It isn’t very often that a storm knocks out power in Manhattan, but Hurricane Sandy packed a punch and managed to cause a power outage that affected lower Manhattan, among many other areas. A few businesses here and there put generators to use so they could continue operating, but by and large things were very dark.
I decided to venture out with my camera to see what I could come up with in terms of a dramatic contrast between those areas in lower Manhattan without power, and the areas from midtown north that still had power.
It was creepy, to say the least. But I think what was most eerie about the experience was the knowledge that while Manhattan was dealing with an unusual power outage, many other areas nearby were dealing with extensive destruction.
There was something to be said for the resilience of many people. I’ve seen many examples of compassion and caring. I’ve seen countless individuals and businesses making power available to those who needed to charge laptops and mobile phones so they could stay in contact with friends and loved ones. I found more than a few businesses in the blacked out area that managed to get power, and while no doubt interested in earning income to keep their business in business, they were also clearly focused on trying to help the community. It seemed to me that those businesses were a bright spot in more ways than one.
I had intended to photograph the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center, since lights had been restored there while most of the rest of lower Manhattan was still dark. But it seemed all the good vantage points featured the headlights of cars causing too much glare to get the shot I was after. So instead I captured some video that attempted to show what it was like driving in a darkened city with no traffic control at all.
I was surprised at how smoothly traffic flowed considering the circumstances. But nagging at my mind was the knowledge that there were others very nearby who were dealing with far more challenging circumstances, and monumentally greater losses.
Below you can see the video I’ve posted to YouTube that shows traffic maneuvering through a darkened lower Manhattan, with the Freedom Tower lit up in the background. Reviewing the video I captured has reminded me that losing power is nothing compared to what others are dealing with.