Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Watch Manhattan Go Dark Monday Night In A Matter Of Seconds…

Gothamist has posted five time-lapse videos showing the impact of Hurricane Sandy on New York City, including the one below taken in Brooklyn Heights as Lower Manhattan goes dark within seconds at the :08 mark. Prepare to feel your insides tighten up a bit while watching. All videos are here.

The Post-Storm Cure... Eat, Eat, Eat...

Granted I have electricity in Brooklyn Heights post-Hurricane Sandy, and I continue to be fortunate enough to have my living room renovation ensuing again (updates soon), but let's face it... when you're cooped up, ya gotta just eat. My boozehound days of 2007 are long past, so while gin is still my friend, I'm more for cooking up a lil' feast in these times of cozying up at home. Above, din din Wednesday, below, a humble lunch. Tomorrow, homemade chili is on the menu... You can take the boy out of the south, but... *

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Darkness On The Edge Of Town: Manhattan Remains Dark At Dusk

New York City, 6 p.m. Tuesday, dusk. Not a light in sight. This is one spooky spectacle... Above, a panoramic shot from Wall Street to Empire State Building (Brooklyn Bridge in foreground). Below is Lower Manhattan. Both from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. *

New York City's Post-Superstorm Sandy Nightmare

Boy, oh, boy, I continue to recognize just how fortunate I am in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's impact on New York City. First, I'm home, safe, dry and I have electricity. My doggies are by my side. I have enough food to last through, uh, 2012. But across the East River, it's a horror story...

All seven subway tunnels under the East River have massive flooding, and MTA is saying it'll be a minimum of four days before any modicum of service has a prayer of a chance of restoration, with many areas taking up to a week. So long, perishables.

Flood waters, meanwhile, reached an unprecedented 13 feet Monday night in Battery Park, literally burying the Battery Park Tunnel... not flooded, but literally submerged by water. In low-lying areas, cars were swallowed by water... on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea, the facade of an entire apartment building was literally blown off...

It's a damn good thing I have no intention of getting out of Brooklyn anytime soon. Cause I'm not. *

Hurricane Sandy Superstorm: I Made It Through The Rain

In my 17 years as a New Yorker, I don't think I've ever been frightened by a weather phenomenon... until Monday night. While the rain in Brooklyn Heights was tepid, at best, the wind gusts that blew down Montague Street in front of my apartment building felt like they were going to shake down this 150-year-old building... as I envisioned trees being uprooted and flying up the street like a scene from The Wizard of Oz.

I was one of the lucky ones. Last night in the 9 o'clock hour, a Con Ed transformer exploded in Lower Manhattan. I was actually on the phone right when it happened with Ayhan—who lives next door to a power plant on Avenue C—and he said it looked like the world had caught on fire.

At that moment, power went out in the majority of Downtown New York, with 300,000+ residents still without electricity as of Tuesday morning for god knows how long.

As the wind whipped in Brooklyn Heights, the lights continued to flicker, but while I lost cable and Internet overnight, thankfully, my power remained.

This morning I was up at 5:30 a.m. and out the door at the crack of 6 to survey damage in the nabe. Looking across the Brooklyn Heights Promenade pre-dawn and seeing total darkness—except for lights surround the WTC (ironic, indeed)—was eerie as hell.

I walked from one end to the other of Montague Street in the Heights, and was relieved to see that the damage was minimal: The worst was a lighted TD Bank sign that blew down. Leaves are everywhere, the sidewalks are sopping wet and newspaper boxes were blown about like cardboard... but otherwise no downed trees or major catastrophes.

Throughout the tree-lined neighborhood, there are reports of downed limbs and a few trees—including a major limb right in front of the Hotel St. George entrance to the subway—but all in all, I think this neighborhood made it through the rain... Today, Abby & Spencer and I are just trying to stay warm... and be thankful for our good fortune... lights, heat, food... and life. *

Monday, October 29, 2012

In Case You Were Wondering, THE GAYS Caused Hurricane Sandy

Evangelical pastor John McTernan is calling for prayers of repentance based on his rambling dumbass reasoning that Hurricane Sandy was caused by... the gays! The idiot writes:

"Hurricane Sandy is hitting 21 years to the day of the Perfect Storm of October 20, 1991. This was the day that President George Bush Sr. initiated the Madrid Peace Process to divide the land of Israel, including Jerusalem. America has been under God’s judgment since this event. Twenty-one years breaks down to 7x3, which is a significant number with God. Three is perfection as the Godhead is three in one while seven is perfection.

