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Or alcoholism. I noticed a lot of "wine tasting" last night as I headed home to Manhattan on foot.

Well, someone said, "Let there be light," here on Manhattan's Lower West Side, at approx 2:19PM. About time! A lot of the other neighborhoods are still without power though.

I had been riding home in a car from Connecticut along the ever-blackedout Merritt Parkway and actually had no idea there was a black out at all. Until we rounded a bend, entered New York State and looked in the direction of where Manhattan was supposed to be, and-- darkness.
That is a sight I don't think I have ever seen before. A darkened Empire State Building illuminated only by a very large moon and all the stars in the night sky.
Oddly enough, the tiny corner of Connecticut where I was never even had any power trouble, though a flash of lightning or drop of rain there is usually enough to shut everything down.
I had to travel via the Whitestone Bridge, through Queens and into Brooklyn, where I got out and walked across the Williamsburgh Bridge and headed across SoHo toward home. Let me tell you, that buildings I never even knew were residential had opened their doors and their tenants-- SoHo trendies, Latino familias con abuelos and huge Chinese extended families, of 20 or 30 people-- were sitting out on the sidewalk on blankets, lawnchairs, even pillows, and eating, drinking and barbecue-ing fiercely. Funny, you always think you can find your way home blindfolded, but it was hard, and strange, with the streets in utter darkness.
Later, I took a walk up to the Village and both Henerietta Hudson's and Hogs 'n Heifers had generators going, with lights music and fans all cranked up full throttle and packed to the rafters with their respective lovely clientel.

I also heard on the radio that Gloomberg was booed and told, "Get out of the way!" as the idiot blocked traffic as he tried to shake people's hands on the Brooklyn Bridge for a photo op. Big Grin

[This message was edited by hatches on 08-15-03 at 04:56 PM.]
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I must say it is in times of crisis that the true spirit of NY comes alive, in spite of some politicians who try to take credit for our charachter.

People directing traffic, singing songs late into the night and helping each other find their way through a dark stairwell.

I was also struck by how difficult it was to find my way around. I've lived on the upper west side for 4 years now, but in total darkness it was a little disorientating.

Anyway, I'm able to access the internet, because Jade, did such a wonderful job fixing up my laptop the other day. Battery operated and wireless...that boy is a genius.

Hope everyone is doing well
Yesterday was so reminiscent of that fateful day. A beautiful clear sky but that eerie "state of emergency" feeling hanging over everything. As on that day, I felt like a character from one of those 70s disaster flicks like "Earthquake". I was at work when it happened and had to walk home to Spanish Harlem from 42nd & Third Ave, which was not bad.

By dawn this morning most of my power was on again, but my television and internet just came back on about an hour ago. Naturally the first place I came to when logging on was the Boards!

It was kind of fun and a little exciting while it lasted. But it does have scary implications as far as terrorism. That most of the eastern seaboard could be so paralyzed so quickly and easily ... hmmmmmm.
Miss U,

LOL- Hmmm...I can't seem to make the connection other than to say I love dogs and have had one my whole life. (not the same one of course)

My current doggie is a beauty and I'm sure would love to meet you one day.

Of course if your in need of some dog food, we would be happy to help you out. And feel free to contact me at anytime...even if there's not a state of emergency.

Maybe we sould go get a reading together! lol
That was my favorite sign during the dramatic blackout which my deli, with their gasoline powered generator managed to stay open, had at the entrance and above the cash registers. However, I did manage to get some coffee next store at the White Furniture Cafe. However, in seemingly true NYC fashion, downtown west of Broadway, power was restored in the early afternoon, but for those of us across and east of Broadway, we had no power until 9:10pm last night.

After my initial panic when the lights went out at work (our posh breast center is in 2 floors of sub-basement, so we have no windows to rely upon) and we had gotten all the patients out of the building, the memories of 2 years ago flooded me, but thank goodness for the dolls in my bag, and another nurse and I downed a 1mg ativan each, and got ready to face what was ahead. Luckily, it was not to the extent that my imagination was envisioning. However, traversing the city Thurs afternoon/evening to get home was a sight with the throngs of people, and when I finally got to 27th & 3rd to my co-worker's apt, and walked the 12 flights up (in the darkened stairs guided by the lighter that was burning my fingers...thank goodness I am still a smoker) to use her bathroom before my next stop, and then over to the West Village to traipse up 7 darkened flights again to feed my friend's cat while he was out of town, and then finally made my way home only to up another 11 flights (guided by a candle snatched from my friend's home). I loved that as I walked by all the bars and restaurants on my way home throughout downtown, the common phenomena was people with their drinks outside on the sidewalk while they smoked! How decadent, right?

