking north bound towards the Chrysler Building, in the "bright zone"

At that point I decided to return home and went to search for the M15 Express Bus. I walked via China town which was the creepiest of all. The always busy neighborhood was completely deserted, alleys were really dark, and the metal shutters were down. Think of those alleys like in the movies, where people get killed. Only now those alleys ware everywhere....

I waited for about 30 minutes for the bus, which never showed up. Only after walking another 55 blocks at 42nd Street I was finally able to spot one. Later I learnt that the MTA had all of a sudden decided to stop providing buses in the "dark zone". It is almost material for a movie. "The two Manhattans", the "dark zone" with creepy closed houses, no shops and no service, versus the "bright zone" were people have dinners in restaurants, go shopping, watch TV and get public transport service.

At home I discovered, to my pleasure, that my cable TV signal which I lost yesterday had been restored. Because even in the "bright zone" some services suffered from Sandy....

More pictures below! (Apologies for picture quality, taken with the Blackberry)

debcon says:
Interesting to read this. I too was in NY at this time, I was staying on Bowery in the dark zone. It was pretty scary, especially walking around in the dark and not knowing when we would be able to leave. It was an experience that's for sure.
Posted on: Mar 20, 2013
sylviandavid says:
This is so fascinating to read....was it Marathon Man that was in deserted NYC?
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012
marix_sublime says:
thanks for sharing this. good to know you are fine.
Posted on: Nov 01, 2012
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Park Avenue and 32nd street and 28…
Park Avenue and 32nd street and 2…
Lafayette Street
Lafayette Street
Broadway
Broadway
Broadway, looking north bound towa…
Broadway, looking north bound tow…
Rightin frontof my appartment buil…
Rightin frontof my appartment bui…
Lexington Avenue and 33rd Street
Lexington Avenue and 33rd Street
Park Avenue and 32nd street
Park Avenue and 32nd street
Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street
Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street
Generators power a hospital at 14t…
Generators power a hospital at 14…
Union Square and 14th Street
Union Square and 14th Street
4th Avenue
4th Avenue
Even Utrecht is without power
Even Utrecht is without power
Even Amsterdam is without power
Even Amsterdam is without power
Astor Place Subway station Entrance
Astor Place Subway station Entrance
No Blue Men tonight!
No Blue Men tonight!
Lafayette Street
Lafayette Street
Broadway
Broadway
Broadway
Broadway
A few shops with private generator…
A few shops with private generato…
Broadway
Broadway
City Hall in floodlights
City Hall in floodlights
Manhattan
photo by: Fitnessguru729