It's my MARKet, so I'm gonna Share.....Not going to be the usual snark this month....Just a few weeks before the Presidential election, the New York tri-state area was hit by an unimaginable crisis. No, it wasn't debate moderator Candy Crowley's tantrum after she couldn't find the snack table, it was Hurricane Sandy. In just a short amount of time, Sandy made her presence known and her legacy will be long-lasting. Despite dire warnings to evacuate and prepare, scores of folks ignored the forecasts and rode out the storm, or tried to, assuming it was just the weathermen and government crying wolf about how bad it could be and how bad it would get. Shocking everyone, the forecasts and government were correct and if anything, under-estimated the impact the storm would have. Many who stayed and ignored evacuation orders, especially on the Jersey shore, Staten Island and Long Island have suffered tragic and disastrous consequences including the loss of life. Even those who fled weren't spared as homes and businesses and municipal infrastructures were damaged beyond any expectations. A section of Queens, NY, Breezy Point, suffered a devastating fire during the height of the storm destroying more than 100 homes. Fire Island, a resort barrier island off the coast of Long Island, NY, also lost a number of homes and during the storm, water was surging chest-high. Manhattan literally became a tale of two cities as power was completely lost downtown while uptown kept the lights on. The transit systems, meaning commuter railroads, subways and even highways, were shut down for days and it will be weeks before these systems get back to normal, if not longer. Seaside attractions that have lasted for generations in southern New Jersey are now swimming in the Atlantic. Subway stations in lower Manhattan had water flooding the tunnels up to and higher than the pedestrian platforms. Gotta give credit to the MTA who managed to get some subway service back up and running within days given the unprecedented nature of the damage suffered. Hell, even the casinos in Atlantic City closed for four days, and that alone should tell you how serious this storm was. I give due credit to the authorities who told citizens in advance to fill up your gas tanks, make sure you have bottles of water, hit the ATM's and have a plan. Watching the aftermath, it's clear who listened and who ignored. Gas lines are currently the norm where you can even find a gas station open. Banks that have been able to open are running out of cash. In areas such as Long Beach, LI, where the water is now completely unusable, good luck trying to find a bottle of water to buy, even if you can find a store open that would sell it. Given that 90% of Long Island is completely without power, that won't be an easy task. And I am just touching on a few of the areas affected. This was a huge storm that in time may very well earn "Storm of the Century" kudos based on its power, effect and the cost it will take to recover. One positive to come will be that with all the construction, home repair, cleaning and electrical work that will need to be done, a lot more folks should be able to get back to work.
However, out of great tragedy, some good...and yes some bad, has emerged. The leaders of the cities and states affected have been terrific in communicating to the citizenry as well as with each other. Governor Christie of New Jersey, a Republican, couldn't say enough nice things about the support he was getting and is getting from President Obama, a Democrat. Given the rancor of the current political season and how close we are to the election, it was natural that Governor Christie was asked about Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who he had strongly endorsed. Christie basically said he had a state of over 2 million to worry about, not Romney's campaign. Of course, opportunists exist everywhere, even in tragedy. The extreme left is using Sandy to push their global warming message. The extreme right is claiming that the President is using Sandy to help get reelected. On the extreme, extreme right and crazy side, two religious leaders, one Jewish and one Christian, have said that Sandy was God's wrath because of homosexual behavior in New York and gay marriage equality. Of course, what would a tragedy be without looting? While thankfully the reports have been few and far between, any reports are a disgrace. Looting should be a death penalty offense, as those who look to take advantage of tragedy for their own personal gain are the worst that society has to offer.
Despite the wide-spread destruction, Sandy won't stop two big events from happening. The New York City Marathon will be held only six days following the storm. Citizens feel this is a terrible idea because it may mean that assets being used in recovery and safety will be diverted for essentially a sporting event. I happen to agree. However, I can see the view of the Mayor as well who has stated that by Marathon Sunday, power is expected to be restored to all affected areas, you have thousands of runners coming to New York for this event and the money the marathon brings in can theoretically be used to repair and rebuild some of what was destroyed. the other event not being cancelled is the election. To those tired of non-stop political ads as well as the insufferable political posts on Facebook, Sandy has been a godsend. With non-stop news coverage and status updates on who is OK and who has electricity, Sandy gave us all a respite from the political season. However, the election will happen. While polls prior to Sandy and following the debates showed a close race either tied or with Romney leading, newer polls show more of a dead heat. Romney didn't help himself post-Sandy with a change of position on FEMA, now stating that he wouldn't defund the agency, which is a topic of great concern in the northeast at the moment. My prediction? President Obama wins with a wider margin than expected. Regardless of who wins, my hope is that the cooperation and more courteous tone shown by political leaders on both sides continues. Nobody in the electorate wins when the big boys argue and call each other names.
A couple of other points of news came out of Hurricane Sandy....CBS reality show Survivor announced a special edition to be filmed soon. It will feature all the usual challenges - no electricity, no heat, no food and conflict between those involved. However this edition will host players from Long Island and Westchester, NY and each contestant will be paired with a teenager whining how boring it all is....Actor Russell Crowe has been in NY in recent months filming his newest movie, "Noah". Coincidence? Maybe, but NYC officials have asked him not to film his next movie there with the planned title "Plague"...Given all the destruction caused to the Jersey Shore, some are asking if Sandy can be retroactively named Snooki. No word on a final decision yet, though it seems oddly appropriate.
If you want to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, visit here for the Red Cross or here for the NYC Mayor's Fund. For every thumbs up, like, share and retweet this column gets I will add $5.00 to my donation. Please give. Please help.
OK, I've shared. Now it's your turn. Agree? Disagree? Have at it - Please comment and share. See you next month.