It appears that God gave America 21 years to repent of interfering with His prophetic plan for Israel, however, it has gotten worse under all the presidents and especially Obama. Obama is 100% behind the Muslim Brotherhood, which has vowed to destroy Israel and take Jerusalem. Both candidates are pro-homosexual and are behind the homosexual agenda. America is under political judgment and the church does not know it!

Wow, it must have taken a lot of work to come up with such a whacko theory. I'm willing to bet that McTernan and Paul Ryan are great buddies. Sounds like they're cut from the same extremist cloth. *

Hurricane Sandy Shutters Brooklyn Height's Retail Corridor

Taking a walk up Brooklyn Height's primary business corridor Monday afternoon, a vast majority of restaurants and retailers along Montague Street were good and shuttered for the day. Even Starbucks was closed—as are all of its shops in NYC.

A sprinkling remained open: bar Custom House, coffee shop Connecticut Muffin, fast foodie Subway, full-service delis Lassen & Hennig, Heights Deli & Convenience and Montague Street Bagels, eatery Le Pain Quotidien,  and, uh (WTF?), Verizon Wireless. Local grocery Key Food was also open, with a looong line out the door as customers were methodically let in.

Several businesses had taped their windows in anticipation of potential 80 mph winds, which as of 4 p.m., we have yet to see. So far, intermittent rain, occasional gusts of wind, a lot of leaves strewn about... and the threat of the worst to come after dark tonight around 8. The only damage seen… so far… was a toppled newspaper box at one street corner and a few random branches on the street. Stay tuned for more pics as the adventure continues. *

Abby & Spencer Are Not Amused By Hurricane Sandy

With a brief interlude in the persistent but far from heavy rain so far, I ran like a madman to allow Abby & Spencer to do their business one last time today, before the winds pick up enough speed to carry them across the East River. My babies were not amused... During our walk, I got a "WTF?" look from Spencer, just before he took a formidable dump... I think he was offering a strong opinion there. With their doody duty done, we're back inside, where I wrapped them up like Christmas presents in a warm afghan. Now they're happily snoring away. *

Hurricane Sandy Update: Monday 10 AM

It's raining. And it's kinda windy. So fortunate so far... seeing horrible destruction in Ocean City, Maryland and Atlantic City, N.J. *

Sunday, October 28, 2012

MTA Shares Eerie Photos Of Empty NYC Subway Stations

MTA displayed pics of deserted subway stations after the system was shut down in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy at 7 p.m. Sunday. Brrrr! Feels like the apocalypse! Really weird. *

It's 9 O'Clock... Do You Know Where Your Storm Center Is?

The waiting continues, as Hurricane Sandy continues barreling Northeast, with "unheard of" winds already reaching 75 mph. The storm is moving 15 mph, and could make landfall anywhere between Sandy Hook, N.J., and Delaware. "Once it arrives, a high-pressure system will have the effect of a cork in a bottle, sealing the storm in the area so it can’t escape," reports CBS 2 meteorologist Lonnie Quinn.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is eerily quiet and virtually deserted, while, the BQE Highway was spooky desolate as residents hunker down for predicted rains of 5-9" and sustained winds of 40 mph with gusts up to 80 mph, which could persist for up to 36 hours.

Inland areas may see downed trees, power outages, torrential downpours and possible tornadoes. Quinn says, "It's like giving this storm a Monster energy drink."

Last year, Hurricane Irene dumped 11 inches of rain over 3-7 hours, as opposed to Frankenstorm's exposure from 24 to 36 hours. *

Hurricane Sannnndy Is Coming! Countdown: 5 Hours

Sandy, my darlin', you hurt me real bad... you know it's true... *

Brooklyn Heights' Key Food Wiped Out As Stormwatchers Prepare

It always amazes me when New Yorkers drain neighborhood grocery stores as if they have to drive amid wicked weather. Nonetheless, hundreds are rushing to the Brooklyn Heights Key Food to scoop up enough staples for what appears to be the remainder of the year.