Once home, it was very boring...and yesterday too, with little to do I went for a long walk by the river. However, the experience was very humbling in how much we take forgranted things that are power-operated. Amazing, right?
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As I showerd yesterday, just moments after the power had failed, I had a very sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Of course like most people, terrorism was the first thing on my mind AFTER rationalizing of course like most show trash that my Con-Ed bill was paid up. Seriously, I really had some very sobering thoughts while all alone in my bathroom, thinking very clearly that THurday "could" be one of my last days HERE.
I thought very clearly about my life during the time in which I took very meticulous care in prepping myself for what could be the end. Morose as it sounds, we live in an age where the unthinkable happens. As I made my way out into the world for candles (too stingy to burn my $22 Votivo's from the gift store on 9th Ave) I walked out into total pandemonium. My neighborhood consists of Fashiony Queers, Theatre Fags, and Old School Latino neighborhood types that were born in this neighborhood and will likely die here in apartments passed down from generation to generation. People literally fighting over batteries and water and candles at my local deli. Babies crying, spanish, arabic and chinese all being shouted around me as I tried to focus on what I needed to forage for to get back to my little "camp". My roomie, a friend and I hung out in my backyard most of the early evening and on into the night. We Bar B Ques and kibbutzed with out next door neighbors over dinner. As night fell, the private safety of our back yard seemed jeoprodized by the throngs of people taking to the fire escapes above us. Almost 75 people hanging on different levels of the steps. All Looking down and silently cursing OUR "good fortune". Yes kids the paranoia had me yesterday. They looked like buzzards just waiting for one of us to drop. I couldnt stand the monotony any longer and at 1am i took off into the pitch blackness of W49th street. Hells Kitchen was darker than I had ever rememberd summer camps from my childhood. People were milling all around me faceless in the night. It was terrifying and exhilarating both at the same time. I ran into a local queen (Miss Pearl) and we smoked reefer on her stoop and really got down and talked about some very real things that I would never have dreamed of discussing with her in a nightclub or local bar which is where we usaually cross paths. I got home comfortably stoned and serene, and actually marvelled at the complete STILLNESS of the night as I got into bed. the stillness that drove me from the suburbs of Michigan to NYC, had found me 18 years later I thought to myself as just the rustle of the trees in my backyard kept me company. Today I woke up to the whirring of my box fan. I sat up in bed and smiled at the fan as if it were an old friend coming to visit after a long abscence. I am very thankful to have another day here, in NYC, in the world I guess. My love to all of you, my NYC "FAMILY". You bitches know who you are.
This was an e-mail i send to the pals back in Blighty who wanted to know what happened.....

Power went out on Thurs at 4pm... i was in Times Sq on the 30th floor skyscrapper! Sheer panic as even our Reuters newsroom didn't know the cause/reason... to see Times Sq totally blacked out... no ticker news scroll, no bright lighted billboards... All phones went down the same time as electricity and in any building taller than 4floors most water was out (as lekky is needed for pumpin the water)... as some of you might know most of these high rises are fully a/c so none of the windows even open.... So they where in the hot humid heat just tombs!

Immediately I decided to just go home..after Sept 11th that same anxiety just kicked in and i was amazed to see all my co-workers deciding to stay put!.. I just wanted to get the hell out of Times Sq and out of a glass high rise and off to my tyke at home.. I walked down to the 18floor where there was one emergency elevator working which i got ... outside on 42nd st was sheer madness. Thousands (and i mean THOUSANDS) of people fleeing as fast as they could. Sirens wailing and panic outside subway stations where hundreds of people were trapped litterally underground in the maze of track in darkened trains with no air...walking in pitch black tracks being pulled up out of manholes... It was odd cos the streets seemed fairly deserted of cars and busses, traffic lights were all off and what confussed traffic there was was being directed by civilians who just took up that cause!

