This messy post-Sandy life

During the first day after the storm, I went to my go-to cafe for a bit, but it was packed and I felt bad taking a seat away from storm refugees desperate to charge electronics and enjoy a hot beverage. I had both power and internet at home.

Damage in my neighborhood was minimal.

I woke up Friday craving the structure my life had lacked since Sandy hit. In spite of seeing images of massive lines for the temporary shuttle buses from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I decided I had to go to my office for a few hours.

After a 20 minute walk to the pick-up point at Hewes and Broadway in the southern part of Williamsburg, I found a short line. Nothing like the lines at Barclays Center/Downtown Brooklyn.

The buses were, however, crowded, with people standing in the aisles on the way to Manhattan. People were on edge, sharing experiences, news and rumors as we rode. As soon as we crossed the Williamsburg Bridge, my cell phone (AT&T) lost service. More reasons to feel sympathy to those living SoPo. I got service again once the bus crossed into Midtown.

It was good to do some work, see coworkers, and check in on how those without power at home were holding up. But after a few hours, it was time to head home. I didn’t want to be in Manhattan after dark. Too creepy.

I walked back to the bus departure point to wait. And wait. The lining up area was crowded like a miniature Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Most of the buses seemed to be committed to the Barclays Center route which was justified by demand, but frustrating nonetheless. About an hour passed before I could squeeze onto a Williamsburg-bound bus–not because the line was that long, but because the few buses that came to us were already full.

I stood all the way back to Brooklyn. My ankle was throbbing by this point, but I felt awkward asking to give up a seat. Who knows what they were dealing with. I willed myself not to yelp each time the bus lurched and then limped my way home.

Honestly, it could have been much worse. New York City and neighboring areas suffered a horrific natural disaster. Three hours of transit wasn’t fun, but I can’t justify complaining when so many people have been left with absolutely nothing.

That said, do I plan to repeat this trek each work day (and paying for the privilege)? Not if I can help it.


  • Sandy relief efforts in Park Slope via Effed in Park Slope
  • Ways to help – interoccupy
  • Ways to help – WNYC

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