Superstorm Sandy and the Halloween That Wasn’t

011_Halloween_pumpkins[1]I was just thinking of last year’s Halloween experiences in my village and what was happening a year ago.  My friend Caroline was here from the Netherlands to see the sights and visit NYC.  We’d heard warnings of the storm, and my friends who worked in the city were hustling to get home before it hit.  It didn’t seem that serious until later in the day, when Caroline and I stood at my balcony door and watched the Hudson River overflow its banks.  No trains, no subways, no power in lower Manhattan for days–far beyond anything we had expected.

Fortunately up on my hill the power never went out, and we were safe through the storm.  All the Halloween attractions were shut down until the day poor Caroline was flying back home.  She did manage to get a couple of days of shopping in by taking a combination of trains and buses into Manhattan.  The only Halloween event she got was the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, which reopened the day she was leaving, so we saw the pumpkins and I took her to JFK.

This year the only storm has been an onslaught of tourists!  But on a weekday it’s fairly placid.  The leaves have finally turned.  The village Halloween parade was filled with revelers last Saturday, packing the streets afterward.  It’s fun to see your neighbors dressed as Annie Oakley or wheeling the mechanical spider they built on a gurney through town.  I discovered there are at least three Headless Horsemen currently working in the village, not counting the one on the Fox TV show.

So I’m counting my blessings this year as I look back at last year.  I hope we don’t see a storm like that again!  And a Happy Halloween to all.

Riding Out the Storm With a Friend

My experience of Hurricane Sandy was very different than it would have been because I had a guest.  My friend Caroline came from the Netherlands on the Saturday before the storm came in,  a trip long planned and unable to be changed.  So we rode out the storm together.

We were lucky in that I live on a ridge high above the Hudson River, so flooding was not an issue.  But we could see the lower ground by the river from the glass doors onto my balcony.  On Monday night, Caroline said to me, “I think the river is flooding!”  It was getting dark, and hard to see.  I peered as hard as I could, and said, “I think you’re right!”  The swell rose over 11 feet and washed the boat you see in the photo into the park.  The boat’s name was “Here, There and Everywhere.”

Caroline’s trip was very different from what she had planned.  But she was intrepid.  When bus and limited subway service was restored, she took the bus to the Bronx (1 hour 20 minutes) and then took the subway into the city.  Then after some hours she took the Harlem line train back to White Plains, and I picked her up.  The Hudson line train, which you can see from my window, was not fully back in service until today.

But the nice thing for me was having sympathetic company while the winds raged, the river rose and the rain poured.  We never lost power, there was no flooding on my ridge, and the tall trees did not fall down.  We were very fortunate compared to many.  My heart goes out to those on Staten Island and in New Jersey who lost their lives and their homes.

Things were approaching normal here last night, although there have been long lines to buy gasoline, and many people still do not have power.  I am very grateful that my experience was so easy, and I am glad that Caroline was a calm and patient presence while this amazing event went on.  We ended her trip with a rescheduled trip to the Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze at Cortlandt Manor.  So she didn’t miss Halloween entirely, after all.