Fashionate: Goes to New York… And Experiences a Natural Disaster

My vision of writing about NYC involved all of my amazing one of a kind purchases from cute old second hand and vintage stores, paired with a designer dress from a one-of-a-kind boutique found nestled in Greenwich Village or Soho. Unfortunately my experience in New York was far from my vision, although still an amazing experience.

NYC has this energizing pulse when you walk through the streets, even with a hurricane approaching I still felt more alive than I have in years. As I explored Central Park, Times Square, and 5th Avenue on Saturday I had no worries in the world, except what pair of shoes I should choose (I went for animal print ankle boots). As we sat on an outdoor patio in Soho enjoying the warm fall breeze and a glass of full bodied red, we had no idea our easy-going trip was about to take a turn for the worse. I woke up on Sunday morning and the air had changed, it was eerie out with a dark cloud looming over us. I arrived at my L’Oreal Professional course to do advanced cutting, expecting to join about 30 other peers. Only 3 people showed up, we were all from out of town! They announced shortly after the course would be cancelled due to the expected Hurricane to hit. At this point I was beginning to think we were in for the greatest adventure of our lives. They followed up with the announcement letting us know the subways were shutting down at 7:00pm that evening. I thought to myself, the whole city is shutting down because of Sandy. My dreams of skipping through the cobble stone streets of Soho were shattered.

We walked through the empty and eery dark streets to reach Little Italy to find a couple of restaurants still open, and enjoyed a very large and delicious Italian meal. After stocking up on wine, snacks, and water we headed back to the hotel. The buzz in the lobby was overwhelming. Everybody you met, or spoke to had a different story or theory of what we were to expect 24 hours from now.

As Monday came into full swing, it looked like a typical autumn day outside; rain and slight winds. Unless you looked at the sky you would never have noticed a looming darkness headed our way. A glance down a regularly busy street to only to find it completely empty, store fronts boarded up, sandbags hugging tight. We waited with the other hotel guests in the lobby, the energy was positive and there was anticipation and excitement in the air.

Then the power went out.

This was the moment I realized it was actually happening and we may in fact be in a slight amount of trouble. The winds picked up and we sat in darkness and waited. You could hear it howling and blowing anything in its way down. Water rushing into subway systems and flooding any building in its path. 4 million people lost power, thousands lost their homes, businesses were shut down indefinitely. The next morning with the power still out and no food left we were advised to find other accommodations where there was heat, power and water up town. ‘Anything above 34th street’. We were now in a race with 4 million other people to find a place to live. A task normally made easy with the aide of technology, but when all our amazing technology fails suddenly becomes a difficult and daunting task. We hailed a lone gypsy cab and overpaid by about $30 to head into the light. After a very, very long process a total stranger helped us get a hotel room and for a moment we were pleased. Our next task was getting a flight out.

Seeing the damage, having been in the middle of it, the surreal experience started to fade and I realized that at the very least I still had a home to fly to. A job to return to. I felt terrible for being so selfish, for not thinking of the millions still living in darkness (not enough hotels), the thousands homeless and jobless. Central Park had extensive damage, a crane that was hanging by a thread threatened hundreds of businesses. Even with all of this, the air and energy was still liberating. NYC can make it through anything.

It was a life experience and I came away feeling so inspired and I can’t wait to go back!


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