Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Sunday @ 2p... NY Media's Hysterical Hurricane Hype

Some "major damage" from Irene, posted by Facebook pals.
Anyone wanna buy a flashlight?

That's one of the many sardonic comments from New Yorkers now rolling their eyes over the sensational 48 hours of media hype surrounding Hurricane Irene. I know, I know: Be thankful it wasn't worse, authorities were trying to keep New Yorkers to stay safe. Yeah, I get it.

But I also watched a wall of coverage on local and national networks that used every melodramatic descriptor to keep viewers tuned in—if not frightened—long after it became clear that the worst New York City was going to endure was steady rain and low-lying flooding.

In Mayor Bloomberg's wrap-up press conference, he was asked how the city was going to deal with Monday's commute, after shutting down public transportation, with no hope for it reopening until tomorrow afternoon. His flippant response: "How does the guy that drives the train get to the train? You're going to have a tough commute tomorrow. You know, there's taxis and some people can walk and that sort of thing."

So perhaps while Bloomie "prepared" for the hurricane, he apparently gave no thought to getting people out of the shelters they were ordered into or getting the city back to normal post-Irene. That's a strategic misstep in my playbook... The worst of the storm is actually the fact that no one can get from here to there for the next 24 hours. In a city with 8 million residents, that is a very big deal.
In my Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, a giant beloved American elm tree was felled by the excess moisture in the ground, reports the Brooklyn Heights Blog. It smashed a brick wall at the apartment building on Hicks Street, and broke a window in the house across the street, but there were no cars parked on the street in its path. Ironically, in 2008, authorities believed the tree was a potential hazard, and neighbors rallied to preserve it.