So lets see - I'm at work in the midst of a conversation with Richelle yesterday, and everything goes off. Not like someone flipped a switch - there was a sputter, things went off, then on, then off.
And then it was me, and my pc on a UPS, as 99% of my buddy list disconnected at the same time.
Talk about scary.
Went to look outside - nothing on fire. Spent the next half hour or so combing for info on the net on a pc on the Hospital's emergency generators. Found precious little. The going theories were that either Niagara got hit, or that there was a fire at the Con Ed Station at 14th street. My nerves were very on edge - I was expecting fallout at any minute.
I realized that if I didn't get the hell out of dodge, I was going to end up sleeping there. On the way out of the building, security was not letting anyone without an ID in. There was a man who had just left to get his car when the power ran out. His wife was stuck on the second floor in a wheelchair, but security wouldn't let him in to get her. Security, actually, would do nothing but stop him from coming in the building. They were being real assholes, and the poor guy was crying about how his wife couldn't take care of herself, and since she was discharged already, no one would care.
I took one of his cards so I could get her name (Leihrman), and so she would believe me if I just randomly approached her, and went up to get her down the stairs. Two orderlies gave me a hand, and we got her to her husband. After that, there didn't seem to be much else to do at work, so I got the hell out. Cell phones were not working calling other cell phones, but I could call land lines. Richelle made it home ok (though I didn't find that out until almost 7), and I checked in with my folks and wangch61 to let them know I was alive. I was going to wait around until Metro North started running busses. If that didn't work, I figured I would head over to wang's to chill out, however I didn’t get hold of him until the great walk had begun.
I walked up to 125th street Metro North with my co-worker Orlando, who was going to work his way to his mom in the Bronx. Along the way, I remarked that if I had wanted to get people on the street to drop a bomb or poison gas, than that definitely would be a great plan to stick with - cut the power and get people on the road. Orlando was not too amused by my macabre humor. He waited for the Bx15 - which ran to Fordham Road. I went over to see what the situation was with a large number of Westchester commuters stranded at the train terminal.
Things did not look good.
I started introducing myself to everyone and trying to figure out who was going somewhere near to me, so maybe we could pool funds to get off the island. I found a couple from Peekskill, two women from Larchmont, and a woman from Yonkers. We spent about 10 minutes trying to get a cab, after about 5 minutes of introduction. It was just before 5:30.
We managed to get a cab (myself and the 5 other stranded Westchester commutes) who wanted 30$ up front (which was about all the cash I had on me at the time) - we piled in, only to be abandoned at the Madison Ave Bridge because the cabbie realized he was going to run out of gas before he could get us to Westchester! I managed to harangue him into driving us back to 125, but, aside from me and this other lady, no one seemed interested in getting the money back from the cab driver.
The local policeman directing traffic didn't seem to interested in helping either. I got out of the cab to ask for his assistance, and the cabbie started driving away with the woman in the backseat, who hollered at the cabbie until he let her out a block north of 125. I really wish I had gotten the guy's medallion #.
I was pretty pissed.
I waited around for another 15 minutes or so until a big posse of walkers hit 125 hoping that trains were running. Many had walked from uptown - one guy, Greg, had walked from the battery, after catching a ferry from Jersey. They started asking me and this other Metro North official nearby what the situation was.
After being assured that the trains were just plain not going to run, all of them decided to keep walking, but none of them knew the way. One woman wanted to walk over to the west side, another was talking about walking to the GWB. Most needed to get to the Bronx, or Yonkers. Greg had to get to Pelham, but was parked about 5 minutes up the road from my place in Mount Vernon. I knew the closest way off the island (via Madison Ave Bridge) so I sorta became a bedraggled tour leader. after seeing the mob of hundreds at the bus, none of them wanted to try and wait any more than I did.
The problem was Greg, his friend Anthony (who we met on the walk up at 130th street, oddly enough, they know each other from work but were at totally different places in the city that day), and myself walked considerably faster than the women in the crowd, who only really wanted to complain about how awful a trial we were enduring. I just wanted to get home, not bitch about it. I made a joke about how at least we weren't Liberians having to break past a blockade of people who wanted to kill us o get back to our families. They stayed quiet until the one lady busted a heel on the sidewalk. They all decided to stop, just short of the bridge, to see if they could beg a ride from someone.
Greg, Ant, and myself all pressed on.
So, I walked from about 6ish until just after 7:30. We made it all the way up Grand Concourse, and were just on the fringe of Fordham Road. I had been trying one of my other coworkers, Rob, who lived in the area, since we got off Manhattan. He had a van, so I knew he would be able to help out. Turned out he was asleep through the whole thing, and woke up because he was hot. He came by and picked us up, and gave myself and my two traveling companions a ride to my neighborhood. I got off at the intersection of Lincoln ave off the Hutch, and they continued on to where Greg's car was parked.
I have to remember to buy Rob a case of beer or an oz or something for helping me out last night. I would have eventually made it home, but closer to 10 than 8:15 (which is when I ended up making it).
I took a shower, sat up talking with Richelle, her mom, and Rich until around 11, then went to bed. Apparently everyone was snoring, which kept Richelle up. I expected power when we woke up. We didn't have any. I called my dad - he had power - radio in the car said power would be back by noon.
We went out to get some eats - drove around, I charged up my phone. We got home around 2.
According to the news it was just lingering areas in the city left without power.
They apparently missed Mount Vernon in their sweeps.
Anyhow, around 4, power came back - about 30 minutes later, Internet came back.
The TV just came back.
All in all, this was not a bad experience. I feel badly that Richelle's wedding dress plans got messed up - but my bro and my grandma, both of who flew yesterday, and were in the air when the juice got cut, landed safely.
So far as I know no one I know died, or was injured, in the course of things.
The worst I suffered was some sore dogs, and a hot night.
All in all, my hat is off to Con Ed for getting things back up, and my heart goes out to all those who had it worse than me.
Definitely makes for some interesting memories though - was very reminiscent of my trip out of the city on 9/11 - with perhaps a bit more clarity of mind, and a little less shell shock.
Like I said, just glad everyone I know and love is ok.
I think I'm going to go have a drink with some ice in it.