A town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes
March 30, 2013 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Manhattan loses power and the ghost of Edward Hopper stalks the streets.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:01 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ethereal photos, but my head keeps wandering back to the devastation of the Frankenstorm. The East Cost ignoring Huffpost reports predicting massive damage only to be taken by surprise . . . the flooding in lower Manhattan . . . cars adrift in underground lots . . . Breezy Point . . . a destruction tally to rival Katrina . . . flooding in the tunnels . . . homes bereft of heat through the 2012-13 winter.

Sandy was not to be trifled with.
posted by Gordion Knott at 4:02 PM on March 30, 2013

Amazing fotos. Towns must have been eery places before streetlights.
posted by Jehan at 4:10 PM on March 30, 2013

These are so unnerving (and awesome!) to look at. And I'm not a New Yorker. I'm sure it's even crazier if you're used to the normal views.
posted by aka burlap at 4:15 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some of those pictures are fascinating! The wine store one in particular; the corner wine store here was one of the first stores to open and I remember standing in line for 20 minutes to buy some wine and a few things.

Here in Jersey City I remember- eating a lot of brick oven pizza; having friends who were flooded out sleeping over. A very harrowing drive into Bayonne (a left turn onto 440 and a left turn off of 440 with no functioning traffic lights, which meant everyone was doing about 70 mph) and the impossibility of finding eggs anywhere.

And looking out on several USCG cutters moored in NY Harbor that don't usually come into the harbor, walking around the neighborhood and seeing so many brownstones that had marked with sharpie or paint the "sandy line" that the floodwaters came up to.
posted by lyra4 at 4:27 PM on March 30, 2013

The birds in the meat packing district make that photo the most post-apocalyptic of the lot.

For a view of a blackout on the other coast, here are photos of the San Diego Blackout of 2011 on Flickr and Tumblr.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:33 PM on March 30, 2013

Or as Jon Stewart called darkened downtown NYC; "Little North Korea".
posted by R. Mutt at 4:43 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by gertzedek at 4:51 PM on March 30, 2013

Great photos!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:05 PM on March 30, 2013

Beautiful composition and amazing scenes, but poor technically as photography, in my opinion.
posted by spitbull at 5:07 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Funny, my strongest memories now of Sandy are actually of the snowstorm that came in a few days later and the freezing cold and consequent need to spend hours in gas lines here on Long Island. My neighborhood lost power by mid-evening of the hurricane, though the house on the corner got power back almost immediately because it is on a grid that serves both a hospital and a police station. The loss of power was bad but the darkness was really the least of it. Our neighborhood isn't nearly as interesting as the poster's is, however.

And I don't think we ignored the warnings for the most part. I DO think a lot of people and local governments were completely unprepared for real damage, though. For example, my town lost all ability to use the internet, lost both regular phone and cellphone access, etc. That's poor planning. And the town supervisor is a former FEMA guy. I thought I was prepared with a generator but when it turned so cold and I began sharing it with a neighbor, that meant spending enormous amounts of time trying to buy gas, like 4 hours a day some days. I hope local governments are prepared for the next time but I doubt it. All the noise made on the county level after Sandy and then the snowstorm about requiring gas stations to have generators so they could pump fuel has gone quiet. Nothing's happened.
posted by etaoin at 5:24 PM on March 30, 2013

Masterful work. For a blackout, the man sure understood how to use the almost unavailable light that was there to his best advantage. Striking photos.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 6:21 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I bicycled in to my old job and back a couple days during the power outage, it was very eerie. I'm not sure why but I felt like I understood more how a zombie apocalypse would go down.
posted by psychobum at 6:55 PM on March 30, 2013

NYU was not uniformly lit, but it was interesting to see who had serious backup generators – the lobby of the luxury building across the street from our place was brightly lit right through the blackout, and the doorman was ready to fend off marauding neighbors.
posted by nicwolff at 6:56 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is a great FPP, and amazing photos. Thanks for posting!
posted by cribcage at 7:44 PM on March 30, 2013

My father was one of the few that overnighted in Breezy Point, during the fire. There is a lot of discussion about whether/how to rebuild the Point going on.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:57 PM on March 30, 2013

My workplace, in lower Manhattan, was one of the few that kept plugging along on a generator during the storm. I had to walk four miles from Brooklyn every day to get in. Most places were closed, but a few bodegas remained open, selling candy bars and warm soda in the dark. Here's a photo I took on the corner of Spring and Thompson, facing north.

A lot of my Brooklyn friends whose jobs shut down for a week idly wandered into the city in the evenings to experience a Manhattan without power or light, telling me how cool and exciting it was, but I found the whole experience very disorienting and upsetting. It was just a reminder of how fragile all these giant, amazing things that we've built truly are. A reminder of how this monolithic city I live in is not invulnerable.

But it was also a reminder of how much I love New York. Friday night, as I was walking home, the power came back on for a large swath of lower manhattan. All of a sudden street lights and traffic signals and the lights in stores flipped on simultaneously, and a cheer exploded from behind the windows of every apartment on the block. People started pouring out into the streets slapping each other on the back and high-fiving and hugging. I found myself spending the rest of the night taking pictures of illuminated street lights and sending them excitedly to my friends.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:03 AM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'm sure it's even crazier if you're used to the normal views.

I think that's what hits people the most when these types of significant events occur. That something so familiar has becomes alien. Eerie and beautiful.
posted by Fizz at 6:06 AM on March 31, 2013

NYU was most definitely not completely powered up. I can only attest to this after I received a $600 reimbursement check from them after my daughter spent a week in a hotel, because NYU's housing alternative was to offer 12-to-a-room accommodations in one of the few dorms that had power.

Hey, they didn't even contest it.
posted by kinetic at 8:47 AM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Great photos -- totally agree that the first couple blocks of a walk in NoPo were fascinating -- and then more and more scary as it grew darker and darker. And navigating 11 floors of a dark stairwell with a terrified eighty-pound dog is a fabulous workout for the leash arm. Great composition and lighting -- I tried to snap a few with my iPhone at the time, but nothing that came out remotely captured the otherworldliness like these.
posted by ariel_caliban at 9:37 AM on March 31, 2013

Blackout in New Jersey and New York, from the NASA Earth Observatory. Compare with NYC from above, on March 23, 2103 (also from NASA).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:35 AM on April 1, 2013

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