Hurricane Sandy

by Jessica Sturdy on November 1, 2012

Hi friends/family/readers! I wanted to write a quick update to let you know that I am safe & dry! My posting schedule might be a bit off over the next week or two so please bear with me as NYC recoups from Hurricane Sandy. Also, I apologize in advance for the lengthiness of this post. Forewarning: There’s really not anything fashion-related in this post (besides a rolling rack).

xo Jessica

I live in “Zone A,” so unfortunately, I had to be evacuated by Sunday evening. The subways stopped running at 7pm Sunday night so I headed up to the Upper East Side in the afternoon. I stayed with a friend Sunday night and most of Monday, but had to move to a hotel Monday evening just an hour to two before Sandy made landfall. Scary to be alone in a hotel room on the 22nd floor while experiencing my first hurricane, but I was so lucky to have electricity, Internet, and television throughout the worst part of the storm.

I am so thankful to have gotten a hotel in the midst of the hurricane, but it came at a hefty price, even when booking through Expedia. On Monday morning, I made the economical decision to find a cheaper priced hotel for Monday night. I found a lower rate at a hotel nearby so I checked out of my hotel at 12 and had a few hours to kill before checking in to the new hotel at 3pm.

Here’s where things get extra interesting frustrating: Expedia was booking hotel rooms that weren’t actually available. So as I wandered around the city for 3 hours with all of my bags, thinking I had a guaranteed place to stay (I had even called to make sure they had power and Internet), hotels were filling up rapidly. Then check-in time came. And the hotel didn’t have my reservation. At that single hotel alone, Expedia had booked 25 unavailable rooms. I panicked and called Expedia to help me find a new hotel, but they basically told me I was shit out of luck. (You guessed it, I will NEVER be doing business with Expedia EVER again. I understand that accidents happen, but handling them in a poor manner? No thanks. Customer service is pretty high on my priority list. Blame it on my Nordstrom roots.)

I began walking in to hotels and checking for vacancy. I walked from 39th St. & 8th Ave. all the way back to my first hotel (Courtyard Marriott… highly recommended) at 53rd St. & 3rd Ave. (Still carrying my half-case of water, boxes of granola bars, flash light, extra batteries, etc.) When I left my apartment on Sunday, I was under the impression I was just going to be at my friend’s place on the UES until the storm passed, not stranded in midtown without a place to go.

Oops, missed a stop. I tried to book a hotel through Jetsetter because I was at the point of not carrying about prices, I just wanted somewhere to stay. It was raining, windy, and starting to get dark so I was anxious to get in to a room. I booked a rather expensive hotel, the Kitano, and walked there to find they didn’t have power. I better be getting that refund ASAP.

Once I got back to the Courtyard Marriott, I lost it. I broke down and began sobbing in the lobby like a crazy person. The nice employees gave me my own box of tissues and told me to hang around until I figured out a plan. Hilton had called all of their sister hotels in Manhattan, and even in Queens. Nothing available. Marriott did the same thing. Nada. I had checked every boutique hotel that came across my path, and every one that came up on Google. I stopped in to at least 25 hotels and probably called even more.

The problem was (and is) that half of Manhattan is out of power, including hotels. Anything south of 39th has a lack of electricity unless they are running by generator.

After I regained my composure in the lobby and charged my dying iPhone, I called my friend Sam, who welcomed me in to her apartment with open arms. She even made turkey chili for dinner!

I hate feeling like a charity case and I hate having to ask for help. This is definitely one of my character flaws, and I think it’s why I got so upset on Tuesday night. Most of my close friends are without power, too, and a few don’t even live in Manhattan. I didn’t really know who to turn to. I know this is a crappy time for most people and I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone by sleeping on their couch.

But thankfully all is “well” so far. This week has been the biggest pain in the ass, but I am so thankful that I wasn’t one of the people who lost everything because of this storm. My heart goes out to all of those families!

My office was closed Monday & Tuesday due to lack of transportation. Thankfully, my office is on 57th street (away from the crane) so it wasn’t affected. My co-workers and I were supposed to go back to work on Wednesday if we were able to make it to work safely, but we got word Tuesday evening that our phones/internet are somehow tied to downtown so they don’t work. So we were to work from home (or the nearest Starbucks with an available outlet… Not as easy to find as one might think…) yesterday, and today, too.

Yesterday marked my last day of clean clothes so I ventured back to my apartment during the daylight to switch out clothing and drop off all of my emergency supplies. They don’t expect power for probably another week, so I needed a smaller bag to hop from place to place with.

