Post-hurricane jet lag reading list blues

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!

Don’t forget to vote. And volunteer or donate if you can.


13 responses to “Post-hurricane jet lag reading list blues”

  1. ssw says:

    well BW, I thought I’d give you a little shout-out since it’s already late afternoon here that says THANKS FOR POSTING THAT!! I can’t wait to read it more carefully (after bedtime!). I’m really glad you get to be there. xx

  2. LP says:

    Wow, Bryan, thanks for the updates on your neighborhood – I have been wondering about Fresh Salt ever since the storm hit, figuring it must have taken quite a blow. Big hugs to Jason when you see him. I wish we could be there to help clean up.

    It was surreal to watch all this unfolding from thousands of miles away – especially since I had just spent three lovely weeks in Hoboken, where I’d never been before, and which was pummeled by the storm and subsequent flooding. RB and I were packing on the Monday the storm hit, which only added to my sense of being unmoored. We sold our house on the East side and the movers came Tuesday to take us back to West Hollywood, something I had desired for a long time but which on Monday night felt so discombobulating in the wake of what was happening to so many friends in New York and DC.

    And add to that the craziness of this election season, the wild ups and downs, the lies and conflicting information… it has been insane the last few weeks, and I just read something this morning that seems even more insane: George Will, among others, is predicting a landslide electoral win for Romney, in the realm of 321-217. Link here. I cannot get over how incredibly broad and deep and vast the gulf is between the “reality” that conservatives in this country see and the reality that liberals see. Romney’s campaign has been so full of lies, and his true character has been so opaque, that it almost feels like this is just a parody of a campaign. And now… George Will has been in this business a very long time, and he is generally a respected voice. How can he predict an outcome that is so completely at odds with nonpartisan polls?

    This is a confusing, sad, anxious-making time. I will be so, so, so glad when this election is over. And we’re finally getting enough boxes unpacked to start to feel kind of at home in our new place. And I can only hope that Fresh Salt, the Seaport Museum, the elderly people still stuck in their high-rises, and the lovely little town of Hoboken will come out of this strong and safe.

  3. LP says:

    To clarify: Whatever anxiety I have felt from this move is truly inconsequential compared to what’s happening to folks back east. Didn’t want it to seem like I was somehow equating the two.

  4. WW says:

    Sending you love and love to Fresh Salt, too. Please tell us how everyone is.

  5. Bryan says:

    Hi, friends. I’ll pass love to Jason and if he grants permission will send some pics they took when they first went back to the bar. It was not pretty at all.

    I should have asked at the end of this post: What are you all reading post-Sandy, election eve? Just in case I can’t sleep again tonight …

  6. T-Mo says:

    BW, I *knew* you’d have something special to post post-Sandy, likely a lot of great reading and resources. I just didn’t know that it would include reportage from NYC. My best to Fresh Salt. When I saw the areas that were flooded I knew that that beloved bar had to have taken a huge hit. May it rise from the muck! And safe travels to Belgium and home to AD.

  7. Rachel says:

    I second T-Mo. Imagining your heart breaking in A.D. is nothing like imagining you seeing it with your own eyes! Tell us more about where you’re staying & how you’re getting around. And safe travels, intrepid voyager.

  8. Bryan says:

    Hey guys. Not pretty at FS. High water was over 6′. Place was gutted today but workers were already replacing sheetrock btwn the bar and the stairwell to the upstairs apts. J says hello & thanks for well wishes. It may take a month to rebuild.

    Rach — I’m getting around mostly by foot. Things seem mostly normal in Little Italy & Village. Not so normal at seaport. Lots of places pumping water and airing out, restaurants cleaning fixtures out on the sidewalk. Lots of trash piles. A mess.

  9. LP says:

    Oh, my god…. how awful! Poor Jason – 6 feet of water?! The stool propped up on the bar must have just floated up there and wedged itself in. Yikes, yikes, yikes. Fingers crossed that recovery will be smooth.

  10. ssw says:

    Ugh-so awful to think about what’s happening in the old hood. fingers crossed is right. The Stationers Shop footage is fantastic-it undoubtedly must take that kind of really detailed support to rescue that type of place-and I’m so glad people showed up. I know there were a lot of Fresh Salt supporters who have offered to come clean up too. So relieved they’ll be moving forward but a month is a wicked long time, especially in bar life. wow. hopefully it will be sooner.

  11. ssw says:

    btw lisa, i don’t think anyone would misread your msgs. you’re one of the most consistent people I know about sending cross-coastal love and support. that piece about being in hoboken for weeks though and then watching it must have been surreal.

  12. swells says:

    Horrible, horrible, horrible. I am so sorry and sad for everyone hit–for everyone everywhere really–and election day anxiety is spiking high, making scenes like this even harder to take. Nice to have a community of people who care about other people–so glad such communities still exist and are growing and making themselves known in these stressful days. Fingers crossed for today’s results, everyone, and let’s stick together!

  13. swells says:

    p.s. bookwise, since you asked: I just read Christie Hodgen’s Elegies for the Brokenhearted and thought it was pretty fantastic in places.