A nice Friday. Just me and a few other people in the office today. I left at 1:30. Last Friday I was on Long Beach Island, this week- the canyons of midtown Manhattan. It’s been an on again off again day. Sometimes it’s been bright and sunny and other times dark skies. Much like my personality the past few days.
Five years ago yesterday was the last major blackout in the tristate area and beyond. I was reading Joe.My.God. last night and he had an entry about it. I commented but didn’t get in depth since I have my own blog I can get as deep as I’d like.
It was a Thursday, and late in the afternoon. I was working at Wanker Banker on the 34th floor of a 36 story building. One of the divisions just completed their first trade online and there was champagne to be had. With a slight buzz, I was sitting at my desk making plans to split early when the lights flickered and finally went out.
A meeting hosted by the evil fusspot Joe Smershberger had just started. I called Bill to find out what was going on in his office at 42nd Street in Times Square. There was the chance that it was a blackout from 42nd st to 57th st, but it was throughout Manhattan, and as we found out, the other boroughs, the rest of the state as well as New Jersey, Connecticut and beyond.
My boss, Risotto and I went about following the building manager’s directions and proceeded to get everyone out of the office via the stairs. Joe Smershberger had a fit, and insisted on staying. Fine with us. We abandoned him and his guests and walked down 35 flights to the street, in dress shoes.
When we hit the street my legs were like rubber. People all over the place, in the streets and on the sidewalk I lit up a Padron which of course Risotto had something to say about which I basically ignored. We were with Sweet Sarah who had gone downstairs previous to the blackout and didn’t have to walk down the flights of stairs, though she did have to wear heels for the rest of the day since that was all she had.
We started walking downtown, Sweet Sarah was staying with friends and Risotto and I had to head back to New Jersey. I bought some beers which were going cheap since all the refrigerators were off. We walked down Sixth Avenue, passing a group of cops.
One of the cops saw me with the bottle and said that what I was doing was illegal. I brazenly told him that I thought he had bigger problems at that moment than me drinking out of a brown paper bag. That was that and I kept walking.
Risotto and I walked Sweet Sarah to 34th Street and she walked east while we walked west. We had heard that the buses were not leaving the bus terminal, the Path train of course was out so we walked to the river, thinking of catching a ferry.
It wasn’t like 9/11 when all the ferries and boats were taking people across the Hudson River for free. No, the ferries were jam packed or out of fuel and the boats were gouging the people with a $50.00 charge across. All this time Risotto was nipping at my heels, sounding like the Donkey to my Shrek. ‘What are we gonna do? Where are we gonna go?’
There were three women that also followed us around, not knowing what to do. We hopped on a NY Waterway bus and sat in traffic for about 30 minutes, finally moving about 20 feet. We walked over to the bus terminal where people were swarming over the buses, trying to get out of the city before night came.
There was the unspoken fear that something like 1977’s blackout would happen. Crime and looting. Hours had passed by then, no more beers, no more cigars. I suggested hitchhiking by the Lincoln Tunnel but Risotto was against it saying that if he was driving he wouldn’t pick anyone up.
The women we were with eventually found some other alpha males to tag along with and ignoring Risotto I walked over towards the tunnel and put my thumb out. In less than a minute I was picked up. Risotto somehow jumped in the car before me and nabbed the front seat.
Our driver was a very nice young woman, a tennis pro off to a tournament in Maryland. She had 5 other people in her mid-size car. It was cramped and it took forever to get through the tunnel. She needed to head for the Turnpike so I guided her through the dark Hoboken streets, getting out on the far side of town.
Risotto lived in Jersey City so I figured he would get home on his own with no problem. I wanted to walk through Hoboken to see how things were on Washington Street and everyone was out. It was dark, around 9:00.
Hundreds of people milling in the dark in front of City Hall, cars creeping down the street. I made it to my block and found that throughout all the darkness, my block actually had power. Stine and Julio were in their apartment having some cold beers and I joined them for a while.
I called Bill who was going to stay with his parents and make sure they were ok. The next day, we still had power while the rest of the region didn’t. Julio, Stine and I made plans to head to Sandy Hook. It was actually encouraged not to go to work, it was a Friday after all.
Most people in Manhattan worked in high rises and there really was no way that the work force would climb X amount of stairs especially if the office machines weren’t working.
I called Bill a few times to see how he was doing. He took it as me rubbing it in his face, the fact that I was going to be down the shore while he was stuck in Stuyvesant Town. I wasn’t. I was genuinely concerned.
The tolls were free on the Turnpike and the Parkway, smooth sailing. A beautiful day at Sandy Hook, followed by a nice visit with Connie. The power was back on and we enjoyed dancing with Connie to Talking Heads last album, Naked and making her short of breath from laughing so much.
We came back to Hoboken that night, everything was the same as it was before the blackout. Newspapers came out the next day showing people asleep on the steps of the main post office across from Penn Station. People slept in Bryant Park, anywhere they could. No major crimes and no looting were reported as far as I know.
And some pics from that day. (today really…and last week)
above pics taken with cellphone camera
Meanwhile, back in the concrete jungle…
42nd and Eighth Avenue
and finally, from Towleroad:
As a response earlier this week to revelations that Manhunt Chairman and founder Jonathan Crutchley (above, right) had maxed out his individual personal contributions to vocal gay rights opponent Senator John McCain ($2300) which we reported on Wednesday, Crutchley has apparently been pressured by the board of the company to step down as Chairman.
cut n’paste for the full monty