Oct 30, 2012 9:36AM

New York Diary: Hurricane Sandy

"Apparently alcohol is an essential for hurricane survival."
Gillian Sagansky. Photo: Sofia Szamosi

Hello. Meet Gillian Sagansky, our New York correspondent. She is a writer/artist/DJ currently working for a creative agency started by the Creative Directors of Vogue and W. She also writes for publications like Purple Diary and BOMB Magazine. In her first column for Oyster, she tells us about what's going on in her fun and exciting life. Right now, it's Hurricane Sandy:

"Record-breaking", "life-threatening", and "greatly exceeding Irene" are just a few headlines that news anchors are using to describe Hurricane Sandy. About a week ago I started to hear rumors of news reports that stated a hurricane was making its way westward from the Caribbean and was going to crash into a cold front that would turn into "the perfect storm." This "perfect storm," otherwise known as "Frankenstorm" or more formally Hurricane Sandy, is a twenty-four hour storm that has New Yorkers behaving like it's a zombie apocalypse.

On Sunday — the last day supermarkets and other businesses were open before the storm hit — people rushed to grocery stores forming lines long enough to suggest that they were contestants on Supermarket Sweep. Partly amused (but mostly annoyed) when I realised how much I rely on takeout and therefore had no food in my apartment, I recruited a friend and reluctantly stood in line. After thirty minutes we were finally granted entrance — the only word to describe the scene was mayhem. The usually product-packed store was a barren wasteland. My friend battled a man for the last grapevine and I found myself defending my decision to buy three Greek yogurts to a passerby: "But I need one for Tuesday morning!" A sign which previously read "Jewish Memorial Candles" was crossed out and replaced with the phrase "Hurricane Candles," a flashlight section emerged in the frozen food aisle, and I think it's safe to say that Manhattan is now officially a dry borough as apparently alcohol is an essential for hurricane survival. Speaking to the grocery store attendants, apparently the first food to go was the cheese and appetisers which fits perfectly into the New York ethos where any occasion is a viable excuse for a cocktail party.

Although there are quite a few areas that have been declared evacuation zones (mostly those near the rivers and bays), many of these residents have decided to remain in their homes. Skepticism as to the level of necessary precautions is rampant due to the hype of Hurricane Irene, which hit New York City in 2011 and was projected to be significantly worse that it turned out to be. Officials are urging nonchalant New Yorkers not to use Irene as a benchmark, forecasting that Hurricane Sandy will be significantly worse. While all subways and buses shut down on Sunday evening and the traffic-jammed streets are desolate, curious plastic-clad New Yorkers are currently hitting the town for a first-hand glimpse of the storm.

Gillian Sagansky

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