The show must go on. Except when it can’t. You know if Broadway shuts down, things are very bad.
As I’ve sat glued to news coverage of Hurricane Sandy and it’s aftermath, I’ve been trying to think for the past few days about what I could say that would not seem self serving. I truly love New York. It’s where I grew up, it’s where the majority of my family and friends live and it’s still the place I consider ‘home’. Whenever disaster strikes, I feel an overwhelming sadness for what the victims are experiencing. This time, it was a little different. Because I have so many connections to every place that was affected, it really hit home for me. My loved ones are going through something I can’t even imagine. For some, it’s their worst nightmare. I have family and friends on Long Island, in Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Hoboken, Long Beach Island, other parts of New Jersey and other states and areas that were affected. Everyone I had the opportunity to connect with has either lost power or has trees down. One friend lost her home (along with everything she owns) in the fires. As the Facebook updates decrease daily, I know their cell phones have died and now they can’t communicate. As long as I was hearing from them, there was a sense of comfort that they are ok, but now, I don’t know and it’s unnerving. I’m sad that they must feel so isolated. And I’m sad that instead of getting to celebrate Halloween with their kids, they were just trying to get through another day. I’m having a hard time focusing on anything else and it was hard to celebrate Halloween, but I did it to protect the innocence of my own child, as I’m sure most of you did as well.
I had just decided last week to take a trip to NY this winter. I need to walk down the bustling streets, see the lights of Broadway and have a decent slice of pizza and a great bagel. But, more than that, I need to see my friends and my family who I haven’t seen in so long. I want to get out to Long Island to show my husband and son where I grew up and to visit friends who live there. I went to college on Staten Island, vacationed on Long Beach Island with my grandmother every summer and I lived in Queens with my grandmother and great grandparents. Then I moved to New York City, where I gained my independence and became an adult. Every part of my childhood and young adult life has been flooded with this storm. But, through those places, I have amazing memories and experiences which have made me the person I am today.
I’ve said ‘how much more can New York take?’, but New York is resilient. I know it’s been said, but people who live there are made of something special. There is a quiet strength that runs through that city and it’s like no place else on earth.
So, to my friends and family who can read this, know that there is so much concern and caring for what you are going through right now. It’s a helpless feeling being here and not there; an eerily similar one to post 9-11. It is difficult to witness, so I can’t even imagine what it feels like to be living it. I am thinking about each and every one of you, sending love and light and wishing you strength to get through this very difficult time. My heart truly goes out to you all.
I see things are slowly starting to open back up and Broadway shows will reopen tonight. That gives me hope, but we can’t forget the physical and emotional damage that will linger on. Life goes on as normal for a lot of us, but for many, it is still dark and cold and gas is sparse. Business owners need to rebuild, and for those who have lost everything, they need to restore their life.
If you want to help, you can volunteer your time, give blood or donate to Red Cross.
Please feel free to share your experience with the storm here.