Hurricane Irene in Manhattan – The Aftermath

Sunday Morning

Don’t walk away Irene….

Bonus points for Sam Roberts fans who get the slight (and lame) reference.

Well, here is how I can best summarize my thoughts on Hurricane Irene’s media hype:

a) Thank goodness that it was not a real storm because from my observations, so many people were not taking the warnings seriously.

b) After watching the coverage of Hurricane Irene on television and in person (the network news teams who covered the waterfront pier in Wall Street), I can confirm that I will never be a broadcast journalist. Seriously. A five-year-old girl did a better job reporting than some of the monotonous network broadcasters.

c) The journalist in me was incredibly disappointed with the non-story that Hurricane Irene turned out to be in Manhattan.

Now, I realize that for many people across the East Coast, the hurricane was a real story, especially for the families of people who died. No one can ever trivialize that kind of disaster.

In Lower Manhattan, however, Irene was nothing more than a windy rainstorm. I saw clips of the flooding in Battery Park, but Wall Street was relatively left untouched except for some debris on the ground and some property damage.

Water and Wall Streets, after Hurricane Irene

I noticed by 9am that the sky was less cloudy and the heavy rain had stopped. I went outside around 10am to see if there was any damage to the area, particularly since Mayor Bloomberg stressed for people to evacuate Lower Manhattan.

On the waterfront pier, there were equal parts of network news reporters and curious onlookers hoping to find themselves in the camera’s path.

No floods, no serious damage. The journalist in me was just so sad. Journalists are news vultures – we are always scouring the city to find the latest information so we can be the first to present it to the public.

Alas, in Lower Manhattan there was nothing interesting to find. People were biking, walking their dogs, and taking pictures of the East River, which had risen and was slightly choppy.

Multitasking at the waterfront - Lower Manhattan

Some in summer clothes, others in rain gear the morning after Hurricane Irene - Lower Manhattan

Drinking coffee on the waterfront pier the day after Hurricane Irene - Lower Manhattan

Sunday Afternoon

After leaving Wall Street, I decided to walk up Broadway back to my brownstone apartment. My iPhone Google map estimated the walk to be about two hours and some odd minutes. I know, I know, but the subways were closed and Columbia does not pay for taxis, so what’s a girl to do. [ed. note: By the time I reached 5th Ave and 59th Street, I just had to take a taxi. Cannot emphasize how tiring that walk was.]

Here are some shots from my walk up on Broadway:

Near the Flatiron District

Somewhere in Lower Manhattan, south of Chinatown

Somewhere south of Chinatown

Even with MTA shutdown, people still needed to move around somehow - NoHo

Signs of normalcy after Irene as people gather for brunch - NoHo

As I walked up Broadway, I realized that most of the people on the streets were tourists. Many of them seem unfazed by all the media hype this weekend. Or perhaps they were just used to heavy rainstorms. Who knows.

Anyways, I just wanted to provide my personal experience of Hurricane Irene’s impact in Manhattan. It was not as fearsome as depicted by CNN and the network channels. Regardless, it was a fierce storm and the city was right to take precaution because who knows what could have happened.

What I did find interesting is how out of the loop most of the tourists seemed to be. Maybe the city needs to change of its emergency plans so that it can communicate with tourists who do not speak English as a first language.

For more coverage of Hurricane Irene, please check out and, which are both set up by fellow Columbia j-students.

Good riddance, Irene. And if it’s not asking too much, could you stay clear of Canada? Thanks.


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