The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘2003 blackout’


Posted by keithosaunders on August 28, 2011

It’s been a full year since I moved out of New York City.  It was my home of 26 years, but I can’t think of a time that I’ve missed it more than right now.  With hurricane Irene bearing down on the city there is nothing I can do but play voyeur and follow it on TV and the internet.  

I was living in Brooklyn in 1985 when hurricane Gloria just missed the city, veering off and doing a lot of damage on Long Island.  I remember there was a lot of wind and rain and that the air had a feeling of electricity.  There was not much damage in the city — everyone got a half day out of it, though, and it came on a Friday so it made for a long weekend.

A dozen or so year later (maybe more) there was a nor’easter that tore up the coast.  That was much more dramatic, but aside from a lot of downed trees the damage was minimal.

I lived in Queens on September 11th, which was the worst day ever in New York.  Although there was a feeling of camaraderie,  it was a nerve-wracking and horribly sad day, and these feelings persisted for months.

The blackout happened in 2003.  This was another event that brought people together, but this time the mood was festive.  People were barbecuing in the streets, and impromptu parties popped up all over the place. 

The thing is that dramatic events like these serve as markers for your life.  Where were you when…?  I will never be a part of the conversation when it comes to hurricane Irene and this bothers me, not because I want to be in the city during its blackest hours, but because it serves to drive home the point that I am no longer a part of New York.  At best I look on from the periphery.    

That said, I hope that this hurricane really is mostly hype, and that years from now New Yorkers will be able to look back on it as an exciting diversion, and not a weekend of vast destruction.  I’ll be rooting for them…from the sidelines.

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