Monday, November 5, 2012


In the aftermath of Sandy, most areas south of 39th street in Manhattan lost power. Downtown folks were forced to retreat uptown to loved ones’ apartments, up-and-running offices and unusually bustling bars. Ironically, under normal circumstances downtowners (myself included) only begrudgingly venture above 14th street. But once everything below 39th street officially became SoPo (South of Power), the tables did indeed turn. Turtle Bay was bumpin’ with bar-goers on Thursday night. On Friday I just barely secured a dinner reservation at Elio’s on the UES, even though I was dining with the restaurant’s #1 patron and VIP guest (my Grandfather). The Sandy situation caused a total role reversal in Manhattan hotspots. The silver lining was that although we were a bit inconvenienced, we were totally fine. And we even found a new favorite restaurant in Midtown East: Sip Sak.
Justin and I (along with our downtown Manhattan neighbors) are incredibly fortunate to have a home in an area relatively unscathed by the super-storm, and luckily we were prepared with candles, flashlights and junk food. And, above all, we have friends in (literally) high places. Thank you Alex, Michael & Jamie and Nasim for hosting us for hot showers and good times. Still, Manhattan – not surprisingly – felt very weird this past weekend. Justin and I had been away for the worst of the storm, happily stuck in Chicago with dear friends. When we returned to The City, it was eerie. After dropping off our friends on the UWS, we drove down the Westside Highway into a black abyss. It literally turned from lit-up Manhattan to apocalyptic-feeling darkness and silence in a matter of split-seconds, as we crossed 39th. By the time we turned onto our street, we were in official no-man’s land. We used the light from our phones to ascend the staircase in our apartment building. The dichotomy between uptown and downtown was stark, and it was illustrated beautifully on the cover of New York magazine.
[photo credit: Iwan Baan]
But SoPo wasn’t all that bad. All liquor stores and some bars, bodegas and restaurants opened their doors on Friday despite having no power, including Joseph Leonard. Justin and I lunched on delicious sandwiches (egg salad for him, avocado and mashed chickpeas for me) in the company of fellow patrons playing cards and an employee strumming on his guitar. It was an absolutely lovely, albeit chilly, afternoon. Later that night we hosted a no-power party. All of our guests by then had had power restored in their apartments, but they still showed up for lots of wine, catchphrase by candlelight and RHCP background music playing from inside a plastic cup. (Do you remember this trick? Music playing on an iPhone gets amplified when you put said phone in a plastic cup.) The next day our electricity was restored, so we were able to see the mess we had made with our party. It was well worth it. Many New Yorkers like us who were merely displaced and not in danger ended up bonding with friends and taking forced vacations from work. For some, there was a bright side to the storm. And for fellow lucky New Yorkers who were fortunate to escape Super-Storm Sandy without harm, here are just a couple ways to help out your hurting neighbors 


P.S. The inspirational story behind the Sandy New York cover/issue. 

1 comment:

  1. Side Note: That Sopo map was created by Jake Levine (a Millburn High School alum as well).


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