New Yorkers come out to inspect aftermath of Irene

Weather front which was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm did not come close to wreaking the havoc many feared it might.

August 28, 2011 19:11
2 minute read.
New York after Hurricane Irene

New York after Hurricane Irene 311. (photo credit: Gil Shefler)

NEW YORK – The streets of this city on Sunday morning were strewn with torn branches and large puddles formed in some low-lying areas, but tropical storm Irene did not come close to wreaking the havoc many throughout the week had feared it might.

New Yorkers who had stayed home for most of the past 24 hours slowly came out to inspect the aftermath of the weather front which was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm shortly before it passed through the area at around 9 AM.

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“We’re still alive, right?” joked Alysha Campbell, who went for a walk in the Manhattan neighborhood of Alphabet City after the rain had stopped. “The way people talked about it I thought the world was going to end. Luckily doesn’t seem like we got the worst of it”

While it seemed the worst case scenario was averted the storm did cause damage and inconvenience. Almost a million people in New York and New Jersey were temporarily left without power and there were numerous reports of people who had been hurt by falling debris.

Local flooding was reported in all five boroughs. In Battery Park, at the lower tip of Manhattan, high tide brought waves that lapped slightly above the sea barrier but did not breach the sea walls. In East Village local residents put on Wellington boots and walked through large puddles that formed near the East River.

The slow-moving storm whipped up a media frenzy as it headed up the East Coast from the Caribbean earlier in the week. A state of emergency was declared in cities and states along the East Coast and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the unprecedented decision to evacuate over 300,000 people from coastal areas that were at risk of being flooded. Bloomberg also decided to entirely shut down the city’s public transportation for the first time in its history bringing the city to a standstill. By Saturday afternoon New York City was virtually shut down in anticipation of the coming weather front.

Some New Yorkers chose to mark the occasion by holding hurricane parties.

 “We just came back from a hurricane dinner party with friends,” said Brian Thomas as he jumped into a cab taking him to higher ground in Chelsea. “It was a lot of fun. We were watching the news and laughing at it because so much of it is ridiculous.”

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