Guest Post: On The Ground in NYC with Green Lantern
Longtime Turdite, "Green Lantern", generously offered this fantastic summary and tucked it into the comments section of the previous thread. He offers firsthand observations of post-Sandy life in NYC and did such a great job writing it up that I felt it needed to be elevated to the main page. Thanks, GL, and God bless. Hang in there and keep us posted.
I want to make some observations about what I am witnessing here in NYC with Sandy. Some conclusions that you won't hear on the TV.
First, the new Prep Friends and Community. If you don't have any, make some. Take classes on how to make some if you are one of those irritable types.
Millions of people are struggling to get to work. There is very little gas! Due to all the electricity problems. Either no gas or the stations have no electricity. And obviously, limited public transportation and what there is simply chaotic. Ok, this shouldn't be surprise but here is the story they are not telling you, WHY do millions of people, even people whose houses and lives have been destroyed waiting two hours for a bus, that takes another two hours to get to work only to be exhausted, work a few hours and do it over again? BECAUSE THEY CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO WORK. EVEN FOR A FEW DAYS OR A WEEK. It's just terrible.
And obviously no gas means no deliveries! Prep food. And by the way, something I learned. Eat it for a week. Make sure you can live with it. I thought I'd give it a try. I need to revaluate some of my choices.
My wife can't get to work. Either no gas, or no public transportation. I told her to sit her ass home until one or the other comes back on. Companies are forcing their employee's to come in, go to meetings etc... You must find a way! Message: companies can't keep up with their bottom line without employees and employees can't pay their mortgage and car payments if they don't come in. It's almost modern slavery. RESULT: Utter Chaos! No time for grieving, no time for clean-up, no time for volunteering to help others, get your ass into work or else...We wouldn't have all the transportation chaos if people and companies had the leeway to have their employees stay home. Other message: Fed is going to have to print more to get such an important economic center back on line.
It doesn't have to be your neighborhood that gets devastated to effect your life style. New Orleans goes down. No Seafood, Oil goes up. San Francisco or Boston tech area's go down, or Kansas City wheat gets messed up, you are effected.
We'll have to wait to see the long term business impact of this storm but my guess is a lot of people are going to have to go out of business especially without government assistance. This should boost monetary policy nicely. The hurricane besides the obvious devastation is only highlighting the significant economic problems we are facing. There is no reason so many people should be struggling to get to work under these conditions!
Companies and people are over leveraged and their lifestyle depends on their ability to go to work tomorrow. The city has passed an HOV law that says you cannot drive into the city if you don't have three people in the car. When they interview people they say, I do not know two other people or do not know how to find two other people!
COMMUNITY! Not Me, Myself, and I. That alone will not work.
Yes, more and more looting is going on after the storm. Reports now that people are pretending to be FEMA or other government officials and knocking on doors. Government, federal, state and city cannot patrol all the devastated neighborhoods and even neighborhoods just having a hard time. People are crying for government to help them. Lesson: Communities not government will determine your fate. I can't get to parts of the city to help friends. Just no way.
Communities are being forced to get together and become their own police. Those that do are protected, those that don't.Oh, well. No food or food supplies running low in many communities including many suburbs. Especially the lower class neighborhoods on Rockaway Beach, nobody has showed up except some religious groups who are feeding them and those who are being helped by their neighbors. People who are flooded or have damage are only getting by with the help of their neighbors who are taking buckets and helping them.
Now let's just say that instead of a hurricane the the cities and states went broke. Transportation systems couldn't afford to run, massive disruption of either food or gas supplies etc.... Many people would be in similar situations. Little food and water, weak communities, and definitely no government to bail you out.
Other small lessons. Cell phones iffy. Towers down. DSL phone lines useless in some parts. Have an old fashion phone that plugs into the wall. We learned that lesson when the Northeast grid went down. Good reminder.
I won't go on. You are all smart people. But I'll say this, do not wait until the shit hits the fan to change your lifestyle. If you are living beyond your means or just near the tipping point, reduce your lifestyle and put the change in your pocket. Ditch the premium cable and the fancy cell phones plans, stop getting your white wall tires hand polished, going to the nail place and getting your hair done every week. Vanity doesn't mean shit when you have to protect your family. I'll learn how to paint my wife's nails with colored glue if my wife needed it that bad. Our material based society is learning that it no longer serves us. We need to become a community based society where connection is more important than having that vice president title. There are quite a few vice presidents now sitting in puddles without electricity. I hope they have food and friends to help them out.
Lastly, all the Long Island and Jersey Shore beach resorts. It's sad and utterly devastating. My memories are on both. But I don't want government money to come in to build new boardwalks, and roller coasters. Private money fine. I doubt it will ever be rebuilt the way it was. Put sand back on the beach. Life guard stands, some bathrooms, a few hot dog stands and make some new memories. If that gets washed away, no big deal.
People should be allowed to rebuild right on the beach. But not with my money. I drive 30 to 40 minutes to go to a beach. At the end of the day, i don't have to look at the waves. Our society needs to start having some more environmental awareness. I accept the risk of living surrounded by water. If you live in San Francisco, you accept the risk of earth quakes. If you live in the flood plains of the Mississippi accept that risk. You have cognitive thinking abilities and the internet to access records. It doesn't make it any less sad when disasters happen but we as individuals and societies need to take responsibility to be aware of our environments and the potential risks. It's not salt water taffy, roller coasters, and boats that are key to your happiness. It's family and community. When are we going to learn that? Of course, when it's too late.