A Unified Community During the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Last year was the first time I ever had to worry about a hurricane.  I survived Hurricane Irene, and the damage done by the hurricane was minimal.  This year, with Hurricane Sandy, I had a very different experience.  I was fortunate enough to be taken in by Kristiana, a swim teammate of mine.  At the last moment’s notice, she and her family were more than happy to take me in.  They provided me with a comfortable home and took great care of me.  We left campus Sunday morning, and she brought me to her home in Princeton, New Jersey.  I will be forever grateful for their hospitality throughout this natural disaster.

Hurricane Sandy came to our area at around 6:00 on Monday evening.  Our home power went out at around 7:00 that night, and we did not get power back until Thursday evening.  We were one of the lucky families to get our power back that early.  Some people around the area are still without power.  Many of the streetlights are still not working, backing up traffic around town.

Princeton, New Jersey was spared and only has “minimal” damage.  We took a walk along the streets of Princeton (the area near the university) and saw what the wrath of Hurricane Sandy had brought onto the town on Tuesday morning.  The streets were littered with brown, red, and orange leaves, all slick with the rain the clouds had brought.  Across the public library, which was only two blocks away from our home, was a fallen tree.  The entire tree was uprooted, and the weight of the tree completely squashed the wrought iron fence surrounding the yard the tree was in.  Later on that day, we took a short drive around and saw more fallen trees, dislodged stoplights, and broken electrical wires.  There were many street closures and many stores were closed due to the town-wide power outage.

Uprooted Tree

Uprooted tree in a near-by neighborhood on our little tour of town after the storm on Tuesday.

Luckily, the Princeton Public Library was open the day after the hurricane hit.  This was one of the few places in town that had power.  The place was full of people of all ages, trying to pass their time by reading, watching movies, talking with friends, or simply charging their electrical devices for the day.  I spent a lot of my time in the library to charge my phone and attempt to get reception so I could text my family and friends to tell them that I was alright.  I knew I was very dependent on my electrical devices before this event, but Hurricane Sandy made me realize how much I appreciate electricity and the significance of Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb.  Once the sun went down at around 6:30 p.m., it was impossible to navigate around the house without a flashlight.  Doing simple things like brushing teeth and taking out contact lenses in a bathroom became challenging because I had limited visibility.

Despite all of the inconveniences that Hurricane Sandy brought to the town, the city, state, and federal government has been handling the situation very well.  The nation’s response has been very quick, and I admire the strength and support of all of the organizations helping the communities that have been affected.  I witnessed the town of Princeton rally together and support each other in this difficult time.  People were helpful and conscious about others’ needs.  I appreciate the kindness that my teammate and her family have shown to me, and I will never take a warm shower or the simple act of sharing an extension cord for granted ever again.  Stay strong, New Jersey and New York, and together as a community we will rebuild these states to be even stronger than ever before.  I know Wagner is taking strides to help the Staten Island community, and I hope those who are able to lend a hand come out and help those who have lost nearly everything because of Hurricane Sandy.

Author: Lynn Tay

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