Last night amid the latest storm of the century, was no time for a long, meandering walk through the city. The winds were fierce, others who were out would fall into the wind and the wind would keep them standing. The rain was steady and strong. And everywhere there were large fallen branches and yellow police tape warning people away. In fact, East 82nd Street, the home of several old London Plane trees which, I guess, are fragile due to their age, was taped off completely. There was to be no traffic, pedestrian or vehicular on that street.
Nevertheless, Whiskey's needs and my curiosity took me outside at precisely the hour of high tide. I wanted to see the storm at its worst. I wanted to see "special effects" not in a movie, but in real life.
Whiskey and I walked due east down 83rd Street to the park that runs alongside and over the river. The wind delayed our progress and swept back Whiskey's long ears. She looked at me as if to say "what's happening. I don't like this." But we kept moving ahead anyway. I worried as we walked under the trees that line our street and had to choose which was more dangerous, walking under trees or walking under a construction scaffold. I worried about being impaled by a branch or sliced in half by a corrugated sheet of aluminum.
We finally made it to the promenade above the East River. The river itself was running fast and out to sea. It ran like water through a flood gate. There were no whitecaps. The water was moving too fast for them.
Halfway across the wide water--which was wider now than ever--the Roosevelt Island sea wall, which, depending on tides sits between four and eight feet above the waterline, was breached. The water was lapping against low-lying buildings and the few cars on the island were now sitting in sea water.
Further south, the northbound lane of the FDR was under several feet of water. The path alongside the drive, the domain of so many runners and bikers on a normal day, was covered in inky water. The water flowed westward down 79th Street, flooding some of the old tenements there, at least the basement apartments that house so many.
Whiskey and I turned tail and walked back to our home. We were soaked through, but otherwise none the worse for wear.
Unlike so many in New York, we were safe and dry.