We are lucky to have power, internet access, cell service and water. I would say most of our friends are without at least two of those, and thankfully almost everyone we've checked in with has water. Also getting sporadic reports of landlines being out, but for the most part that seems to remain the most stable piece of infrastructure in a disaster. Where we live (108th & Broadway) it never rained quite as hard as I feared it would, but the wind was whipping fiercely, so fiercely I expected one of our windows to break or blow in. The Hudson was visibly higher and audibly louder than usual. We can actually hear it in our apartment as I write this, which is hard to believe.
In An Oyster in the Storm, Paul Greenberg makes the point that an intact Oyster bed would have helped to lessen the surge of waters that overwhelmed the city:
Until European colonists arrived, oysters took advantage of the spectacular estuarine algae blooms that resulted from all these nutrients and built themselves a kingdom. Generation after generation of oyster larvae rooted themselves on layers of mature oyster shells for more than 7,000 years until enormous underwater reefs were built up around nearly every shore of greater New York.
Just as corals protect tropical islands, these oyster beds created undulation and contour on the harbor bottom that broke up wave action before it could pound the shore with its full force. Beds closer to shore clarified the water through their assiduous filtration (a single oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons of water a day); this allowed marsh grasses to grow, which in turn held the shores together with their extensive root structure.
Regarding Mayor Bloomberg's infamously poor Spanish, I had this exchange with my friend Angela Tucker:
Bloomberg, just get a translator to speak Spanish for you. Come on!— tuckergurl (@tuckergurl) October 30, 2012
@djacobs I know but my concern is that his Spanish is so bad that they might be getting all of the info they need.— tuckergurl (@tuckergurl) October 30, 2012
Like I said, I could go either way! But I will also go on record about "El Bloombito". I understand why people look for humor when they are anxious or afraid, but who can't read those tweets with a sober eye and see some racism? We get it, you don't speak spanish and Bloomberg barely does.
The best source for up-to-the minute news is the Gothamist. I expect the Times & the News to be able to cover the city with reporters & photographers, but what the Gothamist team has been able to view by combining direct reporting, leads off of social media and direct tips is pretty amazing. That's the newsroom of the future, blending twitter, IRC, IM, blogging, phone and shoe leather all at once.
Power & internet are still on over at 29th Street Publishing, but our (mostly Brooklyn-based) team has been working remotely in IRC. I am thankful to be surrounded by my family. Lev has finally figured out Magnatiles!