Friday, August 26, 2011

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good

Or so they say.

Hurricane Irene qualifies as a pretty ill wind, I think. Yesterday we were scoffing at people buying battery-operated radios and stocking up on tinned foods. Alarmist fools, we thought. Today we are the ones to be scoffed at... we are suddenly hurricane refugees.

Rabbit Hutch Towers is in 'low lying' Zone A, where a mandatory evacuation has been declared. We're literally half a block away from Zone B, where people are allowed to stay put. I suppose they have to draw the line somewhere. Too bad for us it's not 100 metres further West.

Then again, the people in Zone B are probably inundated with Zone A-ers fleeing their buildings. A girl in our building told us she is going to stay with a friend on 23rd and 8th, literally 2 blocks away. As an aside, the adrenalin and sense of emergency has engendered a new spirit of friendliness, it seems: that's the first time I've ever exchanged more than 2 words with a neighbour in the Rabbit Hutch Towers elevator. It's almost like London in the Blitz.

Except that unlike London in the Blitz, we are not being submitted to months of sustained heavy bombing. Instead, we are in the path of Irene, who according the NY Times Hurricane Irene tracker is going to have blown herself into a storm (rather than a hurricane) by the time it passes the coast of New York on Sunday morning.  TLOML and I, nature's optimists, reckon we're due for a few hours of crazy wind and rain, and no lasting damage. Still, given the Hurricane Katrina fallout, it's perhaps not surprising that Mayor Bloomberg is erring on the side of caution.

Anyway, as I said, it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good... We are booked into a suite 20 minutes walk away, at the Bryant Park Hotel, courtesy of TLOML's insurance, where we will wait out the storm while enjoying room service and fluffy bath robes. The Bryant Park Hotel has the advantage of being firmly far from the river, on fairly high ground, and having an excellent in house sushi restaurant. Plus a cellar bar should we need to move away from the windows. We think it's a pretty good evacuation outcome.

Fingers crossed we - and the rest of New York - will return to our home on Monday with no harm done.

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