Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane, 3.


Foggy Manhattan, post-storm.

At some point around 2am, we couldn't stay awake any longer. I slept uneasily, listening to the fighting of the cats, to Andrew turning on the rubber air mattress. I listened for the air conditioning, waiting for the moment when surely the power would go out.

Mostly I listened for the wind, the howling, whipping winds that would surely drive us into the safety of the bathroom. It never came.

I awoke with a start at 10:30 am, turning immediately to the window. Face pressed against the cool glass, I stared, dumbfounded, at the family on the sidewalk, children splashing in a small puddle. The air conditioning churned happily from the ceiling.

The storm was over. Had it even begun? I was right about the double-paned windows, in any case. We didn't hear a sound.

Satisfied that the storm had dissipated, I let the bathtub drain. We pulled on rubber boots and headed outside for a look at the damage.

Peanut butter welly time.

Puddle outside our door; umbrella casualty.

Wading on Main St.

Wading. Surprised how clear the rainwater is.

Evidence of wind?

Whose creepy doll is this?

Storm surge line, outside Bubby's.

Unnecessary preparations on Water St.

The gents on an untouched Water St.

And so goes our first hurricane. Back to your regularly scheduled Sunday brunch.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane, 2.

After leaving work, the severe weather anticipation started to build. I hurried to the store, anxious to get supplies before businesses starting shutting down for the weekend.

Our block has two grocery establishments: Foragers, a high-end grocer and charcuterie, and Peas 'N' Pickles, a more standard-fare bodega. I giggled as I watched people streaming out of Foragers and into waiting Lincoln towncars, arms heavy with cases of Perrier. I hoped their brown paper bags carried delicate vials of saffron and truffle butter, as well.

The scene was fairly calm inside Peas 'N' Pickles, if a bit more crowded than usual. In fact, for the first time in New York's history, everyone seemed content to be standing in line. I took careful note of the varying levels of preparation. It appeared that the females of the species had carts full of bottle water, batteries, dried foods, bandages, candles and toilet paper, whereas the gentlemen each had one six-pack of beer (one?). The gent right in front of me, in fact, waited twenty-five minutes in line to purchase a box of Marlboro Lights and a jar of Skippy.

Amazing. That's Skippy there, with the army-green backpack.

I don't know if it was the reassurance of preparedness or the weight of the week, but I slept like a baby that night.

We woke up Saturday morning to a blanket of humidity and an overcast sky. It was decided that our friend Andrew and his cat would seek refuge at our place in Brooklyn, as his Battery Park apartment falls well within the evacuation zone.

Note: Seated in DUMBO, we are, technically, less than one block outside of the evacuation zone. However, I'm pretty sure hurricanes know about and respect blocks and zones, so we should be good.

We puttered about; me, cleaning and laundering and readying ourselves as best I could, and Sir downloading as many natural-disaster related movies as he could think of.

12:00 pm: The city shuts down the trains.

Andrew arrived with his cat. I made muffins.

1:00 pm: The Perfect Storm
4:00 pm: Day After Tomorrow
7:00 pm: 2012

We cracked jokes at the bad movies and watched the cats interact, tentative (hilarity).

The day kind of lingered on, restless and drizzly at best.

10:03 pm: the first bolt of lightning, the first rumble of thunder.

It's supposed to hit overnight. I think my main concern is that the windows break (all of them, maybe all at once), and a shard of glass flies through the room to stab me or Sir (or Andrew) through the neck. Then what?

Note: don't worry, Mom! I'm being funny. We'll go in the bathroom or (windowless) hallway if the winds get bad.

I can't be the only person crossing my fingers that the subways aren't back up and running in time for work on Monday.

Friday, August 26, 2011


This weekend, we're supposed to be hit by Hurricane Irene as she spits through the city, her final path of implicit destruction prior to her imminent dissipation.

It's my first time being in a hurricane, which leads me to believe I should be concerned. Grave voices on NPR, encouraging evacuation for anyone near the water (our apartment is oh, say, half a block from the river). Frantic texts from my mother, asking about our game plan.

Honestly, I don't have one. Normally I'm the first to freak out in nearly any situation, but today I'm not even concerned in the slightest. Our cozy DUMBO apartment seems an impenetrable fortress, double-paned windows framing our tenth-story perch. I'll buy water, batteries, fill up the bathtub; I just don't have it in me to panic, for once.

I turned 26 on Tuesday, in the midst of a mini-earthquake. That frightened me, but this just doesn't. Maybe  I'm mellowing out, settling into my newly-acquired old age. Or maybe I've got too much other anxiety crammed into my head right now to go ballistic over the rain.

See you Monday, maybe. Maybe I'll be under water.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Casual pirate.

"Just guide it down the neck with a bit of oomph," she instructs me, confident.

I grip the butt of the bottle in my left palm, finding the groove of the glass seam with my thumb. My right hand holds the sword firm around the handle, the heavy blade balancing on the cool glass right where the bottle begins to taper into the neck. She shows me the motion again, assuring me that there will be plenty of pressure, that it will pop right off.

Tentative, I slide the blade quickly down the bottle, flat against the glass. Nothing.

"More oomph!" She smiles, setting the blade back in place.

I bite my lip, adjusting my grip within the hilt and swing, round two. The top sails off as easily as if I had been beheading a banana. A flood of champagne, and everybody cheers. Squealing, I relinquish the dripping bottle, shake the champagne from my hand and pose for a victory photo, avec blade.

And that's how you saber a bottle of champagne.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday afternoon Vespa-riding.

There is only one acceptable way to do Times Square, and that is on the back of a Vespa on a summer day.

I, along with everyone else who lives on or around Manhattan, definitely have a love-hate thing going on with Times Square. It's kind of a mess, and New Yorkers tend to avoid it like the plague. I think it's one of those things that is fun/necessary to do one time and then never again. Unfortunately, there are a lot of really good things to do and eat around Times Square, so sometimes it's just unavoidable.

If and when you cannot avoid it, like when your friend wants to go to lunch at Esca (delish), don't fret - just hitch yourself a ride on the back of her Vespa. What taxis? What swarms of obnoxious tourists? What oppressive heat? It's a traffic-dissolver (squeeze on through!) with a built-in breeze-machine. Hike up your maxi-dress and slip on a helmet - you've just turned the likes of 'being on fire' into an enjoyable experience. My birthday is next week, in case anyone is looking for a last-minute gift. Vespa Vespa Vespa.

I wish, I really wish with everything that I have that I had taken a picture of my first motorbike experience this afternoon. I think my mother will be pleased that I did not, and instead was holding on tight. I guess you'll just have to believe me.