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Simon van Kempen: New York City did the right thing preparing for Irene

Last weekend, like millions of others on the East Coast, we made major preparations for an event that largely spared us -- and I'm fine with that.

I am sitting here in my Brooklyn backyard surveying the sparsity of tchotchkes, which were all removed prior to Irene’s arrival and have yet to be returned.

Last weekend, like millions of others on the East Coast, we made major preparations for an event that largely spared us -- at least in our area of Brooklyn.

On Friday, Alex and I joined the throngs at the supermarket buying enough bottled water to water our garden for a month as well as food, batteries, ice and other supplies deemed essential. On Saturday in preparation for a loss of electricity Alex baked two loaves of bread, three dozen cookies, cinnamon buns, fried 20 pieces of chicken, roasted a chicken, made a huge potato salad and I cooked a huge marinara sauce. As a family we often spend time cooking together but Saturday was certainly a marathon effort. Last thing before the boys went to bed they bathed, we showered and then we filled the tub with water.

At about 1 a.m. Alex and I went to bed just as the winds were whipping up. When we awoke at 9 a.m. we surveyed outside and wondered just what hadn’t hit us. Not long afterwards the boys accompanied Alex and I for a walk around the neighborhood and both Francois and Johan spent some time removing smallish branches off the street so cars could pass more easily.

A Sunday without subways meant our neighborhood was just that: Our and our neighbors ‘hood. We walked around again later that afternoon and at around 4:30 p.m., when Irene’s tail returned for a final whip, we decided to head indoors. Sure enough when we went out two hours later we saw a huge tree on Court Street had snapped in two, possibly weakened by the morning winds.

On various news website comment areas I read complaints about the hype and how it had been over rated. And then as news reports came in of severe inland flooding in New Jersey, upstate New York Massachusetts and Vermont -- and also the news of a young woman washed to her death, these commentators went a little quiet.



Politicians are there to sometimes make unpopular decisions and while the shutting of New York’s transit system is akin to temporarily stopping a heart beating, I for one am sure the right decision was made. I just hope that we don’t see a return of another hurricane in a couple of weeks as the naysayers might be even less prepared next time and suffer the consequences. But hey, isn’t that Darwinism at work?

P.S. Impressed with Alex's culinary prowess? Metro was, too! Simon adds that Alex makes her own ice cream and ketchup, too -- she is the REAL housewife!

 
 
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