Hurricane Sandy, Part Deux Now its personal


Hurricane Sandy, Part Deux Now its personal

I spoke at length with a friend in parking from New York City last night.  It had taken him a few days to get back to my requests for information. First personal

“We live 50 miles from the ocean. The damage here was from wind.  No power, trees down everywhere.  We have no damage but no power, no heat, no communications. Since there is no power, that means the cell towers don’t work. You can drive around and find a cell tower that is working. When you do suddenly your phone shows 5 bars and ding, ding, ding, messages start downloading. Some towers have power, some don’t.

The problem with gas is that there is no power to run the gas pumps.  So when you find a station with power, it takes two hours standing in  line to fill up. Many people are also filling 5 gallon cans for their personal generators.  We don’t have one, we will next week.

No power means no heat if you have forced air heating and no fireplace.  We have friends across the street with a Franklin stove and all the neighbors go there. That thing really puts out the heat. We cooked all the meat in the fridge on the BBQ and are heating food out on our deck. Sleeping is no problem since we just add and extra blanket.

We will have power in a few days, life goes on.

And Business:

I finally got in to my locations Thursday, they wouldn’t let me in Manhattan Wednesday, only car pools with three persons. There were cops stopping cars at the bridges. One location in the Bronx had no damage and had power. I could charge my laptop and get some work done. We worked with a skeleton crew as a number couldn’t get to work.

My other location in the Battery area was different.  They had three feet of water on the first floor, which meant that all the lane equipment had been under salt water for some time.  Fortunately we turned off the power so it didn’t blow up, but the service techs will have to come out and get us back on the air. We have no power there and won’t for a few days.

We have to close at night since we can’t let people wander around in the dark. Most people today pay by credit card and with no power and no internet, we can’t accept them. I told the staff to take cash and checks.  We are basically back to a cigar box. Reminds me of the old days. The young people working in the garage had never had to operate that way.  It’s good for them.

I gave the staff that made it in the first couple of days a $50 bonus for each day. Some walked two hours to work. Others, who lived two blocks away didn’t make it in.  You really learn who your dependable employees are when something like this happens.

We will be back to normal in a week or so. Life goes on. No reason to whine or complain, it does only harm, and does no good.

We are very dependent on electricity.  Some wag noted that if we had spend the stimulus money (almost a trillion) on making electric lines impervious to trees falling (underground) it would have made a huge difference to many of the areas in the Northeast. Another noted that this type of disaster can be a real problem for plug in EVs. Those of us living in calmer climes don’t really understand what days without power can be like.



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John Van Horn

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