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It doesn’t snow much in the lower half of New York state anymore, so every time we do get an actual snowstorm here with a decent amount of accumulation it’s a cause for excitement! We got about a foot over the weekend, and it was beautiful in Brooklyn. Despite my never-ending bronchial unhappiness, I forced myself outside for a bit. To the dogs’ disappointment, I forced them to come along, too. Every year I somehow convince myself that Fritz and Bruno are real dogs and that they want to play in the snow just like all of the other happy dogs I see frolicking around in the stuff and having a blast.

Well, Fritz and Bruno are not real dogs, and they do not want to play in the snow. They don’t even want to walk on a wet sidewalk. After about 2 minutes, they were both wet and dirty and crying and shaking. Sigh. So, back inside…where they were both immediately subjected to baths, another thing they both hate. They spent the next 24 hours sleeping off the trauma, which is a whole hour longer than they usually sleep each day.

Meanwhile, Evan and I are packing up our apartment and getting ready to move to the new place on Friday! Evan found this company called Jugglebox that rents out reusable, stackable moving boxes. They delivered them (disinfected!) to our current apartment, and they’ll come pick them up from the new place in two weeks. Very cool. Quite a step up from our last move, which we (very stupidly) did entirely with IKEA bags and at the expense of Daniel’s youthful energy. Never again.

WE ARE SO EXCITED TO MOVE. Really. It’s going to be so good. I can’t wait to get in there and take pictures—it’s such a cool space with so much potential. In the mean time, I’ll be taking a million photos from the rooftop view we’re giving up!

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This is the final set of photos I took before leaving Brooklyn last night. Our building in DUMBO is still off-limits per the FDNY—extensive flooding everything on the lower levels means must be completely rebuilt and inspected by ConEd before the power can be restored and residents can move back in. Our apartment is on the 9th floor and was thankfully unaffected, but the apartments at ground level were destroyed. We were allowed back in to retrieve belongings (and empty the refrigerator!), but we have no idea when the building will be habitable again.

We are, of course, very fortunate to have our house up in Newburgh in addition to the apartment, so that’s where we are now. We brought Jen from Honey Kennedy (currently visiting from Portland—possibly the worst “vacation” ever!) along with us, and everything is really fine up here. There are some downed trees and the waterfront restaurants were flooded, but it seems the Hudson Valley was spared the damage that affected New York City, New Jersey and other points south. We weren’t so lucky up here during Irene! Metro-North trains aren’t running yet (nor are subways between Manhattan and Brooklyn), so I have no way to get to work from Newburgh. It’s strange to feel so immobile.

I took these photos on the apartment roof deck last night at around 8PM—worth climbing 10 flights of stairs in the dark to take them. It’s so strange to see the lower Manhattan skyline so dark—the only lights are those powered by generators. When I walked down to the street level, I noticed that the Empire State Building was perfectly framed—and perfectly illuminated—beneath the Manhattan Bridge. I’m such a cynical person by nature, but I’d be lying if I said the sight didn’t put a lump in my throat.

Now that I’ve caught up on news and have seen the complete devastation that’s occurred in in areas like Breezy Point in the Rockaways and Seaside Heights on the Jersey shore, I feel even more grateful to have escaped without harm. Having to wait for electricity and trains is nothing next to people who have lost everything, including their homes.

PREVIOUSLY:
Waiting for Sandy (Sunday mid-afternoon)
Still waiting (Monday, early afternoon)
Sandy, during (Monday, 6:00–8:30PM)

I’m exhausted, so this update will be brief! So…Sandy came. I took photos on the roof deck of my apartment every couple of hours (I stopped going out there when it got windy—I was never in any danger), so you can see the progression of the water level in DUMBO between 6:00–8:30PM. Pretty much everything from the park to Front Street wound up getting flooded.

We did lose power and wound up having to evacuate at around 9PM. An electrical fire started in building across the street from us, and the fire department was unable to put it out. Because they were concerned the same thing would happen in our building, they asked us to leave right away. The lobby and lower level of the building were totally flooded when we left—no idea what the status is now.

Fortunately my brother lives a couple of miles away in Cobble Hill, which is at a higher elevation. The walk there was pretty harrowing—the wind was insane, there were trees and debris everywhere and we were each carrying a (tiny, scared) dog. By the time we reached Montague Street, we had to stop. My brother came and retrieved us in his car! Luckily no one stopped him—no cars were supposed to be on the street.

