Before and After Hurricane Sandy

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The weekend before the superstorm, I was in Atlanta visiting my college roommate. We went to the Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain, lunched at Bocado, had a lovely dinner at Watershed, and saw the scarecrows at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

A jacket that my friend bought at the fair led us to Roswell, a city just north of Atlanta with a cute downtown full of restaurants and shops. We wandered the length of Canton Street, peeked into the little boutiques, and paused at Roswell Provisions for tea and a cookie. I was smitten with their kraft-paper shopping bags (they're stamped with a bicycle image!), so I picked one up to draw on as we sat in the window seat with our snack.

Roswell Provisions, Roswell, Georgia

After completing the sketch on location, I added some color using my new Holbein gouache paints. I'm reasonably satisfied with it, but it will definitely take some time to get used to working with such pigmented, opaque paint.

Amazingly I was able to fly back Sunday night as planned (all the New York City flights were being cancelled, but thankfully I'd booked my trip to White Plains). Monday was a day of waiting. The winds kicked up; a dry pillar of a tree in our backyard fell gracefully, damaging nothing but the ancient deck.

The power blinked off just after 6 pm. We ate spicy turnip soup by candlelight, put the leftovers on ice in the cooler, and sat in bed with the blue glow of our phones for company. The police drove in blaring a sudden evacuation order at 10 o'clock, but we chose to stay -- we felt we were on high enough ground and trusted (blindly?) that the surge wouldn't overtop Stamford's hurricane barrier. (It didn't.)

Tuesday we emerged and looked at the smashed poles and twisted wires and flooded roads. Through Twitter we learned that Barcelona was open and operating downtown. (Light, heat, tapas!) They were encouraging people to come in, recharge, drink wine, savor a meal, swap stories. And so we, and many others, flocked in.

At Barcelona after Hurricane Sandy, Stamford, Connecticut

In our area, the power was back on Wednesday evening. But as we look at the devastation in places like Breezy Point, Hoboken, Staten Island and the Rockaways, we feel very lucky indeed to have escaped with a just a brief outage and a downed dead tree.

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