Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The calm after the storm.

Most people when they think of Manhattan don't think of it as a place that had at any time a natural topography. We think of Manhattan as flat, or better, as flattened, as paved over and even as a pool table. That's not true, of course, nature is more powerful even than New York realtors and there are still rises and dips throughout the island.

The highest point in Manhattan is Hudson Heights, located in Bennett park not far from Pinehurst Avenue and 183rd Street. It's 265 feet above sea level and it's from that modest aerie that George Washington built a camp from which he was routed by British red coats and Hessian mercenaries.

My section of Manhattan is significantly lower than that perch. We sit about 50 feet above the waters of the East River, though last night we were about 10 or 15 feet closer to the sea.

The storm at least in New York City has subsided though it will be days, some say, or even weeks before electricity is restored to the lower half of the island and for the life of me I can't conceive how the city will ever restore subway service. Most stations, the underground ones, I mean, were inundated and are literally under feet of water. Who knows what's happened to those subway denizens, rats, who have thus far survived every threat to their existence.

Tonight Whiskey and I walked to the river just to see what we could see. The water was flat and glassy, the lights on half of Roosevelt Island--the high-priced condo half were lit and things looked normal. The other half, the asylum and hospital part was still dark. There weren't even flashing lights from emergency vehicles. Even the lighthouse which stands at the northernmost tip of the island is dark. The water, however, has subsided. The sea wall once again holds back the sea.

Tomorrow people will begin making their way to work.

We will reconnect with friends and trade war stories.

Slowly, slowly and damply, life will return to normal.

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