So we’re OK. We have no idea when we can get back into our apartment, no idea when the subways will be running…no idea about anything. But we’re OK, and so are our friends and family. There are an awful lot of people who aren’t OK, though—and right now that’s who I’m worried about.

The photo above was taken during the explosion at the ConEd power plant in lower Manhattan. The light in the sky was crazy. I hustled back inside after that!

I Instagrammed the photos below last night, and the first two kind of became a “viral sensation,” which was weird. They were picked up by just about every news website (hey, I got published on the New York Times front page, haha), every TV network, and every everything everywhere, all over the world. I got an interview request from Romanian Public Radio this morning. Crazy. Anyway, if you wound up here because of one of those pictures, I assure you that they are real and that they were taken from the roof deck of my apartment building, which is located directly under the Manhattan Bridge right next to Brooklyn Bridge Park. I was outside of “Zone A,” the area that was under mandatory evacuation prior to the storm.

The very last photo here is the street outside my building as we were evacuating. Lots of water, but it could have been so much worse. Grateful.

If you would like to use any of the photos in this post for any reason, please email me at anna@doorsixteen.com to let me know. Credit line must read © Anna Dorfman and link back to this post. I am happy to provide higher-resolution images, but bear in mind that they are grainy—these were taken with a hand-held point-and-shoot (and an iPhone) in the dark on a windy roof. Thanks!

SEE ALSO:
Waiting for Sandy (Sunday mid-afternoon)
Still Waiting (Monday, early afternoon)

Here are some iPhone photos of the scene in DUMBO, Brooklyn, at around 1PM Monday afternoon. It’s rainy and windy and the water is rising a bit, but nothing significant yet. Our corner market, Peas & Pickles, is still open and doing brisk business. I stopped in to La Bagel just as they were selling out of the rest of their fresh stock and getting ready to close for the day.

Red Hook is already flooding, as are Battery Park and the Gowanus Canal (ugh). I’ve heard that trees are coming down in other parts of Brooklyn. So we’re doing well in DUMBO for now. Of course, Sandy is still far away…

I’m not sure where else to put these photos, but I figured I’d post them in case any Zone A evacuees are wondering what things are looking like around the Manhattan Bridge right now. Unless the wind intensifies to a point where it could be unsafe for me to go up on the roof deck of my apartment building, I’ll take a few more snaps later today and this evening and post them as well.

A little more than a year ago, we were camped out in our old apartment in Washington Heights waiting for hurricane Irene, and tonight we’re hunkered down* in Brooklyn waiting for hurricane Sandy.

We’re admittedly more nervous this time around. Irene did a lot of serious damage upstate and in the northeastern states, but New York City got off relatively easy. I don’t know if we’ll be so lucky this time around—no one seems to really know. We decided to stay here rather than go up to our house for a few reasons (less chance of being stranded for days without power or being squashed by a tree, primarily), and there’s really no time for second guessing.

DUMBO is a waterfront neighborhood, and our apartment is about as close to the East River as you can be without actually being in it. The other side of our street is in the mandatory evacuation zone—a technicality, I guess, but one that’s giving me a sense of security just for being 5 feet to the north of the dividing line.

The subways have been shut down in anticipation of flooding, which feels very strange. I can count on one hand the number of times in my life that the NYC subways have been completely out of commission. They might not be back in service until Wednesday, which is impossible for me to imagine. This is not a city that can function without mass transit. Obviously I won’t be going into work tomorrow! The parks are closed, all construction has been halted, sandbags are in place, the stores have been raided for batteries and bread, and it’s very, very quiet outside.

I’m keeping busy answering emails, cleaning the apartment and baking peanut butter blondies. I feel like I really need to keep everything in order right now.

Before it started to get windy, I took the dogs on a really long walk. The pre-storm light was gray and beautiful, and I took a bunch of photos—I guess because I’m worried DUMBO might not look like this tomorrow. I spent a long time watching Jane’s Carousel go around and around inside its glass box, hoping that storm surges won’t rise above the platform it sits on.

Stay safe, everyone.

*That’s for you, K.

Daniel and Max came over for dinner last night, and I used the meal I prepared as an excuse to try this crazy spicy peanut butter I’ve been fantasizing about. I also wanted to try out one of the recipes in the Teany Book. (I’ve written before about my intense love for Teany and their vegan turkey club sandwich in particular, as well as my goofball appearance in the book!)

