New York, New York

After Sandy They say that the three most important factors in determining the value of a property are “location, location, location.” We’ve certainly learned the truth of that old adage this week. We were among the lucky ones who live in a New York City neighborhood that did not lose electricity. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for many of our friends:

  • Our friends K&R in Greenwich Village have no electricity, heat or water.
  • Our friend MC, who lives in Long Island, cannot use her car because (a) she doesn’t have any electricity to open her garage door and (b) the nearby gas stations don’t have any fuel.
  • Our friend KH in New Jersey is dealing with trees that fell on her property, as well as three kids at home. To make matters worse, she has no electricity and the local schools are closed.
  • Our friend JH’s home on the New Jersey shore was flooded. She says that even the dresser drawers contain water.
  • Our friend PS in Chelsea found shelter with a kind friend — until that friend’s home lost heat and hot water too. Now he’s looking for a way to leave town.

Life after Hurricane Sandy has been one of discovering new flexibility and new limits. Many of us have learned the huge value of working remotely — especially when most of the bridges and tunnels connecting Manhattan to the rest of the world are closed and when subways and commuter trains are out of commission. Face time suddenly becomes less pressing when there are other (virtual) ways of completing the work in a timely fashion. Add to that the fact that some office buildings (like mine) have electricity, but no heat or hot water, and then you begin to appreciate the advantages of working from home

Sandy has also reminded us of the value of staying connected via social media. Texting and Facebook have been lifelines for people trying to contact friends and families in the storm-affected areas. For those of us dealing with the aftermath of the storm, social media has allowed us to help each other with words of encouragement and practical acts of kindness. Friends on Facebook have posted information on subway openings, where to get a free shower or WiFi, and where to find places to charge your electronic devices. Meanwhile, Twitter has been an important source of official news and an essential part of emergency communication plans, according to an article today in The New York Times:

With Hurricane Sandy, public officials and government agencies have embraced social media to a greater degree than ever. For proof, look no further than the Twitter feed of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York: 400 messages on Tuesday, 300 on Wednesday and well over 100 on Thursday, featuring everything from photos of storm surge damage to updates on power restoration.

[…]

Although phone service has been spotty in some places across the Northeast, people with working signals have been reliant on texting and social networking to a degree not seen during previous disasters.

According to Frank Sinatra, New York is the city that never sleeps. But if you take a look at the fantastic photo of Manhattan by Brian Angell that I’ve posted above, you’ll see that a significant part of the city is still dark. Here’s hoping the lights come back to the Big Apple soon.

[Photo Credit: Brian Angell]

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