Hurricane Irene | The Perfect Storm | WAITING FOR IRENE Brooklyn

The sign on a Brooklyn window ledge said what the city feels: “Good Night, Irene. Get Outta Here!”

Of course, it was placed there Friday night, well in advance of Hurricane Irene’s arrival in this city on Sunday. And it’s anticipatory quality reflects New York City’s sombre approach to the massive tropical storm cycling its way north, despite the city’s default tendency to laugh in the face of danger: this hurricane ain’t gonna be no blizzard.

That would the be the blizzard that walloped New York at the very end of 2010, creating havoc and seriously embarrassing billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was, apparently, off at his home in the part of the world where tropical storms originate. Even now, in the heat and dripping humidity as we await the next smack-down from Mother Nature, that blizzard informs what the city is doing to keep its citizens safe.

As a result, 370,000 New Yorkers have been ordered out of their homes to shelter on higher ground. And for the first time ever, New York has shut down the USA’s largest transportation system before a catastrophic event. All 468 NYC subway stations closed as of noon Saturday, and the buses and commuter trains that run from Manhattan to the far reaches of the metropolis are parked on high ground, too, waiting out the storm. The city says they’ll be up and running on Monday. A friend who works for the MTA says Tuesday is more like it.

The result is an unusual quiet here—no subway rumble, or growl of buses or even the wail of sirens (at least not yet). No wind, even, though that is certain to change. A friend who learned about hurricanes while living in coastal Florida firsthand emailed to remind of the woe that could befall should we run out of beer.

 

So I wandered over to a bodega on Coney Island Avenue to re-up the fridge, and marvelled at the almost deserted highway stretching down to the Atlantic. Usually Coney Island Ave is a chaotic symphony of symphony of buses and trucks and cars, honking at each other like a large family of perpetually angry geese as they speed along. But today, only two lonely traffic cops stood guard at the corner, talking about the storm, and glancing south toward the ocean from whence it would come. And then, just to reassure everyone, two cars appeared, both heading west, waiting at a red light. The light turned green. The lead driver hesitated for a blink. The rear driver honked. All, for the moment, was normal in New York.

window ledge said what the city feels: “Good Night, Irene. Get Outta Here!”

Of course, it was placed there Friday night, well in advance of Hurricane Irene’s arrival in this city on Sunday. And it’s anticipatory quality reflects New York City’s sombre approach to the massive tropical storm cycling its way north, despite the city’s default tendency to laugh in the face of danger: this hurricane ain’t gonna be no blizzard.

That would the be the blizzard that walloped New York at the very end of 2010, creating havoc and seriously embarrassing billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was, apparently, off at his home in the part of the world where tropical storms originate. Even now, in the heat and dripping humidity as we await the next smack-down from Mother Nature, that blizzard informs what the city is doing to keep its citizens safe.

As a result, 370,000 New Yorkers have been ordered out of their homes to shelter on higher ground. And for the first time ever, New York has shut down the USA’s largest transportation system before a catastrophic event. All 468 NYC subway stations closed as of noon Saturday, and the buses and commuter trains that run from Manhattan to the far reaches of the metropolis are parked on high ground, too, waiting out the storm. The city says they’ll be up and running on Monday. A friend who works for the MTA says Tuesday is more like it.

The result is an unusual quiet here—no subway rumble, or growl of buses or even the wail of sirens (at least not yet). No wind, even, though that is certain to change. A friend who learned about hurricanes while living in coastal Florida firsthand emailed to remind of the woe that could befall should we run out of beer.

So I wandered over to a bodega on Coney Island Avenue to re-up the fridge, and marvelled at the almost deserted highway stretching down to the Atlantic. Usually Coney Island Ave is a chaotic symphony of symphony of buses and trucks and cars, honking at each other like a large family of perpetually angry geese as they speed along. But today, only two lonely traffic cops stood guard at the corner, talking about the storm, and glancing south toward the ocean from whence it would come. And then, just to reassure everyone, two cars appeared, both heading west, waiting at a red light. The light turned green. The lead driver hesitated for a blink. The rear driver honked. All, for the moment, was normal in New York.

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