It's nice to live near the water. People love it. Cities pop up near the water, civilizations begin around it, and a lot of property near water carries a premium.
However, there is a down side, as most of Manhattan knows, and those of us on Long Island's south shore were reminded, with a vengeance, Monday night. We ran away, like chickens, to my sister in law's house. But my stalwart neighbors who remained mostly regret doing so.
My mother in law was pretty freaked out by the prospect of the storm, and spending it with no news or electricity, so she got the bright idea of going to a hotel. My wife then picked up on it, and I said there was no way we would find anything. But within moments I found rooms at the Hampton Inn in Garden City, a little pricey at $199, but what the hell, if we could avert mom-in-law having a heart attack, it seemed worth it.
So on we went, a caravan stuffing into two rooms. Within an hour, the hotel had lost power. Did they have an emergency generator? No. No hotel has one. Except the Hyatt, right next door did, and it was easy to see because their wifi channel never went out. All our hotel had was some way to keep the exit signs lit until it got dark, and then it was on you to wander up and down the stairs if, like me, you were curious and stupid enough to want to see what was outside. Hotel staff kindly provided flashlights when it was finally light out. Almost certainly we'd have been better off staying at a shelter.
Next day, back home, my wife stayed at sister-in-law's house. Intrepid daughter and I decided to try to visit the old home place. We were able to drive right up to the corner you see, where the crazy guy on the motorcycle, our neighbor, had no problem whizzing through the water. I had reservations about my car, so daughter and I went back to get rubber boots, which proved no match for the water.
We met two Newsday reporters who photographed us and told us they were taking picture of family photos in the water. Imagine my surprise when I saw my own baby pictures out there. Apparently we'd had a bag of old photos in the garage, which the storm decided not only to open, but to rip through entirely.
Our neighbors, who hadn't evacuated but wished they had, told us the flood had hit six feet where we were, enough to inundate our ground floor and run a foot of water through the living room, kitchen, and dining room of our split level. Looks like we'll need a new washer, dryer, hot water heater, gas furnace, refrigerator, and perhaps dishwasher and stove. Won't know until electric is turned on, Saturday AM at earliest. Actually our town has its own electric company, which could turn electric on, but is afraid houses may blow up or something if it does.
Meanwhile, we're camped out with sister-in-law, who probably won't get electricity for over a week. I wonder if Mayor Bloombucks will open schools tomorrow. I feel lucky to have bought gas on Sunday, because lines in the handful of gas stations open in our area were all the way down the block at 7:30 AM. I shudder to think what they're like now.
John King was the most unpopular commissioner in the history of NY State. He showed no respect for parents, teachers or student privacy. Ironically, he was intent on protecting his own privacy, and routinely withheld public documents; our Freedom of Information request of his communications with inBloom and the Gates foundation is more than 1 ½ years overdue. His resignation is good news for New York state; hopefully he will be unable to do as much damage at the US Department of Education.