From Hoboken, N.J.: Living in the Aftermath of Sandy
What was it like post-Sandy in your neighborhood? Here’s one writer’s story.
-Lylah M. Alphonse, Yahoo! Shine
Stepping outside my apartment in Hoboken around 10pm Monday night, it really wasn’t that bad. Occasional blustery winds and some sheets of rain, but, other than that, it really didn’t seem like the monster storm we were expecting. That was, until I looked to the left and saw what appeared to be a Ten Commandments-like sea of water and debris heading straight for us.
Over the next two hours, watching from the safety of our fifth-floor apartment, we saw the water level around the entire block rise from about six inches to close to four feet. The bushes that once surrounded the jewelry store on the ground floor disappeared. The tree that stood in front of the hair salon fell like a has-been heavyweight champion who just took his final punch. The current was so strong it began picking up stray minivans, shoving them into utility poles, and flushing them all downstream, wherever that might have been.
The unfortunate ones parked on the streets, who must’ve thought they were far enough away from any serious danger, could do nothing but sit, watch, and listen as their headlights went from blinking bright white to a faint, jaundice color, and alarms went from screaming through the streets to whimpering like a dying dog. Then. Nothing. All was quiet on the Western Front. Except the sound of sirens, coming from what seemed like all directions.
How could this be happening this far away from the Hudson? It’s not exactly like we live directly on the waterfront. My building’s a good half-mile from the promenade, so, to see this “Wrath of God” type of flood, this far back of shore, you pretty much knew the whole city was in for a long night — and then some. There hasn’t been water this deep, this far back in Hoboken since William Henry Harrison was president. Over 170 years.
Pictures of the turnstiles in the Path station flooding as if someone had opened a giant spigot were all over Facebook. CNN had shots of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel filling with water. Then, the lights went out.
Many of us spent the night hanging out our windows watching the cars, doors, and construction material from half-completed sites float by as if that was what they always did. Staring out into the pitch-black night, and hearing the wail of emergency vehicles, you couldn’t help but think, this is what a nuclear attack must be like. Without the obvious side effects.