Not a pretty sight
Last year's little earthquake left me shaking, literally. When the building ceased to creak and expand - I felt like a small animal trapped in a great, breathing ribcage - and the pieces of plaster had stopped flaking from walls and faint motes of dust hung in the air, I found that I was trembling.
Last night, in the worst of it, I got very quiet. Minutes after the radio announced that Sandy had been downgraded from a hurricane the wind turned into a new animal. It did not shriek, but became impersonally mechanical, just like the freight train everyone talks about in tornadoes. I had not understood the description till then. Our wonderful, double paned glass sliding door, essentially our eastern wall and source of clear daylight in this tiny apartment, became a menace, shuddering and bulging improbably as each new gust tore out of the east and hit it straight on. The sound was a low, rhythmically shuddering roar. It is the rhythm that is the train, backed by a sense of unstoppable force.
In the lulls I'd occasionally open the door a crack to see if it would ease the pressure and the air would rip in, and with it the smell of electrical burning last experienced in lower Manhattan in the deserted weeks in the aftermath of 9/11. A bad smell.
In the bedroom, things were better. It has only a tiny, high window (illegal if you are a stickler for building code - I believe it is considered inhumane) like a porthole, double-paned too, and when that is shut one feels safe. We contemplated having supper on the bedroom floor. But supper was too good to eat there, and so we ate our pork loin wrapped and roasted in bacon with sage leaves (recipe in link) at this table where I type, while I drank more red wine than I usually would and we began to wax lyrical about other storms and other times, as the wine took hold and its warm bravado seeped into my untested hurricane veins.
We are fine. Our old building is well supported within a row of other old buildings, and our patched roof apparently strong enough to withstand blasts that were reportedly recorded at 100 miles per hour. Even the satellite dishes are still in place. The three oaks across the road are still standing. We live in Cobble Hill, hence we are dry, high above the harbor. There was not much rain.
As to damage - a long aluminum gutter that carries water from the roof above us to the lower, wide gutter that fronts the terrace came loose and its eight feet yawed wildly, held by one rusty screw. Vince had already lassoed it with rope and we hoped it would hold it if it snapped free altogether, a serious flying hazard. In the wee hours a lull allowed me to wrangle it onto the terrace where it could not fly away to impale anyone. This was our only damage.
The roof farm is intact. Not a single pot budged; the taping-together worked. The salad leaves are shredded, of course, but the worst destruction, it is no exaggeration to say, came from the blasted squirrel, who has been frantically burying every fallen acorn since daylight. He has dug up every pot. And he uses the nice, long gutter as a handy slide to access the pots on the terrace.
We were very fortunate. Many others were not. A huge thank you to all first responders who were out in the worst of it. The only sound to relieve the wind was the wail of sirens, without cease.
We'll go out soon, and walk around and look at the world. It is raining steadily, now.