Monday, October 29, 2012

Storm warnings.

This season's "storm of the Century" is bearing down on New York City and though as of this writing we've had nothing but a light rain and wind gusts merely in the high 30s, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has already stopped subways and buses from running and one half of one level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is closed as is the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

Apparently the worse is yet to come and the impending deluge and windstorm will be accompanied by a huge storm surge made more severe by the full moon.

Fortunately, though I live just one short block from the East River, I am 50 feet above the water and even those predicting the worst, have not designated my neighborhood an evacuation zone. Centuries ago, before Manhattan was graded and grided, there was a long sloping hill where I now live that rolled down to the side of the water. Archibald Gracie farmed most of the land and his farmhouse, just five blocks away from my condo is still standing. It was built in 1799 with commanding views of the churn of Hell's Gate and since Robert Moses suggested it to Fiorello LaGuardia, it's been the residence of the Mayor of New York since 1942.

Whiskey, my seven-month-old golden retriever and I were up early this morning and walked over to the promenade that runs alongside the river. The wind was ripping and there were whitecaps in the water. The tops of waves were being blown off by the wind--a sure sign of a storm to come.

The northern point of Roosevelt Island is marked a stone lighthouse built by the city in 1872. At that time the island was called Blackwell's Island. The name was then changed to Welfare Island owing to the island housing a "lunatic asylum," a jail, an almshouse and a city hospital for the indigent.



The lighthouse, over 50 feet tall and built from a sturdy grey Manhattan gneiss, was standing strong and with the river running out was being buffeted by the water. Its light was burning bright.

Whiskey wasn't bothered by either the wind or the rain. She enjoyed the wind and chased fallen branches around like the retriever she is, grabbing branches and shaking them vigorously as if she had caught a rabbit or a squirrel.

The rain came in sheets.

The wind blew hard.

Whiskey chased leaves.

The storm was coming.


6 comments:

Bukes said...

Be safe out there, George.

Hannah said...

crazy how different governments prepare when its new york city instead of new orleans...

no such thing as a "natural disaster"
http://understandingkatrina.ssrc.org/Smith/

George Tannenbaum said...

Go get 'em, Hannah.

George Tannenbaum said...

Hannah, I think this is an illustration of the difference between a complacent laissez faire government and an active government. It is clear to me that an activist government, not a libertarian approach is what is needed in a complex world.

Hannah said...

why does new york receive the benefits of the active government, whereas in new orleans neither the state nor federal officials were informed or prepared, and the people were victims not of Katrina but of the ineffectiveness of the government, FEMA and insurance companies? Obviously I'm thrilled you guys will be safe and nyc will recover as always, but its obvious that nyc had the knowledge and means to prepare itself, and fairly apparent we should have been able to have this preparedness seven years ago... what when wrong?

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