The checkout line wrapped all the way from the front aisles around the entire back of the store. Bread, veges, milk, eggs… gone! Spirits, however, were high, as smiles were in abundance amid the mob scene. And speaking of spirits, a clerk at nearby Montague Wine said that sales were “crazy.” Food… check! Booze… check! Let the games begin! *

Calm Before The Storm: Sandy Approaches New York City Monday!

All indications are that Hurricane Sandy and related storms are going to wallop New York City—unlike the overhyped much ado about nuttin' from last year's Hurricane Irene. As of 7 p.m. Sunday, subways and other regional trains are shutting down, with buses following at 9 p.m. Schools are already closed on Monday...

In addition, NYC Mayor Bloomberg has ordered evacuation of low-lying areas of New York, including Battery Park City and stretches of the West Side waterfront, the Lower East Side and East Village in Manhattan.

The storm is being called dangerous and potential devastating, with water rising as high as 10 feet in lower Manhattan, Long Island, Coney Island, Staten Island and into New York Harbor.

Stay tuned to The Smoking Nun for sopping wet pics along the Harbor coast of Brooklyn... *

Friday, October 26, 2012

Brooklyn Heights Rez Lena Dunham Films 2 Pre-Election Political PSAs

Brooklyn Heights' rez and HBO's "Girls" creator Lena Dunham participated in two political PSAs as the Presidential election looms large. The first is an Obama-sponsored minute-long video titled "The First Time," in which she muses about her first time... voting... in 2008 for Barack Obama.

Second, Dunham is among more than a dozen celebs who took to their webcams and lip-synced Lesley Gore’s 1964 hit "You Don't Own Me" in a pointed political anti-Mitt Romney PSA. notes, "The lip-syncing is interspersed with messages about (Presidential hopeful) Romney and the Republican Party's plans to defund Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe vs. Wade, among other threats to women's rights."

Others participating in the clip that's housed at Vimeo and has become a webbie sensation include Carrie Brownstein, Miranda July, Karen Elson, Leah Siegel, Alia Shawkat, Zoe Kravitz—and Gore herself, who says in a narrative after the video, "I recorded 'You Don't Own Me' in 1964 and it's hard for me to believe we're still fighting for the same things we were then. Yes, ladies, we've got to come together, get out there and vote, and protect our bodies. They're ours. Please vote."

Old Becomes New... Living Room Renovation Update: Day 8

As with any apartment renovation (when you're living amid the mayhem), after the first week or so, the thrill begins to fade somewhat as claustrophobia—and mountains of dust—take over. Yup, we're about there now... but progress continues with some pretty thrilling changes to my Brooklyn Heights apartment living room.

Foremost I'm still thrilled with the brick accent wall we uncovered over the fireplace (2), which offers just enough 19th Century charm without overtaking the room. And the brick—which has yet to be scrubbed—is nice and light in color.

Meanwhile, (1) a new fireplace is being built from scratch, because, as is so often the case, when the original surround came off, the bricks behind it pretty much came tumbling down. Man, whoever originally built that was apparently cross eyed and perhaps had one hand and only four fingers. A mess.

More new: For a decade, I've had my eye on the radiator that took up the entire wall to the left of the fireplace... mighty valuable real estate in a small room. As of yesterday, contractor Angelo reconstructed the old radiator, making it smaller (never knew you could do that) and neatly tucking it into the right window (4). Hurrah!

The other big coup is located over the small cove where the sofa is placed. In order to meet legal code, one of the electrical outlets had to be raised from floor level up to 18 inches on the wall, which meant new wiring was required to run through the wall—which thankfully was already torn down to prep for new drywall.

That allowed for a series of three subtle pot lights (3) to be installed above the cove, which will provide either bright light for reading or soft mood light—thanks to a dimmer switch on the wall above the relocated plug. Now that's just sweet.

Next: Remaining drywall goes up to seal it all, before the next biggie... new hardwood floors. *