|Amy and I in Sleepy Hollow|
Saturday evening I met Amy Laurent, matchmaker, author, star of Miss Advised, in the town of Sleepy Hollow, the same spot made famous by Washington Irving in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Though I’ve lived a hop, skip, and bridge from the area for most of my life I had never gone there during the haunting season. It took my friends from Manhattan to get me there. We chose the Horseman’s Hollow, a walk through haunted house type attraction. I hung back with another friend clinging and laughing as we allowed Amy to lead, being our guinea pig for all the creepy corners and frighteningly dressed actors jumping out from them. The night was carefree, a great way to begin the Halloween week, however less than 24 hours later the tone changed. “We are heading home early,” Amy told me when I mentioned the hotel she was staying at had a great brunch, “we need to prepare for this storm.”
|The crane dangling on 57th St.|
I was doing the same. The monsters from the previous evening were nothing compared to the very real one that was on its way. As New Yorkers we tend to take hurricane warnings with a grain of salt. They just rarely turn out to be that significant. Though Irene was tougher than most it still barely affected the suburban town I live in much less New York City. These warnings, however, seemed serious so there I was filling my tank with gas, buying gallons of water, and preparing for days without electricity. I just had a feeling this time was different, a feeling I’d hoped was wrong.
|Aviva and I at the Divalyssious Moms Event|
By Monday the sky was gray, the leaves were blowing, and the radar showed Hurricane Sandy had her eye on the Northeast, specifically NY,NJ,and CT. My husband and I had both been told to stay home from work, in fact only essential vehicles were permitted to be on the road. By evening the winds had kicked up, and then, the power went out. It was the first outage we ever had in 8 years. Sandy wasn’t fooling around. She hadn’t even fully arrived and already was wreaking more havoc on us than Irene.
The winds howled overnight and when we awoke the next morning, again asked to stay in, there were leaves and branches everywhere, and still no power. That’s when we found out that the block my in laws lived on had electricity.We packed our stuff and headed over. With TV again we got our first look at what was happening in the city. Flood waters like we’d never heard of, the entire transit system crippled, and forget our beloved Jersey Shore, boardwalk sections washed away, the hotel we were married in damaged. Instantly I felt very lucky to be out of power and have a place to go.
|Trick or treating|
By Tuesday evening the weather was calm and the cleanup was underway. It was hard to remember that it was Halloween Eve. This would be my children’s second Halloween, both of which were disrupted by extreme weather events (their first one was that freak snowstorm last year). I tried to get into the spirit by renting The Nightmare Before Christmas On Demand. While watching I got a message from RHONY’s Aviva Drescher, “The event is ON.”
The event she referred to was a toddler Halloween party at popular NYC candy shop, Dylan’s Candy Bar, on 60th and 3d Avenue. “If you will be there, we will be there,” I responded. The greatest thing about New Yorkers is our resilience, I wanted to show my ability to get on with it, plus I was NOT going to let Mother Nature steal Halloween from us again.
Along the West Side Highway I saw several people reflecting that same We Shall Overcome attitude as they jogged, rode bikes, and walked their dogs along the Hudson River which appeared at a higher level than usual. As I entered Midtown Manhattan I spotted the crane that had closed a portion of West 57th Street after partially collapsing in mid-air during Sandy’s wrath. The traffic in the area was so heavy that I decided to park and walk, kids in stroller, 10 blocks to our destination.
When I got there I was sweaty, breathless, a little annoyed at myself for even venturing out, but seeing the kids in costumes laughing, dancing, enjoying cookies and cupcakes made it all worth the effort. This is what being a New Yorker is all about. We are tough people who cannot be kept down for long and in the face of a struggle we prevail. The walk back to the car was liberating. The streets were full of people going about their daily business, people, like I, who were probably getting over two days of cabin fever.
When I got home I saw some trick or treaters, and so the kids and I, along with some of our other family members, joined in the festivities. This Halloween was about more than just being in the spirit, it was about the spirit of survival.
*If you have the time or money to help there are many organizations working to relieve Sandy victims. Please donate what you can.