Blackout NYC – Post-Sandy

Sunday 04 November, 2012 | By Pravan

Driving into Manhattan last night was something we’ve done a thousand times over but crossing the Queensboro Bridge (Ed Koch Bridge) felt a bit different from every other time. Seeing the lower half of Manhattan without power was something a New Yorker doesn’t see every day nor would they. The city that never sleeps was forced to go to bed because frankly, it was lights out. Amidst widespread power loss, flooding and destruction ushered in by Hurricane Sandy, we at SNTRL would like to hope this never happens again and if it does happen, hopefully we’d be more prepared. Underestimating the power of Mother Nature is a huge mistake paid for by many. Being over-prepared never hurts.   
Not seeing the usual streams of yellow cabbies racing from intersection to intersection made Manhattan nearly lose its identity. While people huddled around Halal food carts waiting for their dinners, one can’t help it feel sorry for their fellow man. Strewn across streets were lines of people waiting to get gas for their cars or generators, some only to be told that the station has just depleted their gas, so onto the next station. 
Once we arrived in Manhattan we were lost in our own city, total darkness between buildings crept at nearly every corner south of Tribeca. As we drove downtown, at every intersection we became evermore alert hoping we wouldn’t get t-boned by another motorist since there were no traffic signals. Seeing the familiar faces of the SNTRL Fam was an inherent relief in knowing that they were safe and if things were to go sour that night we would have each other’s backing. It’s not often we walked down Manhattan streets in anticipation of some opportunist wanting to capitalize on the occasion but we believed in humanity yet we cautiously continued on with seeing how Manhattan is dealing with the aftermath. Tunnels nearly submerged in water were commons sites last night and reminded us movies we’ve seen. The smell of gas fueling the generators and the sound of water being pumped out of building were surreal. As we walked down streets we could feel the oil slick, which was probably left behind when floodwaters receded, leaving a thin film of oil. After rediscovering this city and we left with a wide array of emotions ranging from feeling humbled for what we have and what we have been spared from to appreciation of the rebirth of our city.

If you wish to help, there are a few ways:

– Text, “90999” and donate $10 to the Red Cross.

–  Dial, 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to donate via phone.

– There are many organizations that are accepting donations for clothing, blankets, canned goods, non-perishable items, pampers, etc. Please check out for more information.

Lower Manhattan as you have never seen it before in our lifetime.

Our night started off with long gas lines. Photos like these have become common in recent days, but it can never get old.

On our way to lower Manhattan, it was pretty eerie to see the FDR Drive open, but so empty. During pre-Sandy days, no matter what the time, the FDR was rarely this empty, regardless of day or night.

This was a first for us. “Off Network” messages  displayed on our phones for cellular service.

26th street right off 6th Avenue. Only a handful of stores and buildings had backup generators running, so the majority of lower manhattan was dark, with only our headlights, flashlights and the lights of police sirens, lighting up the streets.

People were walking around everywhere. If you looked closely, you could see people just standing by their stoops, on guard, or walking around in groups.

This particular store owner parked an old school Fiat in front of his store-front in an attempt to prevent looting.

Greene Street lit up by TMinus NYC’s industrial powered flash-lights.

The lights of vehicles driving by is all that could be seen.

The police presence was heavy, thankfully. The law enforcement agencies and emergency-responders were doing their best to keep the peace as much as possible.

A sign of the times. Holloween costumes stand in this store front.

The FDR Drive Tunnel was completely over-run with the surge of ocean water. For those that have traveled through this tunnel, it was truly an eye-opening experience to see the state that it is in, presently.

A DOT truck that was a victim of the surge and the floods of Lower Manhattan.

The water you see here, reeks of oil and gas as it is being pumped out of a building in Lower Manhattan.

The Freedom Tower, in the midst of its construction, shines bright in a time of hardship, despair and pain. It’s a reminder that we will overcome and rise from this.

About the author

I’m Pravan but if you really knew me, you’d call me Prav. A few things I’m into: Educating our youth, vintage North Face gear, 90′s Hip Hop, all things photography and most importantly satiating my glutinous palate. You guys can check out my work: P R A V A N | Photography + You can contact me personally at: [email protected]

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