Filed under: New York City News
OK, we’ve got the message. The trains and buses shut down at noon. Everyone in low-lying areas has been, or is being, evacuated to shelters. The National Guard is prowling 23rd Street (along with thousands of cars and taxis, the only means of transport left). Even then, the streets are fairly deserted.
The lines are longer than the store! So forget about last-minute shopping.
It’s a funny thing: New Yorkers (and New Jerseyans/-ites) respond to events in nature by hoarding food. True, they seem to be terrified of nature (one drop of rain and every NYC pedestrian is under a giant umbrella; and every NJ car comes to a standstill in bumper-to-bumper traffic, generating fender benders right and left). They are basically biodegradable people who are afraid of melting. It never fails.
I continue the mile or so in the drizzle (or is it just humidity?) to Pier 62 of Chelsea Piers. Here I find an almost totally deserted playground, normally teeming with sports enthusiasts, cyclists, runners and people hell-bent on getting melanoma. Today, however, it’s just iron-gray water, iron-gray clouds, the odd photographer (like me), and emptiness everywhere one looks. Here is what I see:
One of my favorite things at this pier is the carousel, featuring animals from New York State: including a skunk, a crayfish (doubled over and facing backwards), an eel, a turkey (bolt upright and proud) — and even two white unicorns with purple butterflies (something I’ve never seen anywhere in NY state!) Today, however, all the animals are trapped in a cage:
Even the gardens, with their winding paths and tables, are devoid of life:
The Empire State Building (or the Entire State, as a friend’s son once called it) has a scarf of fog tossed carelessly around the base of its zeppelin spire:
Looking down toward Staten Island and The Narrows, one can barely make out the Verrazzano Bridge and the Statue of Liberty (at the left of the photo):
And not a boat or plane or helicopter in sight! The silence is eerie. Only the flowers are there to greet me, so I photograph them. After tomorrow, they will be demolished, I figure:
Was anyone actually preparing for this event named Irene? On the way home, I find my answer. The inscrutably named “Ha.Ha.Fresh” deli has boarded up its windows:
And a restaurant in the next block is taping up its windows, while being filmed in the process. (Many places had Scotch-taped their windows in a half-hearted and pointless way; but this guy is serious, albeit bemused by the camera):
Inspired, I immediately go home and take all the flower pots I had placed on top of the deli’s duct in front of my window, securing them below the duct.
Now the waiting begins. Stay tuned . . .
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