We love our drama here in New York City. In anticipation of Hurricane Irene, everyone started boarding up their windows on Friday afternoon; clearing out supermarkets, entire shelves at a time; and most businesses, from Trader Joe’s to Bloomingdale’s to all the movie theaters, preemptively closed for business both Saturday and Sunday. (Hrmph. I was supposed to go see The Idiot Brother.)
Better safe than sorry, but needless to say the alarm bells were a bit much. By the time the storm reached the city, it was indeed a storm, downgraded from a hurricane. The rain started late in the day Saturday and was done by the time most New Yorkers woke up this morning. I went for a walk up to Central Park to see what was happening around town, post-Irene…
Fifth Avenue is flooded! Flooded with foreign tourists who have absolutely nowhere to go and nothing to do. The entire city, from museums and theaters to restaurants and boutiques to coffee shops and parks, remains closed. Such a bummer. Can you imagine traveling to the “city that never sleeps” only to be pretty well shut out for 48 hours??
Some retailers (Bergdorf) completely plywooded their windows. Others (Barneys) did nothing, leaving their expensive displays and pristine plate glass windows up to fate. Analyze as you will.
Besides midtown, where all the restless tourists are making the most of the day, the city is relatively quiet (it’s actually strange to be here without the crazy noise; the whole city hums as if there’s a giant engine cranking just below the surface—sort of magnificently eerie). Earlier in the day, the only people out were dog walkers and cops. But with nary a drop of precipitation since 10 a.m., people are now itching to be out and about. The bodegas and diners that were prescient and/or ambitious enough to open are doing a booming business, some with lines out the door.
The water and wind set off alarm bells, particularly up on Madison Avenue, and knocked down tree limbs—one blocked the entire street down here near Gramercy Park. But otherwise, despite lots of leaves and branches on the sidewalks, I’ve seen worse street flooding during ordinary rainstorms.
So it was a bit anticlimactic. But also, an awesome excuse to be antisocial and lazy. I severely dented my towering stack of September issues. I churned through six episodes of The House of Eliott (if only I had more on hand…). In addition to napping yesterday, I got a good night’s sleep last night. I made tea and toast, and soba noodles and edamame. I had bonbons and dried pineapple to snack on. And after scrubbing my apartment on Saturday, Irene generously power washed my windows during the night.
Now, if I’m really lucky, the office will remain closed tomorrow due to neighboring towns without power and, oh yeah, the MTA not operating.