Hurricane Sandy

Snapshots from Hurricane Sandy

November 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm , by

As the Northeast hunkers down for another difficult storm today, we wanted to share some pictures we snapped this past week during Hurricane Sandy. LHJ staffers were pretty lucky. We’re all safe, back at work and most of us have power (keyword: most). New York City is crawling back toward normal, but we’re not there yet. So many of our neighbors are without electricity and heat. We’re still cleaning up and assessing the damage. Worst of all, lots of people lost their homes and some even lost their lives.

If you’d like to help, check out these great organizations working to restore New York, New Jersey and other places along the East Coast that are still suffering and make a donation if you can. Share your own experiences or ways to help in the comments.

American Red Cross The Red Cross has 5,400 workers and 250 shelters spread from Virginia to Rhode Island. Donate online or text REDCROSS to 90999.
Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund Tireless New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat established a relief fund of their own to restore the hardest-hit areas in New Jersey.
United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund United Way has set up its own fund to help disaster areas with teams of volunteers and lots of supplies all along the Eastern Seaboard.
The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief You can donate directly to New York City’s recovery with an online donation or find in-person volunteer opportunities if you’re in the New York-area and want to help out.

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

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LHJ's health editor Julie Bain believes in being well prepared! Here she tests the batteries on her headlamp before the storm. She lost power at her place in Manhattan on Monday, October 29, and the lights came back on Friday night, November 1. The headlamp was great for walking up and down pitch-black stairwells, leaving her hands free. Read Julie's other lessons for storm preparedness here.

7 Things I Learned From Hurricane Sandy

November 1, 2012 at 10:58 am , by

Still no power in my neighborhood in Manhattan—including cell service. But I’m lucky I can walk to my office uptown, which does have power. I feel like I was very well prepared for Hurricane Sandy, but I still figured out a few things I could do better next time.

1. Take your batteries out of their packages before the storm. I had plenty of spare batteries, but when the power actually did go out, the big flashlight I had within reach became dim very quickly. I sorta panicked. I found the new D batteries, but they were in that hard plastic clamshell packaging that you need a chainsaw to open. I found some scissors and hacked away at in the near blackness, cursing loudly and nearly cutting my finger off in the process. (Reminder: make sure your first-aid kit is fully stocked!) I suggest putting all your spare batteries, sorted by size, in zipper bags in a kitchen drawer.

2. Keep an old-fashioned phone that plugs directly into the wall. The only reason I keep paying for my land line every month is for occasions like this: storms and power outages. My plug-in cordless phones don’t work without electricity, so I keep an old plug-in corded model in a kitchen drawer near the phone jack. As soon as the power went out I plugged that baby in and called my sister. Since the cell signal also went out in my area, it was my only link to the outside world and I was grateful to have it.

3. Buy a headlamp. A relative gave me one in my Christmas stocking last year, but I’d forgotten about it. I discovered it right before the storm and was so glad I did. It was comfortable and perfect for reading after dark. Also for getting down the pitch-black stairwell of my building, hands free.

4. Don’t panic about the toilet. I had filled numerous buckets for manual flushing, but I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough if the outage lasted long. My brother gave me a great tip: If your toilet no longer has water, you can line it with a small trash bag, use it and when necessary, tie it up and put it in the trash. For some reason, that gave me great comfort.

5. Wash your produce before the storm. I had gone to the farmer’s market on Saturday and bought a bunch of lovely fresh fruits and veggies. But I didn’t think to wash them and put them away ready to cook. My gas stove is still working but my bottled water supply is precious. I didn’t want to waste a bunch of expensive (and heavy to carry up nine flights of stairs) bottled water to wash my Brussels sprouts. I should have planned ahead.

6. Clean out the freezer. I removed most of my perishables and threw them away yesterday before they started getting stinky. But I didn’t think to remove the frozen spinach. And let me warn you, frozen spinach leaks giant puddles of green water. I sopped up pools of it this morning. Even if perishables feel cool, it’s best to throw them away. Bacteria can grow at relatively low temps, so don’t take a chance with dangerous pathogens.

7. Buy your favorite comfort foods. I heard from so many friends on Facebook about the foods they were cooking before and during the storm and how much comfort they brought. Believe me, no one was craving steamed broccoli. It was all about pasta, cheese, bread, cookies, cupcakes. I was glad I’d bought my favorite spicy organic ginger cookies. They soothed my nervous tummy. I had plenty of wine on hand, too. A crisis is not the time to go on a diet; you can do that after the power is restored.



Update From LHJ In Sandy’s Aftermath

October 31, 2012 at 11:23 am , by

The photo above is from yesterday on Third Avenue in my neighborhood where the power is out. Lines were out the door at the one bodega open—lit by candles! The only traffic was a convoy of National Guard vehicles.

Hello from New York in the wake of Sandy! It’s been a stressful few days, but as usual, New Yorkers are tough and resourceful. A handful of us who could walk are here at the LHJ office today. Others who couldn’t get in are working from home, if they have power.

I live downtown where the power went off Monday night about 8 pm and I’ve been playing Pioneer Woman since then. It was fascinating to walk north this morning from No-Man’s-Land to the Promised Land—the land of milk and honey and hot coffee. And heat and internet access and cell service and toilets that flush. It does remind me how delicate and vulnerable our infrastructure is, and that we cannot take it for granted. That’s my deep thought for the day.

Meanwhile, I need to find a hair salon since it’s been awhile since I had a shower. (I had smart advice from a Gulf Coast relative experienced at hurricanes: buy organic baby wipes for basic cleaning while the shower is not an option.) I’ve been asked to fill in on the Today Show tomorrow, so good hair is important. I’ll be taping a segment on Germs that will run on Friday in the always fun and wacky Hoda and Kathie Lee hour. Tune in if you can!