The lights went out in my apartment in Marine Park on Monday evening. My grandmother, who lives in a high-rise on Neptune Avenue and West 5th Street, lost power and water Sunday evening. For the first two nights, I complained about the loss of power; it was not until Wednesday morning that the full scale of the hurricane unfolded itself to me. I learned that a girl I attended high school with had died in the hurricane – she was struck by a falling tree. I looked at photos of Breezy Point, Queens, where over a hundred homes were destroyed in a fire. The photos had an uncanny resemblance to Berlin after World War II.
That same Wednesday afternoon, my mother went to pick up my grandmother. Together, they walked down eighteen flights of steps with flashlights in hand. The drive there and back was a bit harrowing, as my mother recounted to me. Traffic lights were out along street corridors in Marine Park, including at major intersections like Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U.
For the past several days, I have watched through my bedroom window the endless stream of cars, standing for hours, bumper to bumper, along Avenue T, waiting to refill their gas tanks. This past Friday afternoon, I took a walk through the park and observed full-grown trees upturned at the roots and lying sideways, defeated by the hurricane. Luckily, power was restored to our home as of Friday night, but others have not been as fortunate.