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travel + culture

on the road and what's out there.


ride or die, New York.

Caitlin Surakitbanharn

New York City was devastated last week by Hurricane Sandy.  and i'm not talking about the levels of "devastation" we saw last year with Hurricane Irene where we maybe missed a few days of work or whatever and some branches fell.  i'm talking DEVASTATED.  lower Manhattan, my home, was flooded, and sat without power for almost a full week.  The Rockaways were destroyed, Redhook was crushed, Statan Island was rocked, fires ravaged through Queens, and Nevada Ave in Long Beach, where a friend of mine lives, is literally covered in 4 feet of sand from the storm surge.  like the streets are covered in sand and basements are flooded.  i had a friend in Tribeca who had their car in a parking garage and then on Tuesday night received in email from their building management that they regret to inform them that if you had a car parked in the garage, it is now totally underwater.  that's legit.  genuine devastation.

(lower Manhattan, dark as night.)

so here's the thing about New York.  this is probably the worst thing to happen to the city since September 11th (a different kind of damage, obviously), but New Yorkers, despite their anxiety, their rage, their whatever...the thing that makes the city the city is that when it goes down...New Yorkers get RIDE OR DIE.  even though i'm away, i was overwhelmed by the amount of people who emailed/texted/tweeted/facebook messaged me, knowing i was a downtowner, making sure i wasn't still there and that if i was....they've got a hot shower, a warm bed, food, water, and power for me.  

when midtown/uptown finally got moving a little bit, again, i was overwhelmed seeing what was going on.  shops like Bergdorfs & Saks Fifth Avenue were offering free wi-fi and setting up charging stations for folks to charge their phones.  they were serving coffee to anyone who needed it, and gyms around the city were letting downtowners shower in the locker rooms, no questions asked (New York has an electric water system.  no power means no water).  the subways were not running, buses were a mess, traffic was a nightmare, but i didn't hear or see one complaint.  everyone was helping each other out, offering what they could, and businesses were sending their workers away from the office to volunteer in the more devastated areas.  

it's the thing about New York.  everyone is fighting for themselves but when the time comes, they fight together, they fight for each other.  it makes me swell with pride to see my city rally like a mother f'er.  the saying "only in New York" is pretty only in New York would i pay $35 for a spin class and feel i'm getting a good deal.  or only in New York do i think $18 for a cocktail is reasonable...but in this case...Only in New York....does a city stumble but never fall, for the strength of it's people is unshakable.  down but never out.  you cannot, will not, and will never, bring that city down....and the past week, post-Sandy, is just another example of why New York, despite all its flaws, is the greatest city on the face of this planet.

many areas are still devastated and are in desperate need of help...Please donate, even if only $10, to The American Red Cross to help victims of the hurricane get back on their feet...or if it's easier for you, you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate.  word is victims also need things like blankets, batteries, water, diapers, tampons, soap, toliet paper...things like that...American Red Cross is also taking donations of that kind of well.  do the right people who need it!