88th street to 14th street on a bus. How long do you think it took me? Got on the bus at 9:14am. Got off the bus at 11:47am. 2.5 hours on a MTA bus. Not fun. The return trip took another hour. Good thing I got an early start!

This scene was just 3 short blocks north of my apartment on Monday night. Lots of water!

Walking through my neighborhood was eerie and quite sad. There were sopping wet mattresses on the sidewalk from households that suffered from flooding. I live on the 5th floor so thankfully I didn’t have any water damage to deal with!

A tree down in front of the nail salon I go to on 1st Avenue.

An awning blown off of a local business on Avenue B.

This rolling rack perhaps was the freakiest part of the adventure to my apartment yesterday. This rolling rack was DIRECTLY in front of my apartment steps, and directly below my bedroom window. I have this EXACT rolling rack in my bedroom. I’m sure you can imagine my anxiety as I walked up the five flights of stairs to my apartment, apprehensive about what I was going to find.

The creepy dark hallway walking in to my apartment building. Thank goodness I had my flashlight!

I was very lucky to find my apartment just as I had left it! No power or hot water, but at least there is running water! I put my room back together (I did a lot of pre-hurricane prep, just in case a window were to blow out, etc.), cleaned out the refrigerator, and switched out my clothes before heading back up north.

It was even more creepy that I didn’t have a single bar of AT&T iPhone service below 40th Street. All I got was “Searching…” I wouldn’t mind staying at my place without electricity for a night or two, but the lack of ability to contact the outside world would really freak me out, especially alone at night in the dark!

Crossing my fingers that the power gets restored very soon! As much as I love slumber parties, I really miss my bed and am getting a bit anxious to stop living out of a bag. So until the power gets restored, I’ll be staying with friends on the upper-half of Manhattan. I’ve been searching for open hotels, but every hotel is booked. Imagine that.

The subways began partial service this morning to the upper half of Manhattan. It’s so bizarre, everywhere north of about 39th is going on, business as usual, for the most part. And everywhere below 39th is dark and closed. It’s like two different cities.

If you’re reading this line, Congrats, you made it through my novel! :)

 

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren November 1, 2012 at 10:38 am

oh my gosh! im glad you are ok! you certainly made it through an ordeal!

my friends in hoboken have been without power since Monday too and checked into a hotel in NYC that they paid way too much $$ for!

thoughts & prayers to NYC & NJ!

-Lauren
http://ourprettypieces.blogspot.com/

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Elizabeth November 1, 2012 at 10:40 am

Wow, what a story! I read the whole thing! haha. Glad to hear you are safe. That’s pretty crazy how everything is kind of split in half, power-wise. I can’t even imagine walking into a dark apartment building like that, reminds me of I Am Legend. :) Good for you for being brave!

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Catherine November 1, 2012 at 10:44 am

Wow, that is SO scary. My house flooded four years ago, and I still cringe in horror whenever I think about people going through that. I’m so glad your stuff was all ok. Thank you for the update – and please let us all know how you’re doing in the next few days!

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Katie @ Mizz Sunshine November 1, 2012 at 10:44 am

Glad to hear you are well and that you survived the storm! Hope things are better soon and you can return to that better lit hallway! I wouldn’t stay alone without my phone service either. Darkness sure, no phone? Not a chance! I enjoyed your novel! :-)

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Deauna November 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

I’m sooooo sorry for your hotel experience. We’re the same in having a problem asking for help. I would have been a wreck too in the lobby.

However, I’m glad you have somewhere to stay and friends who are there when you need them. I hope you’re back in your own bed as soon as possible!

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Cecilia November 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

important thing is your safe and hopefully everyone in NYC and NJ

hang in there ms. jessica

we’ll include you and everyone to our prayers

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Cecilia November 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

we’ll include you and everyone in our prayers……..

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Agi November 1, 2012 at 11:17 am

Oh Jessica, I was thinking about you and hoping that you were safe. Your post brings tears to my eyes and chills in my spine. I watched it all in horror on tv. It’s absolutely awful. Those pictures are chilling. Thankfully your place is ok and hopefully they can get the city up and running soon.

Your tale of finding a hotel is so sad and scary and thankfully you found a friend you could stay with. I hope you get reimbursed by all of them, including Expedia. Good luck, stay safe and keep your chin up.

Agi:)

vodkainfusedlemonade.wordpress.com

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Sarah November 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

I found your “novel” interesting. lol Thanks for sharing!

