Seeing Super Storm Sandy

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.

Normal view from the roof of East 12 street, NYC.

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.

Lots of lights!

 

Seeing Super Storm Sandy was scary. It was a wake-up call to be prepared at all times for disaster and do not think that you can use the phone. The lights were on and life was normal two years ago I was in NYC for the Ice Theatre of New York gala honoring Richard “Mr. Debonair” Dwyer. My film The Fabulous Ice Age was still being completed and I created the tribute video that year for the one and only Richard Dwyer. My flight was scheduled to depart NY’s LaGuardia Airport on the same day the storm hit. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere and hunkered down for the storm.

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.

In the days heading up to the storm I joined the long lines of people at the stores stocking on on supplies. As I saw people with carts full of items that need to stay cold it did seem odd but I didn’t think – “you are dreamin”. I had my transistor radio by my side as the storm waters rose and the winds picked up. I was one block off a flood zone and looking out the east village window I could see the Con Ed sub station and I could see it was in the flood zone. That night, as the storm came in, I raced to complete a grant application for my film. Just as I was nearing the end of the grant process, getting ready to hit the send button, the lights started to flicker. I knew I didn’t have long. I finally hit the send button and within a half an hour I heard a huge boom and the building shook. Then I heard another explosion and the more than century old building shook again. The Con Edison 14th Street substation had exploded. The power was out. Racing to the rooftop it was clear to see that we were not the only ones affected. The lower half of Manhattan was dark.

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.

The power did not come back on for five days. It was cold. Our building is only 6 stories which means we had water and could flush the toilets but any building over 6 stories did not have the power to push the water and they were stuck. We also had gas going to our apartments so as the food in the fridge went warm – food could be heated. Others didn’t have gas. I had a video style LED light and a large camera battery for my video camera so I had a lot of light. It makes a difference to be able to see the whole room vs just a beam of light. So although I was xold with no heat, I was eating well because of the El Sol Brilliente garden across the street. As the food in people’s freezers started to unthaw, the neighbors would gather around the fire to cook and share food. There are a number of chefs on the block and so the week of no power in NYC I ate rabbit, pheasant, beef, lamb, fish and seafood. I was able to get to know people who have been on the block as long as I have except I never take the time to get to know them… Hurricane Sandy provided me with the first hand knowledge that FEMA doesn’t arrive and the people have to help each other live. I am so glad I was there and now I am not in the dark.

 

 

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. With no power comes no way to keep food cold so stores were throwing out everything. Northern Spy was the only restaurant to cook and give away their food.

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Above 39th Street life was normal – except there were throngs of people trying to plug in their phones.

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.

No electricity means no traffic lights.

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.

View toward the Con-Edison sub-station that caused the massive power outage.

Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.   Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.  Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.  Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC. Hurricane Sandy blows out power to 22% of NYC.

Keri Pickett

Keri Pickett is an author, photographer and filmmaker telling the stories of life, family and community with intimacy, honesty and impact. Pickett is Producer, Director and Camera for the award-winning feature documentary film ‘The Fabulous Ice Age’, about the rise and fall of the great American touring ice shows and one man’s quest to save the history, available on Netflix and Amazon. Her short film, 'Steel // Spirit' premiered at MSPIFF and won certificate of excellence in India. Her award-winning books include Love in the 90s; BB and Jo, The Story of a Lifelong Love, A Granddaughter’s Portrait (Warner Books, 1995); Faeries; Visions, Voices & Pretty Dresses (Aperture, 2000); Saving Body & Soul, The Mission of Mary Jo Copeland (WaterBrook, 2004). The recipient of a Jerome and Minnesota State Arts Board grants, three McKnight Foundation Photography fellowships, a National Endowment for the Arts award, and a Bush Foundation Fellow, Pickett’s work is in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.