The City Survives!
Many thoughts about New York City, Hurricane Sandy, the wedding and the national election.
First, I must admit that New York City is an amazing city. The people are so strong, vibrant and wonderful. Suffering a disaster just five days earlier, I was shocked that I could not tell that the city was in a semi-state of emergency. The transportation systems were running at about 80%, the people were out and I felt as safe as I do anywhere. I planned for a 2 hour commute into the city but I got off the train at Penn Station in less than 45 minutes. I made the same commute last March and it took almost an hour.
I had an extra two hours so I walked from Times Square to Central Park. Just about 40 blocks and it was a wonderful saunter. I got to Central Park in about an hour and finally found the location of the wedding. A place called The Boathouse, a five star restaurant in the middle of the park. The park was closed because of possible falling trees, but someone has some pull within city hall because when the police asked me why I wanted to go into the park. I said I wanted to go the wedding, they said come on in. I felt like a bubba. The wedding was beautiful; everybody I met was very nice and pleasant. I spoke to movers and shakers in the city and they didn’t act like I was a hayseed from West Virginia. I was so out of my league. Bill asked me if I had made any contacts with the people he knows in the publishing world. I said no, but I wasn’t there to pitch a book but to support my friend. I left the wedding at 11:30 and was back to the Newark Airport at 1:15. I have to wait until 2:00 for the hotel shuttle to get back to retrieve me. There is a gas shortage and they cut back the shuttle to once an hour. That was the only delay in the entire trip. I would consider it a smashing success on all accounts.
In 2005, I watched in horror as the good people of New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast suffered from Hurricane Katrina. I was watching from a television in the MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) tent in Bagram, Afghanistan. At the time, I was beside myself with anger and outrage because the lack of response from the Government. A month later, I was back home and I flew a group of troops to New Orleans as they were going join the relief effort. The lasting impression of that flight, was that the coast was a combat zone. The devastation was overwhelming. It was shocking, even to a war weary pilot. I truly appreciate the effort to get the people of the Gulf Coast back to normal. Just last month, I was in Lafayette and there are no signs from the Hurricane just seven years ago.
Leaving Newark on Saturday morning, I had a great view of New Jersey during the climb out. Honestly, I could see some damage but nowhere to the extent of Katarina. I am not dismissing the fact that people are really hurting. I know they are but I believe the difference is in the sheer numbers. My simple math come up to about 3 million people immediately affected by Katrina. There are almost 19 million people in the New York City metro area. In the areas that Sandy destroyed, there may be 5 million people directly affected. So while the damage may not be as wide spread, the number of people directly involved are significant.
My point is that while I was able to travel in and out of the city just like any other day, there are several million people hurting within a stone’s throw from where I was.
On Tuesday, we get to hold our four year revolution. Do your part and please vote. When we wake up on Wednesday, hopefully there is a clear winner and we will not have to watch the lawyers have their turn on shaping the national future.
November 11th is Veterans Day. This is a big day to a lot of people.
Finally, to all my friends who are writing in the NaNoWriMo. Keep up the hard work. 3,500 words a day is tough but you all are strong!
Thank you all for the wonderful support.