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Rachelle November 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

I’m happy your ok and I’m so sad for you. I can totally relate to not wanting to get help but thank God for great friends. Most importantly you are ok and that’s all that matters.
xo
Rachelle
http://pinksole.com

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Samantha Penner November 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

I am so sorry for your experience. What a frustrating and scary time that must have been. I am glad you are safe, though.

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Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection November 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

So glad that you are ok!! I’m definitely keeping you and all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy in my thoughts. I hope everything returns to normal as soon as possible!

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Chelsea November 1, 2012 at 11:41 am

Very glad to see you survived! I had a similar issue with Expedia last week, and like you will NEVER be dealing with them EVER again! Glad to see I wasn’t alone on that one! Also, if it hasn’t already started working, your phone should be back in service shortly. I heard on the radio this morning that AT&T and T-Mobile are teaming up in affected areas, so whichever’s towers are available your phone will be able to use :)

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Ellen November 1, 2012 at 11:44 am

Jessica! Very interesting post, thank you for taking the time to write it from wherever in the world you may be now. I still feel awful for you and wish you were in Chicago. :)

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Chantel November 1, 2012 at 11:57 am

Thanks for sharing your story with us. I am glad you made it safely through the storm and I pray your power (and hot water) is restored very soon :)

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Megan November 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I have been thinking about all of you new yorkers this week! It’s definitely quite the week you’ve had but glad you made it out safe and sound!

Megan
budgetfashion101.blogspot.ca

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Leanne November 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Wow! I am glad you are ok!! I live in the financial district so I lost power right away too on Monday night. It is very eerie walking around Manhattan with no power, and I am so glad you have friends to stay with! I am the same way with hating to ask people for help, but I know if I were in the situation of having an apt with power I would definitely be more than happy to host people who don’t have power for as long as they need!

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Jessica November 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm

That’s a great way to look at it! I would be more than willing, too.

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Sam November 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm

You retold the story so well! I think you should be super proud of yourself for how well you’ve handled this situation. Having to leave your apartment during your first hurricane in a city that’s still pretty new to you is scary, but you have confronted it with courage and determination. Despite the circumstances, it’s been fun spending time together, and we were more than happy to take you in! xo

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Vanessa November 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

That is CRAZY!! I would have been crying my ass off too. Glad to hear that you’re safe and ok.

Xx,
Vanessa

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Lindsay November 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

You poor thing! If you ever need a place to stay, we’d be happy to help. We’re in Brooklyn, but still. I’m so sorry you had to go through this alone!

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Anneke Hildebrand November 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm

SO glad you are okay. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

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Christi November 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

So glad you and your apartment are ok! Stay safe!

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Suzy November 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Hi Jessica,
I am so so sorry about what is happening, and your being displaced from your home in the aftermath of Sandy. My parents have a home in Margate, NJ and haven’t been able to even get on the island. Their home in PA was without power until this morning. I certainly hope that the power gets restored quickly so you can at least go home.

As for hotels – always go to the check in counter as soon as you arrive, regardless of the time. If you let them know you are there, and there is a room clean and ready, they’ll check you in. Sometimes they will check you in, and hold your bags until your room is ready. And you are correct – never trust Expedia, etc. especially last minute. And even if you do use one of these services, always call and confirm with the hotel yourself. I know of several friends – some even traveling internationally, who did not have a room when they got there.

Keeping you and all of the storm affected families in my thoughts and prayers. Keep us updated if you can!

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diana November 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I can’t even imagine what that was like. My heart is breaking for NYC right now. So glad to hear you’re safe!! x

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Michelle November 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm

So happy to hear your okay. Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. I can only imagine how scary it would be to be wandering a dark city with no idea of where you’re going to stay. Stupid Expedia, never using them again after hearing about your experience. Anyways, I’m the same way when it comes for asking for help, I hate the thought of inconveniencing others but I’m so glad to hear you found a friend to help you out! Sending prayers to the East Coast.

xo Michelle

Fierce & Fashionable

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Carly November 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Oy vey! Sounds like quite the adventure. I too would have broken down and cried…although you made it a lot longer than I think I would have!

I was supposed to come to the city this weekend, looks as though that won’t be happening after all. I read they’re hoping to have a lot of power restored by this Saturday, crossing my fingers for you!

xo,
http://www.carlyonqueue.blogspot.com

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Nicole G November 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Whew, Jessica! What a nightmare! Glad you are safe and that your apartment, although without power, seems to have made it through the storm ok. Hopefully you will get back to your apt soon and things can get somewhat back to normal.

Thoughts and prayers for NYC and all those in other cities and states affected by Sandy.

