Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the force of water

Twenty years ago I lived in Rowayton, CT, a little shoreline town about 40 miles from NY, when a powerful Nor-easter rolled through. It was December, I was married but my husband went off to work that morning. I remember watching the tide come in- rolling down my street, carrying everything in sight along with it. It was terrifying. The basement filled immediately and I stood at the basement stairs watching the water creep higher and higher, ultimately stopping maybe an inch or two below the floorboards of the house. Electricity was shut off to the area to prevent fires from electrical panels, it was cold and we were newbies so we had no generator or pump. My husband waded down the street to get home and the water was chest high. Ultimately there was extensive damage to the basement but it was covered by insurance. It was uncomfortable and a pain, but we were lucky.

Of course all this came back to me this week, seeing the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. No one expected the flooding that occurred. People had put things a few feet off the ground, but in many cases it wasn't enough. Photos that I saw were shocking, and I was glued to CNN and Facebook for hours. The loss of life is horrible, in many cases could have been prevented. But what to say about the entire neighborhood of Chelsea galleries, many of which suffered terrible damage, thousands of dollars of art lost, besides damage to their offices- and the artists whose studios were under water, in some cases from the miserable Newtown Creek between Greenpoint and Long Island City, work lost, toxic chemicals from the creek permeating everything. My heart goes out to all who will have many sad hours cleaning up and repairing, and getting used to the losses.

You can read about it here and see the shocking photos.