Last night I went to bed. But it was different from the usual evenings in which I periodically wake up to the sound of semi trucks j-braking, outbound planes from JFK airport and motorcyclists using Grand Street as a drag strip. This night, the only sound that could be heard outside my window was the low humming of the wind brushing up against the aluminum siding of the building and emergency sirens off in the distance. The noise that hindered my sleep for the past 3 months was now something that I would have given my left ear to have back, at least this particular night.
Lucky for us, East Williamsburg did not receive as much damage from Hurricane Sandy as New Jersey and Manhattan. While I did not witness the real life versions of the flooding and damage that you may have seen pictures of in the media, the atmosphere of the storm and the city told its own story. Much like the smell of the fire resonated uptown on 9/11, the sudden bursts of wind that would shake our apartment followed by silence were our constant reminder of what was going on.
As I currently write this blog post, hundreds of volunteers and rescue workers are providing aid to those who were affected by the storm. Maintenance crews are busy rebuilding power lines and cell phone towers while pumping the water out of the subway system. Although normalcy will be in the distant future for some, the jobs that Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Christie did in organizing the relief efforts have set us on the right path.
I am glad to report that, this morning, the shops in my neighborhood are opening back to the public and people who do not rely on the subway are able to go back to work. I have now realized that there is a sense of comfort with the noise and crowds of people. It is the spirit of a city who thrives in adversity and I am now becoming a part of it.
A Harley-Davidson just shook my apartment as he sped by. I wonder how long it will take until that gets old again.