It’s 4:30 am in New York, where I’m spending three nights before heading to Belgium for a conference later this week. New York’s not exactly on the way from Adu Dhabi to Antwerp, I know, but I have a long list of things that need tending to here and had planned for the last couple months to make this trip. I almost didn’t follow through: until Friday there was no power at the hotel I’d booked, and with so much recovery still in force I felt like I’d just be in the way. But it was nice to walk around the East Side a little last night, just to make sure it was still here. Did you see this video?
There’s a lot that’s not still here, of course. Unable to sleep for the last couple hours, my body still nine hours ahead in spite of the fact that I didn’t sleep at all on the plane, I’ve spent a little too much time reading about the hurricane and the election. Here are a few updates/links to recommend:
Both the buildings we lived in over the last ten years were affected. NYU evacuated our building on Broome Street when it became clear that the power outage meant no fire safety system. 6,000 students total were moved from NYU dorms in the aftermath of the storm, though apparently most buildings are back open and school resumes today. (I visited a friend at Broome Street last night and all was well there.) Speaking of schools reopening, I would not want to be a public school students at one of the many locations that served as storm shelters.
Our old building at the seaport, the Times reports, is among those still closed to residents. I’m going down in the afternoon to visit Jason at Fresh Salt, which was hit hard, as was the Seaport Museum, which is still looking for volunteers and donations to help clean up. There’s something heartwarming about people rallying to save historic type:
The real recovery, however, is ongoing at the Rockaways, on Staten Island, and in New Jersey. (Oh, and Haiti.) Who knew that lessons learned in Zuccotti would make Occupy the most effective force in Sandy recovery in the New York neighborhoods hit hardest? (If you only read one thing I link to, have it be the first of those Occupy links.)
The forecast for this week is not great. Noreaster. Snow. More flooding in the Rockaways. Sub-freezing temperatures tonight with lots of elderly residents in high rise housing on the Lower East Side and Coney Island still waiting for their heat to come back.
It apparently got pretty cold at a Romney fundraiser in PA, too, where his staffers allegedly refused to let the crowd leave — even people with freezing children.
The bigger Romney stories, though, have to do with his auto industry profiteering (he made $15m on the bailout) and the revelation that from 1996-2009 he used a “charitable remainder unitrust” loophole that allowed him to mooch off the LDS Church’s tax-exempt status. As Daily Kos reads is, “along with foreign tax credits and deferred capital gains losses, Mitt Romney was theoretically able to pay zero taxes (legally) every single year from 1996 to 2009.” Instead, he actually made money by paying his tithing. Tithing pays, kids!