Take care,
Nicole

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Kellie November 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

hey girl, I’m happy to hear you’re ok. Same thing here- no power, no heat, and absolutely no water. Been hopping from friends apartment to friends apartment with my boyfriend, in search of some light and a shower. We finally decided to just pay the cab fare and treck out to Brooklyn to stay with his cousin and girlfriend, since they have power and warm water. NYC is honestly the scariest place right now.

Let’s get together for that drink (or MANY drinks) when everything is back to somewhat normal!

xoxo Kellie

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Stacey November 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I’m glad to hear you’re safe after your adventures, I would have broken down long before you did! I hope you get to move back to your apartment soon!

xoxo
Stacey

Five Minute Style 

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Katie Cramer November 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I may have shed a few tears while reading this. I feel so bad for all that is going on over there. I ‘m glad you are safe & have a place to stay!
xoKatie

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Belinda November 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I am glad you are ok!

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AJ November 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm

MY GOODNESS!! I’m so glad to hear you are safe! I hope your power comes back soon. I lost power for a week once and it was terrible. Thank goodness for friends!

-AJ
FitTravelerAJ.blogspot.com

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Sam B. November 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I’m so glad you (and your apartment!) are okay! I’m from New Orleans and have been through one-too-many hurricanes, but I CANNOT IMAGINE having to evacuate/make plans whilst living in a relatively new city… alone!

MAD PROPS to you. Pretty sure you’ve earned your right to a nice, still drank by now. That is, after all, the way we Southerners get through a hurricane ;)

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Sam B. November 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm

umm typo above! make that a stiff* drink*

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Natalia November 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Hi Jessica!

I’m glad to know your are safe and your friends are helping you. I also live in NYC but in Queens. I understand your stress because it was an insane event (my first hurricane too.)

I’ve been waking up at 3:30 am to start my “odyssey”: three hours to get to Manhattan and three hours to get out (2 buses + walking a lot both ways.) I’m physically exhausted but so grateful that my family and I still alive (the ceiling of the tiny attic apartment I share with one of my sisters was literally being sucked up by the wind.) I know after this experience I won’t take anything for granted. Ever.

Thank you for sharing your story and I truly hope things get “back to normal” soon.

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Jordan Skiles November 1, 2012 at 11:55 pm

So glad you are okay but I hate to hear of all the mess you’ve gone through. Praying for you and for the entire city.

xo, Jordan
opal-and-violet.blogspot.com

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Gabrielle November 2, 2012 at 1:19 am

I can’t even imagine how terrifying it would be to experience a disaster like this all alone in a new city; I hope you get to go home SOON! Thinking of you from the west coast!

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KATE November 2, 2012 at 9:11 am

Stay SAFE and well – you are a trooper! What an experience this is; your story is one of millions and telling it has made it very “real” to me. You are fortunate and grateful – a good combo right now!

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Ashley Laurel November 2, 2012 at 11:03 am

I read your blog ALL the time and so you’re one of the many people I thought of when I heard the first news about NYC. I’m so glad you’re safe. Stay strong!

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Amy November 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I am so glad that you are okay. That sucks that it has been such a headache for you but I am really glad you are safe! Here’s to hoping you get power back soon!

xo

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Sarah November 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm

SO glad to hear you are okay and that nothing was damaged. I thought your story was super interesting. This hurricane has affected the entire nation, to some degree, but obviously not like the people who had to go through it! It was nice to hear things from your perspective.

p.s. I hope you get your power back on soon! <3

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Maria November 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Oh my goodness, Jessica. I’m so proud of you for going through this and looking on the bright side. Please know that I’ve been thinking of you and everyone else in NYC. Can’t wait to be able to go back and give you the biggest hug.

xoxo,
Maria

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Lindsay November 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Gosh, this is all so unbelievable! My heart goes out to you and everyone affected by Sandy. Glad you are safe and found a place to stay but what a mess! Hope you and your city are back on it’s feet soon! :)

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Kim November 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Glad you are safe! That sounds like an awful couple of days. I live in NJ, most of my good friends homes were very badly flooded and destroyed. Thankfully I have heat and power here where I am. Haven’t had to work since Monday though, my work is STILL without power and not expected to get it back until next week! If you need to venture into NJ, you’re always welcome to crash! Got a few people here now :) lol. Hope you make it home soon!
-Kim

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Grace - Stripes & Sequins November 4, 2012 at 1:24 am

Oh Jessica what a mess! I can relate although we were lucky to not be in Zone A. The hotel situation was such a debacle. We tried booking ours online as well and it was a nightmare. As was calling practically every hotel in the city. Ugh. I hope your power is back on soon and that you get your money back! Thinking of you. xo

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