Here’s what I put together combining the two…

Soba noodles and veggies with spicy peanut sauce (vegan & gluten-free*)
Serves 4

Spicy peanut sauce
2 tbsp The Heat Is On peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co.**
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp sesame oil
4 tsp liquid amino acids***
2 tsp brown rice vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic

Veggies
4 large carrots, cut into thin strips (I used a peeler to make ribbons)
1 cup sugar snap peas, julienned
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp green onions, chopped

Noodles
9 oz dried buckwheat soba noodles*
2 tbsp sesame oil

4 tbsp crushed peanuts
lime wedges

Prepare the peanut sauce first in a big bowl. You can just whisk all of the ingredients together by hand, no need for a food processor or anything like that. When all of the veggies are prepped, put them in the bowl with the peanut sauce and stir everything up.

Follow the directions on the soba noodle package, taking care to not overcook them. With buckwheat soba, it’s important to rinse them very well in cold water as soon as they’ve finished cooking, otherwise you’ll wind up with something mushy and gross and unappealing. It’s OK that the noodles will be cold after rinsing! This dish actually tastes best cool/room temperature rather than hot. Toss the noodles with sesame oil.

Divide the noodles into bowls, put the veggies/sauce combination on top, and sprinkle with crushed peanuts. Serve with lime wedges, and enjoy with good friends and a nice view! We ate up on the roof of my apartment building, a spot I will never cease being grateful to have access to.

*Soba noodles are gluten-free IF they are 100% buckwheat, so check the package to make sure if this kind of thing matters to you. I use Eden brand. People with true gluten allergies should make sure the brand they buy is certified gluten-free, since contaminants can always be an issue.
**If you can’t find this fancy peanut butter, just use regular peanut butter with some chili sauce mixed in to taste.
***You can use gluten-free tamari instead of aminos, or soy sauce if you don’t need it to be gluten-free.

The Manhattan Bridge is not the Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, both bridges cross the East River and connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. On the Brooklyn side, you can walk from one to the other in just over 5 minutes. They’re brothers separated by 26 years. (Sisters? I’m never sure about the genders of inanimate objects.) The Brooklyn Bridge is iconic, though. There are 2027 bridges in this town, but the Brooklyn Bridge is the one that immediately comes to mind when someone from the other side of the world hears the words “New York City” and “bridge.” The Manhattan Bridge is bigger, younger…and bluer, painted the color of Dutch Delft tiles.

I love the Manhattan Bridge.


Top (1908): Eugene de Salignac, New York City Municipal Archives
Middle (1974): Danny Lyon, National Archives and Records Administration
Bottom (1984): Still from Once Upon a Time in America, Directed by Sergio Leone

Tucked under the Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn side is my new part-time neighborhood, DUMBO. My apartment is really close the the bridge–it’s in a factory built by Robert Gair (inventor of the corrugated cardboard box) in the 1880s. You can see the building in all three of the photos above, and it still looks pretty much the same in 2012 as it did in 1908.

Whether I’m walking home from the subway, talking the dogs out for their evening stroll, or talking a little time to myself on the little beach in the park, I cannot get enough of the Manhattan Bridge. The more time I spend in DUMBO, the more I get to know this big blue friend from all angles. It doesn’t have a bad side. I take a photo of it almost every day.

On Friday I wrote a little bit about the passing of Adam Yauch and about having been a Beastie Boys fan for two and a half decades. The Beasties are New York for me…they are Brooklyn. That’s why they’re on my “Summertime Jams” and “Hustle” mixtapes: They signify energy and sunshine and attitude. Walking down the street feeling like a badass. A badass with a sense of humor.

I can’t separate the Beasties and MCA from Brooklyn, and combined with my new-found love for the Manhattan Bridge, I was pretty excited last night when Neal Brennan uploaded some previously-unseen footage of the Beastie Boys performing “The New Style” on a boat in the East River in 2004. It was supposed to air on the third season of Chappelle’s Show (which of course never happened). The best part is Ad-Rock yelling out “let me clear my throat” just before a subway rumbles overhead on the Manhattan Bridge…a sound that sings me to sleep every night I’m in Brooklyn.

Kick it over here, baby pop…

EDIT: It’s back!

EDIT: Sorry guys, the video is being repeatedly yanked by Viacom. Here’s an article about why. If Neal Brennan can find a way to get it out there legally, I’ll re-edit it back in. Sad…