Hurricane Irene spat horizontal rain at New York City like pellets shot from a million bee-bee guns. She also blew 65 mph gusts of wind through the streets. That fatty storm (which was 500 miles wide at one point) even left about 650 downed trees in her wake ’round these parts.
From the vantage of a bike ride through three NYC borroughs, however, the city seems to have emerged mostly unscathed. Sans a few unlucky cars (see below).
In the days before Irene’s landfall, Kendra and I nested hardcore in our sixth-floor Queens apartment. We stocked up the refrigerator and pantry, busted out the candles and even did that apocalypse-ready maneuver of filling up the bathtub with water.
Along with our stranded special guest Lou Woodley of Nature (Irene swallowed up her hopes of returning to England Saturday night), we hunkered down with some hurricane cocktails and a Harry Potter marathon.
That night we felt ready. Yet even with reports of Irene’s weakening, the rain spraying the windows and the wind howling through unseen cracks didn’t make for restless sleeping.
Our anxiety peaked around 4:00am this morning. That’s when Brookhaven National Laboratory’s automated emergency system called Kendra’s phone and told her about some tornadoes on Long Island. Yay.
You can prepare for excessive rain, horrific gusts of wind, no electricity and no water, but tornadoes? Not so much. You can only run like hell, half-asleep and half-naked, toward a basement and hope the building doesn’t collapse on you or impale you with broken window glass and debris.
Alas, we finally did fall asleep and awoke this morning to a bit of sunshine. A glance at an uplifting weather report later, curiosity bested us. We hopped on our bikes and pedaled around to survey the damage.