This is an email from Helen sent when her power came on Friday.
Not sure when i will be able to send this to you, as i have no internet service – nor telephone reception, nor electricity for that matter. If you have watched the news, which, trust me, none of those most affected by the hurricane have been able to do, you may have taken note that lower manhattan was severely handicapped by the surges associated with the recent weather system…The east river, which is a few blocks away, overflowed its banks – and a five foot wall of water flooded con edison, causing one of its transformers to blow up. The explosion was deafening, and rattled and reverberated throughout the area, knocking out power…Everything has been closed down and the east village has been transformed into a ghost town. Nothing is open, no street lights, no flower vendors, no stores, no coffee stands. Nothing. It is very eerie and desolate – and dark…There is also no cell phone reception or internet so it is impossible to reach anyone – or go anywhere. There is no subways service and although busses have started running, they are so dangerously overcrowded and delayed, that it is very crude – and – sorry to say this – rattling. I would easily compare it to India…And keep in mind there are no traffic lights and hundreds, if not thousands, of people strung along a ten block distance, hoping to cram into a bus…a lot of jabbing and jostling and jeers. its definitely hardcore…
i have an appointment at the hospital tomorrow – and since there was no way anyone could get in touch with me – nor could i call the hospital, i took the bus up today – just to find out if indeed the appointment was still to be honored. NYU medical center, just a few blocks away, had massive flooding the night of the storm, its generator failed, and all the patients had to be evacuated (without elevators, mind you…) When i arrived at Bellevue, the scenario was not much different. The hospital was in the dark, and though there was some generator capacity, they were not sure how much longer it would last, and there was a convoy of ambulances, and the national guard, assisting in moving the patients. No telephones there, no electricity, and no way for much of the staff to get there. Pretty grim. Needless to say all appointments have been cancelled…I am hoping that a few important upcoming procedures will not have to be rescheduled, and that things will be back to normal…I am hoping that the flooding did not do irreparable damage – as things are already shoddy in terms of medical care – the wait involved and then the bureaucracy…its a bit dour.
i also went further uptown to recharge my cell phone – though i was unable to get enough reception to make calls or receive whatever messages have accumulated. uptown is totally normal. all the businesses are open, all the traffic lights are working, and women are walking around with shopping bags. i found a whole foods with a cafe and plugged my phone in. most every one there was from down town, doing the same thing. we all look a little weathered, as its been impossible to shower or bathe…
i am happy i don’t live in a high rise. i can’t imagine what it would be like to have to walk up eleven or twenty one flights of stairs.
fortunately the temperatures are descending – so whatever food stuffs i bought can go out on the fire escape.
the trip on the bus to stop at the hospital and then to whole foods required six hours of my day. only to return to the east village to find that i can’t really make any calls anyway.
strange because there are no news stands, no bars, no televisions so we have no idea what is going on…or what the rest of the eastern seaboard experienced.
its halloween and its a little spooky…once darkness descends, no one is out on the street. it just feels too dangerous.
i am not sure where to go or what to do about getting “on line.” i need to make some inquiries. perhaps since i don’t have to go to the doctor’s tomorrow i will brave the decrepit bus service again and find a way to get this email off.