Sandy

What Hurricane Sandy taught us about the Urban Apocalypse – Part 2


(Mark Segar – Reuters)

It was unsettling how things changed. From the safety of social feeds, we watched as photoshopped spoofs and Michael Bay rip-offs paled before the quiet aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Smouldering burns scarred into whiteboard neighbourhoods. A suburban block turned to some vast waste dump. A seafront bar dragged across a bay, a boat perched on railroad tracks. More than the Boxing Day Tsunami, this felt uncomfortably close to home.

We may be incredulous of the naive expectations of the massive storm; or the religious leader who blamed Sandy on New York State’s acceptance of gay marriage. Yet, what lay in front of us was a solid lesson in where the future may lead for many cities across the globe.

In Part One of What Hurricane Sandy taught us about the urban apocalypse, we looked at Corporate Sponsorship, Disaster Parasites, and the not-so sweet smell of the apocalypse.

Past the cut, in Part Two, we’ll be looking at the comfort of petty theft, how hipsters decorate their fallout digs, and why it’s not over til it’s over…

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What Hurricane Sandy taught us about the Urban Apocalypse – Part 1


(Spencer Platt – Getty Images)

It was unsettling how things changed. From the safety of social feeds, we watched as photoshopped spoofs and Michael Bay rip-offs paled before the quiet aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Smouldering burns scarred into whiteboard neighbourhoods. A suburban block turned to some vast waste dump. A seafront bar dragged across a bay, a boat perched on railroad tracks. More than the Boxing Day Tsunami, this felt uncomfortably close to home.

We may be incredulous of the naive expectations of the massive storm; or the religious leader who blamed Sandy on New York State’s acceptance of gay marriage. Yet, what lay in front of us was a solid lesson in where the future may lead for many cities across the globe. Past the cut, here’s the first of a two part blog on what Hurricane Sandy taught us about surviving the urban apocalypse.
 
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Hurricane Sandy

The Internet is a burst with Sandy. Hurricane Sandy, that is. There are posts about fictional Weather-pocalypses, and everyone seems to want to give you a playlist for the Franken Storm, even The Guardian. Tuesdays is usually the day when I try to get a Music for the Apocalypse up for you guys, but this Tuesday… I feel like everyone else has done it for me. There was also an element of questioning the clammering to use an international disaster to drive hits to your blog. It’s… a sensitive area. However, one of the amazing things about Sandy has been the buoyant spirit of those in the path of the storm, sticking two fingers to the ‘cane and battening down the hatches. So, instead, I’ve decided to look at some of the wonderful things other people have done to bring hope and joy and laughter to each other.

Some people met the hurricane in swimming trunks and a horse’s head.

Jimmy Kruyne has taken credit for this little piece of joy, having tweeted ‘The news crew is down the block, Im thinking horse mask and swimming trunks?

Props should also be given to David Tra for one-upman ship:

The caption on YouTube pleasingly reads ‘On a scale of one to horsehead jogger…’, and whilst I think videoing yourself is not quite the same as high-jacking national news coverage, you have to admire a man who, according to Metro, said: ‘I see your shirtless, horse-head jogger and raise you a shirtless, unicorn-head roller-blader.’

Some people took slightly mean pleasure in tricking Twitter users into retweeting pictures of other storms. istwitterwrong has made an excellent post debunking these. Whilst others responded by satirising this practice and tweeting links to pictures like these:

Click here to see image

click to see image

Naturally, spoof twitter accounts popped up for the hurricane itself:

click to the Twitter pageAnd amidst all this good humour, good people were also on the ground, helping each other out. Witness this haunting image of ambulances moving patients from one hospital where the power had gone out to another:

click to see original Twitter status

Meanwhile, 190 firefighters battled through the night to tackle a catastrophic fire that had broken out in Queens, and Emily Rahimi, a seven year veteran of the Fire Department of New York sat by a Twitter feed through the night providing vital support to people who couldn’t get through the over-taxed 911 calls. Truly a woman you’d want with you, come the apocalypse.

If this were in Britain, we’d call it ‘Dunkirk Spirit’, but really it’s just the simplicity and goodness of people pulling together in a crisis, to stand by one another and keep their spirits up. Not just the heroes, although we should never undermine the work they do, but the jokers who bring us around to the funny side of our situation – who play us a song, or make a silly image, or run around in the rain with a horse mask on their head.

To all of the people keeping it together in the face of Sandy, we at the Girls’ Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse salute you.

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