This week was an emotional roller coaster, and I thank the powers that be for keeping my friends and family safe during Hurricane (aka Tropical Storm) Sandy. I pray for the victims of the hurricane that still have a long recovery ahead of them.
On Monday, October 29, it was my Mom’s birthday. It was also the day that Hurricane Sandy made landfall in NYC and the Jersey shore around 8:30pm EST. For many days we heard warnings about this massive “Frankenstorm,” and at the time it seemed like the biggest worry was maybe stocking up on some extra food and leaving Washington, DC, as soon as possible after the Marine Corps Marathon to make it back to NYC early. Special thanks to my friend Jürgen for driving me back safely post-race, and for Diane hosting me and sending me off with big hugs back to NYC. [Dear readers, I will post about the Marine Corps Marathon later this week.]
On Tuesday morning, I awoke to news reports of devastating images like this one of a flooded South Ferry station:
The phone calls and texts were flooding in to make sure that I was doing ok. I thank everyone who sent me texts, emailed, or called–it really means a lot.
Fortunately, my family was ok, the house was fine, and we still had electricity. Some of my friends were not so lucky. Most of Lower Manhattan below 37th Street had no power. My dad had to walk home on Tuesday from his hotel workplace near Grand Central all the way back to Brooklyn–it took him 2.5 hours because there were no trains working, and few cabs to be found.
Staten Island and the Rockaways were devastated. Over 100 homes burned down in Breezy Point, Queens. I sent prayers and positive energy to all who needed it in the world.
This whole week my office was closed due to a collapsed crane so I worked from home. Besides the minor inconvenience of no subways into Manhattan, I felt very lucky.
Then, on Friday around 5:30pm, it was announced that the ING NYC Marathon was cancelled. My friends all know how much the marathon means to me, so the news saddened me. I was supposed to host my friend Steven the night before the marathon. He deferred his 2012 marathon entry on Wednesday when he found out his flight was cancelled due to the hurricane. JFK was closed and reopened only on Wednesday.
So today, on what was supposed to be Marathon Sunday, 11/4/12, I walked around Greenpoint instead. I was in the area caring for my sister’s cats, instead of being at a cheer zone and the finish line like I planned to. I felt a bit empty. To cheer up, I walked into Sips and Bites to buy myself lunch. I bought a Fairyland sandwich (fried egg, spinach, Korean chili paste, mushrooms on a Parker House Roll) and got a free coffee with my Foursquare check-in. It’s the little things in life that make us smile.
I read stories via Facebook about my friends volunteering in Red Hook, going for their own runs in the city, and setting up Red Cross fundraisers. I wanted to do something. I walked around the neighborhood and saw that Brooklyn Industries was collecting supplies for relief in Far Rockaway. I immediately walked into a bodega and bought some canned goods to donate. It wasn’t much, but the volunteers smiled and thanked me as I dropped them off.
I love my city so much that it hurts to see it suffer.
So I leave you with the following images. It was November 6, 2005, and I had just run the ING NYC Marathon, my first one ever.
My mom, dad and sister cheered for me on the course. My boyfriend at the time, Jason, and his mom cheered for me from First Avenue and 60th Street in Manhattan. I heard the “wall of sound” on First Avenue. My friends Stasy and Kseniya gave me a bouquet of roses. I smiled so much that day. I crossed the finish line that day feeling like I could do anything. I vowed to try another marathon, just to get that feeling again. I was bursting with love for New York City. And I still am.