I have been given the “gift” of perfect timing. Of course, a day before my trip to the East Coast, they had the once-in-a-gazillion-years earthquake and now I am preparing to meet hurricane Irene with open arms tonight. Exciting times!
Having arrived here on Wednesday, I had enough time to remember the many reasons why I love New York City. This time, I branched out from my beloved upper west side, and decided to stay with a friend in the hipster East Village. Once I got re-acquainted with the drug-addicts and homeless people, I had time to enjoy the many good restaurants/coffee/shops/bars this area has to offer. It was amazing to walk down the street and see persons of any race, nationality, gender around me. I barely heard any English. You forget about this, living in real America. I saw so many weirdos, too. One guy was riding a little girl’s bicycle with pink tassels and everything. He was dressed in tighty-whities, a wife-beater and white straw hat with a pink ribbon. He was just riding the bicycle, stopping by the windows of restaurants and cafes, and trying to get people’s attention.. incredible.
Otherwise, it has been interesting to watch Manhattan prepare for the storm. Many of the businesses decided to close for the weekend, while others proudly displayed signs stating they will stay open until the sign you are reading will fly away from the door. People as always started freaking out and buying out every possible crap at the stores, which reminded me of the last hurricane that threatened Houston, leading to mass paranoia in Austin, Texas. At the end, there was no hurricane in either place but loads of people got stuck on the highway between the two cities in an 18 hours traffic jam (normally, the journey takes 2.5 hours..) because they ran out of gas. I hope the case will be the same here.
Last night, while out for drinks, everyone in the hood displayed a positive and careless mood. 4am at local pizza place, everyone was cracking jokes and saying that the city is over-reacting. Today, the mood morphed into anxious curiosity. Most people are just wondering how this will play out. It’s kind of strange to see no cars or buses on the streets and having to figure out how to get to places without public transport. Thankfully, there are many free cabs around, not that I really wanted to go anywhere. It’s interesting that things here seem quite calm, while outsiders watching TV are freaking out about us. One has got to love New Yorkers’ cynicism. Surveying my Facebook friends’ status updates, all the folks in New York are posting jokes about stacking up on wine instead of water, preparing Hurricane parties and sharing video clips, while their friends in other places are posting worried messages and prayers for their safety.
I say, if we go down, we should do it in style!
To be continued…
Here is one of those videos in the meantime: