Subways are running, Metro North and the buses are back up, and most flights were flying back in and out of New York airports. By 4 p.m. Monday, it almost seemed as if the predicted apocalypse of flooding death and destruction and two days of fretting and evacuation and stock piling water and batteries and filling tubs with water didn’t even happen. Folks were enjoying a gorgeous night in Brooklyn and the feeling of Autumn is already in the air.
The city dodged a bullet, as the mayor has said many times. Unfortunately, many suburban areas and Vermont communities were not as lucky, with major flooding and damage from fallen trees in Vermont, New Jersey and Connecticut. More than 30 people died in storm-related incidents, from North Carolina to New England, including a Bronx boater who was apparently checking his boat during the height of the storm, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Sunday morning. Property damage up and down the coast is being estimated as high as $7 billion (though one wonders how much of that figure is aimed at getting reimbursements from insurance companies and the federal government). People are without power, and cars have been smashed by trees all round the East Coast.
Perhaps now we’ve all got our hurricane kits ready to go, for the next time. As for the panic that struck the hearts of many—there’s just no getting around it. When a big storm like Irene heads straight for Gotham, TV is going to love it, and we’re going to be worried silly.
Lots of folks are quoting Howard Kurtz’s article in the Daily Beast slamming cable TV and its round-the-clock mad love for the Hurricane Irene story. Perhaps I’m biased because I’m part of the media. But as far as I’m concerned, there would have been more deaths and injuries if the warnings and coverage wasn’t out there, even if it was, at times, hysterical.