I flew into JFK on October 19th to help my filmmaker friend, Sujewa, prep to make his independent Jungian detective comedy, Breakthrough Weekend. A few days after I arrived I learned of Hurricane Sandy as it was beating up the shores of Cuba, the Bahamas and Southern Florida. I wondered what the effect would be on our film in NY as the days rolled by and the Sandy headed north. I had no idea what I was in for.
We had a break in the middle of pre-production after casting was nearly done. After lots of work shooting a promo video and extended casting I had three days off. Those days, luckily, coincided with the time Sandy was due to hit the shores of New York, particularly what Mayor Bloomberg designated as Zone A areas (low-lying areas).
Trains were scheduled to be shut down in advance as winds increased and the threat of flooding became a major issue. I was on lock-down, so I hunkered down in Harlem (Central Park North), gathered a few supplies and prepared for the worst.
The first few hours the wind picked up terribly. Being on the 12th floor the howl of the winds lifted the sounds or sirens as the gusts maneuvered through the community in which I was staying. By the time the rains came I was locked onto NY1 News Network for info on what was going on in the outer Burroughs. Monday night the winds picked up terribly and I began to notice a constant flicker in the lights. I assumed the probability of losing power was heightened so I made sure my cell phone was charged.
As the night progressed and the winds increased in velocity I heard that a brownstone around 14th Street in Manhattan had collapsed. I also heard that NYFD was battling a bad fire in the Rockaway’s resulting from fallen Con Ed transformer. I heard the fire had extended to several homes and nearly 200 firefighters were on hand to fight it. The high winds most certainly exacerbated the situation.
Later, I got a call from my wife Kathy who was back in Los Angeles dealing 80 degree weather in Autumn. She called to check on me, as did my two oldest girls, Israel and Cimone. Tuesday was going to be Israel’s birthday and we needed to discuss what I would bring back from NY for her special day.
The night raged on. The news was depressing so I reconnected my brother’s PlayStation 3, ran the update and then connected to Netflix to watch something on TV. I made a point of not looking at the news. The winds outside raged on and about 1AM I snuggled under several blankets and comforters and tried to fall asleep.
Come Tuesday morning my cell phone was busy with incoming text messages, missed call notifications and Tweets. My family in North Carolina, Queens, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Manhattan were trying to get hold of me. I heard that the Rockaway’s were hit really hard. That news had a profound affect on me because I used to live in the Rockaways, just off Seagirt Blvd.
Back in Manhattan I’m learning that subways have flooded as did most of Battery Park, another area I’m familiar with. I used to work at One Battery Park Plaza in the building formerly owned by E.F. Hutton & Co.
My heart goes out to everyone who suffered a loss. I sincerely hope that you continue to stay safe, stay together. Ultimately you will weather this storm. God bless.