Tuesday, October 30, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Many thanks to all you kind folks who sent caring messages as that strange and powerful Hurricane Sandy made her way to and through the New York City area.

We were all given adequate advance warnings about Sandy's unique size and path, and were able to get to our homes or other safe destinations before the City's public transport systems all shut down at 7 p.m. Sunday evening.

From that point on, I joined millions of other folks in a pre-storm vigil.  We had lots of rain and strong winds beginning late Sunday night and continuing all yesterday, before Sandy made her actual appearance hereabouts.  My limited window views indicated not much increase in the rain, but a very great increase in the wind.  

Monday night also featured a full moon, and the tides were record breakers in all shoreline areas here in NYC and also in neighboring Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey.

River and ocean water did not stay in the rivers or the Atlantic.  This became a huge problem affecting our electrical sources.

Around 10 pm last night vast parts of Manhattan, below 34th Street (think of Macy's or the Empire State Building) lost electricity.

I am going to share some sketchy photographs I took of my television screen last night to show you all a bit of what was being communicated by our local media.

The following photos show attempt to use sandbags to protect the electrical rail tracks before water entered the rail tunnels.  This morning, we have no idea when mass public transportation will be able to resume service.

I admit that it's taken me a while to figure out just what the next photo actually shows.  It's Times Square.  See the yellow marquee of The Lion King on the left of the photo?  The shows obviously did not go on last night and most likely won't go on tonight either. 

The following picture is of the skating rink at Rockefeller Center.  Water, water everywhere.

And here's an on scene reporter showing just how deep water was in a particular part of town.

Earlier in the afternoon, a giant crane being used in constructing what will be NYC's tallest residential building (on West 57 Street near Sixth Avenue) collapsed in the strong wind.  The entire surrounding area was closed to all traffic and buildings were evacuated.  Scary stuff indeed!

Another scary effect of the storm was the need to evacuate all patients from the 18-story tall New York University Hospital after electricity went out and not all the hospital's back-up generators could perform.  Patients are still being evacuated this morning...remember, no elevators were working.

And so, you all can have a bit of a view of what we have experienced and the vast challenge facing now facing us to get back to normal.  The damage is unprecedented.  No one can accurately predict just how long it will take to get electrical service and public transportation restored.

I will keep you all updated.  Meanwhile, I do count my blessings.

Monday, October 22, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

In a couple of hours I will be watching tonight's televised final Presidential debate.  These debates provide the ultimate in Live television and no one (not even the participants) can actually predict how the 90 minutes will play.

Meanwhile, let me show you all some pictures I took on Sunday afternoon.  Halloween is not far off now, and autumn has begun changing the color scheme in Central Park.

In past Octobers, I've posted photos of a brownstone filled block near my own street that has  a special way of celebrating Halloween.  On my Sunday afternoon walk I saw only this inflatable decoration already in place.  Jolly yes, but perhaps only a tiny preview of what will be in place in another week.

And so, I continued walking towards Central Park, and in the next block came across a brownstone house that had gone decoration mad.  My photos truly do not do justice to the over the top efforts.

I was not the only afternoon passerby with a camera.  Several family groups were taking photos of various bits of the ghoulish displays.  Not one child seemed at all scared in the sunny mid afternoon.


If you looked above, a giant spider bobbed in the breeze.

Back down at street level, if you looked behind you, a strange scarecrow stood tall.

The braver folks might have taken a closer look at the actual entrance way to the house.  I saw no one who walked up those stairs to ring the door bell.

And above the doorway...yet more spiders!

On the other side of the stairway leading up to the front door, I saw more scary spirits giving us their own seasonal greetings.

It was a bit of a relief to keep on walking towards Central Park, and to find some other houses had somewhat more subdued decorations in place.

These little ghosties are kind of cute.

On to the Park, so that I could see how the leaf colors might have changed since my last walk.  The brilliant sunshine dazzled my eyes and emphasized nature's beauty.

Those buildings on the other side of the Lake are on Fifth Avenue.

Somehow, the golden tones of these leaves with the blue of the Lake behind them remind me of some of the Japanese screens and kimonos on display at the Met.

How wonderful to look up and not see giant spiders!  

As my walk continued, I could not resist taking this photo of two youngsters' bikes leaning against the rustic fence.  You can also see some of the beauty of the autumn leaves in the background

I hope that you all will enjoy these glimpses of the scenic variety I viewed on a relatively short walk on a Sunday afternoon.  I was quite tired on Sunday after a very busy Saturday workday, but felt completely refreshed after my stroll.

Isn't it interesting how a change of scene, some exercise and interesting sights can help banish achy muscles or weary minds?