Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Irene Before Hurricane Sandy Hit Long Beach

On Sunday, when Hurricane Sandy was making its approach and most Long Islanders were preparing for what was being dubbed a Frankenstorm, I surfed Long Beach. When hurricanes reach New York with some strength, they usually produce incredible waves. The swells on Sunday, however, were not that impressive. (The currents, however, did send me one mile down the beach after about ninety minutes of surf and over the next twenty four hours, the waves jacked up.) But at the time, I wondered if I would’ve evacuated Long Beach if I had still lived in town, the way I had done the previous year when Hurricane Irene came through and turned out to be mostly hot air.

Hurricane Irene in Long Beach

When I returned to Long Beach after Hurricane Irene, I surveyed the town. Two streets that reached a dead end along the boardwalk had been flooded, the Long Beach lifeguard station was lifted off of its foundation and pushed into the boardwalk, one lamppost fell down in front of me, and my friend told me that a tree fell on his house, cracking a few terra cotta tiles.

Hurricane Sandy Hits Long Beach

This past May, my wife, Marissa, and I gave up our Long Beach apartment to take a ten-week honeymoon. When Hurricane Sandy hit, we were at my parents’ apartment on the north shore of the island. Like most New Yorkers, we lost electricity on Monday afternoon. Since then, we’ve been playing Scrabble, reading before sunset, drinking wine, and planning out meals to minimize the number of times we open the refrigerator. We’re running low on candles and batteries, and being pressured by my mother to eat what’s left in the refrigerator, though I’m sure most of the contents are becoming inedible.

Most of our news since Hurricane Sandy has come from the radio. We’ve listened to Chris Christie breathe heavily into the microphone, speaking positively of President Obama, one week before the election that has done nothing but create divisiveness… More than normal. (Maybe the only positive thing about Sandy is that she has transcended politics.) We also heard reports that Long Beach is the only place in the state where residents must not drink the water under any condition, even if they boil it. Aside from the sewage, they believe petrochemicals have leaked into the water supply.

I received a few images and messages from Long Beach friends: The boardwalk is destroyed and has buckled in so many places that it looks as if it was the epicenter of an earthquake; Sections of boardwalk have washed a half mile to the main road; Sand blankets streets; The lifeguard tower does not exist; Six homes burnt down, leaving only the footprint and chimney of the disappeared structures; Friends texted HELP and had to be rescued by their relatives from the north.

It’s Halloween today. New York City schools, where I am employed, have been closed for the last three days and possibly longer. The only time classes have ever been cancelled since I started teaching eight years ago was for two or three massive snowstorms and once in September, when a twister dropped multiple trees on our building.

I had to drive to my brother’s apartment to post this story, since he is part of the 10% of Long Islanders who did not lose electricity. We tried walking yesterday, but every turn brought us near a downed wire or a precariously attached tree limb timing its fall. In any case, we will probably blow a fuse at my brother’s apartment and we’ll need to head to the nearby Chipotle, where they’re giving away $2.00 burritos to those dressed up for Halloween. In 2002, I heard the Chipotle near my school was giving away free burritos to those dressed up like one of their menu items. I couldn’t go then because I had a flight to catch to Madison, Wisconsin. When my friend told me there was a Chipotle down the block on Madison’s main drag, I grabbed his aluminum foil, wrapped myself, and walked into the chain, announcing that I was there to collect my free meal.

“We’re not doing that give-away here,” they said, but pitied my efforts and gave me a free burrito, nonetheless.

This time I don’t know what I’ll dress up as to get the $2.00 meal. But I’m betting it’s too early for anyone to dress as Sandy.

(Photo after Hurricane Irene)

Posted on by Noah Lederman in New York, Or Bust

2 Responses to Hurricane Sandy

  1. jeff simon

    ha! good move, using $3 in foil for a $2 burrito. I guess it isn’t the investment, it is the style that counts. did you sprinkle on hot sauce?

    • Noah Lederman

      I was wrapped in foil so all the contents of the burrito, and whether or not hot sauce was used or not, must remain a mystery in order to keep this site appropriate for all readers.

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