Last Monday, my husband, James, and I were alternately cowering in our apartment waiting for the impending storm and braving the winds and rain to walk down to the river and check in on the condition of the harbor. By midday, the river down the street from our apartment was already churning and the water lapping up as high as we’d ever seen it. At night we lay awake in our bed, listening to the sound of the wind and ambulance sirens, both relentless in their shrieking. From the river itself, we heard nothing.
The next morning, we walked back to the water’s edge and it was clear that river had been where we stood. Clear that while we had managed eventually to sleep it had dashed in and then retreated as quickly as it had come, leaving bits of styrofoam and seagrass strewn in its wake. In DUMBO, a four-foot high brown water mark tattooed restaurant windows and a small lake rippled in the remaining wind at the foot of Main Street. Park benches were covered with the same mess we’d seen further down the road. The power was out and so were the neighbors, walking among the debris to survey the damage.
In the days after the storm, the subways remained flooded and so my sister and her husband walked from the East Village across the Brooklyn Bridge and over the river that separates us. They set up shop in our tiny apartment and we tried to maintain a semblance of normalcy---a surprisingly easy task when there’s a wi-fi connection and warm drinks to be had.
The heartbreaking bit of course is what’s still happening in places where normalcy is harder to come by. In DUMBO and Red Hook and Rockaway and along the Jersey Shore and the Connecticut and Rhode Island coasts, there were lives and livelihoods and homes swept away with the rising tides. We’re such a fragile bunch, us humans---so reliant on the technologies that we’ve built and the infrastructure that buoys us. But as always happens after a tragedy, I am also astonished, astonished by our resiliency. If you're looking for ways to help, head here.