Friday, November 2, 2012

How are New Yorkers feeling after the storm? Stories from people in the city on Friday, Nov. 2

Everyone is trying to return to normalcy after Hurricane Sandy.  Below are a few photographs and stories from people I met along my walk from near Grand Central to 57th Street on Friday, Nov. 2 -- and a few heart-warming stories detailing how and what NYC'ers are feeling or how they or their friends were impacted by the Hurricane and what they are doing a few days after the hurricane ...

The New York Post's front page -- Abuse of power ... Per the article, generators are being set up in Central Park as parts of New York City are out of electricity.  There is a lot of controversy over this.

This seafood truck came into the city from New Jersey.  The driver started his journey before 6 am and only just reached New York around 8:00 am.  He noted that it took him 45 minutes to get through the Lincoln Tunnel. 

Meet Abraham, the delivery guy who started his work day at 5 a.m. and is making his last delivery at 8 a.m. He delivers food to businesses throughout New York City, however today, he only had six deliveries, when he normally has an average of sixteen. He mentioned that his deliveries were lower due to the downtown power outages. 

As I was walking around, I began to see a lot more delivery trucks in midtown -- trucks carrying steaks and others shipping in supplies for Duane Reade.

I thought this man had just flown into NYC, but I was wrong.  With his 4+ bags in hand, he decided to evacuate his apartment on 10th street (power went out monday night and its Friday). 

Meet Billy Rohan.  He spent the night outside St. Bart's on 51st and Park.  When asked if he was affected by the Hurricane he said "yes, it was difficult to find transportation back to Edgewater Park in the Bronx."  As for what he plans to do today -- he's going to the financial district to skate (see his skateboard?).  Billy was a very interesting person who invited me to breakfast (but I already ate), told me about his night adventure (um, too x-rated for this blog), and shared with me his thoughts on Obama and other things.  If you're interested in learning more about him, check out this site or you can google him - he has twitter feeds, youtube videos and has been in the press.

Everyone has been impacted by the storm, but we all are trying to achieve some normalcy in life.  I saw the man in the suit walking his dog near midtown before heading into work.  He evacuated his home earlier this week and is currently staying at a hotel nearby.

Meet Louis the UPS man.  Its his first day back on the job and when asked how he was doing.  He said, "I'm doing fine."  After speaking with him for a little while, I discovered that his mother lives in Coney Island and her home was one of the few houses left standing after the Hurricane.  I noticed he was wearing a Cross and asked him about it... He began to share his testimony with me and how he found God - quite an amazing story - he was previously catholic, but somehow got into a dark period in his life where he believed in satanism (inc. witchcraft, astrology, etc), but he reached a low point in his life where, while high on cocaine, he almost took someone's life ... while in shock and realizing he almost took somone's life, he felt a presence over him and that was the moment he found God.   Its been four years since he made this discovery.  If anyone wants to hear more, he handed me a two page, handwritten testimony of his journey in finding God.  Truly heart-felt. 

Meet Magic Al.  I met him on Park Avenue and 56th street and noticed him and his colleague hauling what you see in the photo and another pink suitcase.  Though they were impacted by the Hurricane, they weren't evacuating their home, rather they were on their way to a child's birthday party.  Al's business has been impacted by the storm - with many halloween party and birthday party cancellations.  Today was his first performance since the Hurricane and he will be providing magic tricks and face painting at the birthday party.  What a perfect solution to keeping kids occupied and smiling during this tumultuous time of returning to normalcy after Hurricane Sandy.  For more info about his works, you can search his website --

And finally, meet Roy, a security guard.  Roy was the last person I spoke to before heading into the office.  He ended my walk to work with a very profound statement.  When asked about how he was feeling, he said -- "On the outside we have to appear 100%, but on the inside, we feel sad, scared and not right...  We have to be strong on the outside to offer our strength to other people."

There is a lot of truth to Roy's statement and I believe it was fate that he was the last person I spoke to before concluding my search of figuring out how New Yorkers are really feeling during this time... a little like Cinderella Man or like me who wants to feel a sense of normalcy?     

Outtakes from my walk:

three people walking into work

Long lines inside coffee bean

Seems like nothing happened in the city... People are buying coffee and breakfast at Dishes before heading into work ...

Signs had fallen after the Hurricane and many signs still remained on the ground.

This Waldorf Astoria bell man is counting his tips from the day.

NYC Waterway Ferry bus heading to the west side to drop off passengers as they commute to work.

A random deli with people buying their morning breakfast.

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