As I have finally managed to escape Sea Gate, Brooklyn, (Zone A) I have come to realize that there has been little to no presence of city authorities there after landfall of super-storm Sandy. All of the police and medical presence was private Hatzolah and soon Sea Gate authorities followed by NYPD, Thursday morning. It is now Saturday and I have been dragged out by loving arms to thaw out in Bath Beach.
After the first high tide of the day came around the corner and over the breaker walls at 8 am on Monday October 29, 2012, the debate of whether to leave began to swirl in parallel with the storm. After making a logical argument about the situation and convincing my family and some neighbors to leave, I wound up staying in the area, just further from the coastline, as far from the coast as you could be, in fact.
There was a sudden fear that struck me about turning off the electricity at my home. I flew off of the chair I was peacefully planted in playing Rummikub for the few hours before Sandy swallowed our lives. As fast as my feet could carry me, wheezing, I ripped through my front door and slid down the basement stairs, catching myself on the banister. The sound of my screaming at my brother to leave was cut in half by the closing front door. It was over; there was no more time to escape. The solid thumping of my boots against the street became a silencing sloshing river of sewage, loose bricks, branches and the beginnings of torn awnings and porches within minutes.
The water level rose faster than I could run. Isabelle, the girl whose house I had come from, was being pulled by me and pushed the fear. Autopilot had set in. I dragged her with me, like runners shoulder to shoulder, momentum, crushing her fingers in the attempt to hold on to her. The water filled our boots and we struggled to turn off of the street into her home. I ran down to her basement to turn off her power main and the basement doors flew off the hinges from the pressure. Tripping over the elliptical, sitting dead center, I felt nothing due to the adrenaline. I climbed back to the first floor, threw off all my clothes and ran upstairs wearing a make shift outfit made out of a sweater.
People were making a last attempt to get out and the cars began to moan in their slow drowning. The older cars would moan until they were muffled by the water and you could see the head lights sinking like shiny coins until they were no more. The newer cars would pop the trunk and windows, going all the quicker. The cars began to float and the poles began to bow to Mother in obedience. Dogs and children appeared to float above the water but they were perched on the shoulders of adults, ceilings had collapsed and water was gurgling toward and through the first floors. The arms of the Atlantic were rearranging the Lego-like coast line but we wouldn’t know how badly until morning. There was Rum-mikub and the grand finally for the evening was Valerian root wrapped in crumbs of hope and each others arms.
This was the morning after…