Living in New York, especially Manhattan, means you live in the most important place on the planet. And that means that if something doesn’t affect you, then it didn’t really happen. Given that Hurricane Irene didn’t really affect New York (I mean, it only caused the state $55 million in damage) then it didn’t absolutely batter North Carolina, Vermont, New Jersey, and others. It didn’t totally destroy some people’s lives or anything. And if we know one thing, it’s that if you’ve been through one storm, you’ve been through them all, because every storm is exactly the same as the last.
Hurricane Sandy is slowly but surely making its way up the East Coast, and as we have all heard, is expected to combine with some other freaky storms to form an unprecedented Frankenstorm — possibly the worst conditions in 100 years or more. But my neighbor from across the street doesn’t think there’ll be any storm, and as she proudly proclaimed to me last night, she didn’t bother stocking up on food, water, batteries, or anything. My partner and I foolishly believed in the notion of being better-safe-than-sorry, and now here we are with all these pesky canned vegetables and wind-up flashlights needlessly taking up space in our cabinets when we could just as well be cool and unprepared like our wise neighbor who’s seen a few storms in her day.
My neighbor is like many New Yorkers, too jaded by the constant barrage of hyperbole to ever take a warning seriously. Taking this into account, many are reiterating that this is not all hype – New York absolutely will feel Frankenstorm’s effects. The MTA will most likely begin shutting down at 7:00 PM. If wind speeds reach an excess of 60 MPH, and most estimates agree they will, the Port Authority will close down all the bridges. Mayor Bloomberg advises that people stay out of the parks today, due to the uncertainty of exactly when and how severe the storm may be.
This is not all unknown-unknowns. There’s a flood evacuation zone map available to tell you whether or not you should plan on evacuating. Given that this is currently a category 1 storm, my Zone C neighborhood ought to be fine. If the storm intensifies to categories 3 or 4, then we may need to head to higher ground. We’re not running for the hills just yet, but proudly flaunting our unpreparedness just seems like the kind of arrogant solipsism you can only get in New York.