Hurricane Sandy: And That’s When the Lights Went Out…

Let me start by saying that my heart goes out to everyone whose lives have been damaged by Sandy. I feel extremely lucky to not have been affected beyond a few minor inconveniences, and thankful to work with some amazing people working very hard to keep our CBS Radio stations live.

Here’s how my week has been going:

Sunday: Bossman emails suggesting I get a car service to work on Monday and book a hotel. I’m no fan of car services. They can be unreliable, their rates are crazy, and even though the company will reimburse for emergency situations, I want to keep costs low. I figure I’ll get a cab, wait on the hotel booking, and see if there’s any chance of getting home to Brooklyn when I get off the air at 8PM.

Monday: I pack my GO BAG with two changes of clothes, my enormous flashlight, a few protein snack bars, toothbrush, a LOT of beer, and some other stuff. I get a cab outside my place in Brooklyn within seven minutes despite the fact that the weather is getting crazy. I get to work two hours early.

I get on the air as usual at 3PM. We are giving updates from 1010 WINS every hour, advising people to stay indoors and safe, while continuing the music and prizes. I can’t remember the exact time Bloomberg announces that the bridges would be closing at 7, but obviously I then scramble to book a hotel. The two hotels down the block from the station are fully booked. No problem, I’ll stay at the Sheraton on Canal St. And look, it’s half the price! But, it’s a ten minute walk. Will I die during this ten minute walk? Will Hudson Street be just like the Hudson River by 8PM? I don’t know.

8PM I get off the air. As soon as I step out of the building, I see downed trees and winds are crazy. Uh, yeah. I’m not going to walk even ONE block. Within two minutes, I see a cab. I flag him down and I’m at the hotel in like five minutes. The lobby is packed full of people in long lines waiting for food, getting drinks at the bar, using computers. All I want to do is get to my room, drink beer, and eat Chinese food. Luckily, I had picked up enough for lunch and dinner before work.

I check in, and somehow I’m a “preferred guest.” Don’t ask me how. The lady tells me I’m getting a complimentary upgrade to a 19th floor room with an Empire State Building view. Awesome!

[Photos] Hurricane Sandy As Seen By Dylan

I get to the room, turn on CBS2HD to monitor the situation, crack a beer, and do the hotel room bedbug check. All good. I’m relaxed, taking photos of the view and facebooking with friends.

I’m not quite sure how long it was before I saw the explosion from the window. It looked like an alien invasion. I thought “that’s definitely not lightning.” Someone captured it on video from Williamsburg Brooklyn, you can watch the video HERE.

Boom. Lights go out. I’m all “oh, s@*#!” I look out the window and see it’s the whole neighborhood. The Empire State Building and Midtown is still all lit up. I grab my flashlight and keep drinking. My phone surprisingly worked for a good amount of time, so I was able to keep up with friends and what their situations were. The cell towers probably had backup power for a few hours, because the next morning you could NOT get a call out in Lower Manhattan.

Tuesday: Obviously there’s still no power or water. The hotel had generator power keeping the lobby, hallways, and elevators running, but nothing in the rooms. Might as well check out and go to work.

I walk the ten minutes to work, observing some damage, still unaware of what was going on in Jersey and Long Island. I touch a payphone! When was the last time that happened? Yes, they are working. I get to the building, pleased to see that they had one elevator running. Our amazing chief engineer Rob Bertrand had made a pancake breakfast for everyone. We’re still giving hourly updates from the 1010 WINS newsroom. Jessica Ettinger is awesome.

When I get off the air at 8, I’m disappointed to encounter some corrupt cabbies. I had to tell four of them to go screw. Flat fare this, meter broken that, cash only….only true scum of the earth tries to take advantage of emergency situations. The fifth cab is legit, and I tip 30%. Trolls never win with me.

On Wednesday and Thursday I walk to work from my place in Greenpoint. It’s a pleasant hour and twenty minute walk, but obviously I’m joined by many others on the Williamsburg Bridge, what with the subway tunnels under the East River still out of commission.

Lower Manhattan is basically a ghost town. On my way to work on Thursday, I take a few photos of how eerie things are. Most businesses are closed. A few bars and restaurants are operating with candlelight, a limited menu, grills and generators. Many of the residents are likely staying with friends who have power, because the streets are EMPTY. I saw a bicyclist hit by a car. I would NOT attempt to ride a bicycle in Lower Manhattan while the traffic lights are down. I would never ride a bicycle ANYWHERE without a helmet. Always wear a helmet! It’s your HEAD!

New York City, really the entire tri-state area, is resilient. We’re tough. We have been through worse. We will get through this.

A big THANK YOU to everyone working hard to restore services, and best of luck to you and your family if you’re going through hard times during this mess.

Dylan, Fresh 102.7

More Sandy Photos:

More Sandy Content:



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