Of course this was the day i had come to work in 'lady shoes' you know small heeled sexy tough black leather ... not the type of shoes you want to walk the length of Manhattan island in... but i was just so eager to get home i didn't notice the pain that i had sliced though my foot with the back of the new leather...what mattered was getting home... Somewhere passed Lexington avenue near 29th Street I saw a laundry van with an open door... i shout to the drive, a tall dreadlock if i could get a lift ... "Sure get on in the back" I climb into the back and was greeted by a whole family of Peruvians with a newborn and stroller, two roughneck homeboys and a young woman in a business suit... it was like an odd scene from a cheech and chong movie... I was glad to get a lift as he could take me all the way down to 14th... I walked a block over. Streets were still jammed packed with an exodus towards the Brooklyn bridge where people walked ten deep just to get off the island... not realizing at this stage that the blackout was throughout the tri-state area.
Back home Luka and Lyn (the nanny) were getting home from a day at the park... unaware as to what was all happening... my neighbours were all on our sesame street style stoop waiting for the latest... everyone still in a panic that something else was going to happen and it was terrorist attack... at one point the radio news ever told us to boil water as a precaution incase of terrorist attack. When you have lived though 9.11 there is that stress and anxiety that is easy to rekindle.
Anyway.... the long of all of this is just panic that led to delerium around the Village... people all out in the street, drinking and partying.... brick oven piazzas were the staple take out.. while we dinned on fancy french pastries since the local bakeries were literally giving them away... we ate our melting huge gallons of melting ice creams and waited for the night... The Domincans and Puerto Ricans down the road rigged up their SUVs to play the radio newschannel for the whole street which as my neighbour Jaid (Barrymore, mum of Drew) said was "so 9.11!" she was right we were all on the hypen of laughing off the madness and fearing for what it was.... But this time we all sort of banded together... All of my 9 neighbours knocked on each others doors we built our own torch system to ligh the stairwell and they all stayed up till the wee small hours some sleeping on the outside fire escapes...
For me it was more complex as Luka was not well... He finally slept at 9pm only to wake SCREAMING at 2am ... having a sick screaming sweating child in a house that is over 90degrees in weather and damp with humidity under candle light is NO fun.... Then there is the fact he wanted his nighly milk which was well spoilt even the juice had gone cold and the water... well, are we supposed to boil that! We all wake early around 6am with the stiffling heat and sit in the back yard of the downstairs neighbour... we wash in ice cold water and hear HOW LONG.... Ramon, Luka's papi arrives to see how we are... we look for things to make for breakfast, cereal was out cos nowhere had cold/fresh milk... bagels were stale.... and juice was warm, plus there was that stupid thing we kept doing, flicking the light switches on without thinking....
By Friday afternoon at at 4pm we were still without power and it was beginning to give us all cabin fever..Luka was cranky and frought... but then again so were we all.... I go on the street to see what was open and found a man who was selling land line phones (by this time there was limited land line phone service but of course i had a cordless phone which ..required electricity!) so i pay twice the price for a shite old fashioned phone and get it home... Ramon had been trying to call as he had gotten home and had electricity and full service of water etc... So he made plans to come downtown to pick up Luka, a trip that normally would take him 20mins took him 3hours!!
By 9.30pm Luka safely uptown with Papa, me Jaid, Randy, Dan and the other tenants of 13th street walked the Village to see what was on...Burundi drum circles and bonfires in Tomkins sq, more free pastries at the Italian bakery and the stench of rotting fish from the sushi cafe... west of fifth avenue had just resumed power and even found semi cold beer which we bought and drank on the street with glee. By 10pm we walk our way back to our East village abode and as we do we hear a loud roar, car horns and wild screams ... OUR electricity was finally resorted... random people were jumping in the street hugging us and cheering... we handed out our beer to the workmen who were at the electricity plant and cheered and ran all the way home..... ahhh electricity... air conditioners, phones, washing machines, fridges, cold beer, ice cream and e-mail.....
Jade and I were two hours in to a complete reformatting of daddy's hard drive, and we had just returned from a spell on our roof where we had been talking about 9/11 (Not so strange because its 17 floors up with a deadon view.) We looked at the big clock on the Con Ed building and it was 4 PM. "I think I'll go see my friend in Union Square and come back in an hour to help you finish" Jade said. He was out the door, as was Daddy, on his way up to a DJ gig at Bergdorf Goodman.

Minutes later, everything went. Of course I thought the reformatting of the drive had blown a fuse. Then I looked out the window and saw the 14th Street Con Ed plant burning - well, just a huge black cloud of smoke billowing and a thin white plume rising beside it. And, like a recurring nightmare, the people running onto their rooftops all around us, and craning their necks in the street below.

Like a zombie, I went about my preparations. Into the black Harvey Nichols tote went the passports, a St. Jude talisman, the cellphone, all the 5s and 1s from the Cabaret's cash bank, my great-grandmother's diamond, two Mac lipsticks, a small flashlight and a joint.

Realizing that I might have to carry Whitney (our 15 year old border collie)down nine flights of stairs, I reluctantly threw off my rhinestone flip-flops and changed to my DMs with the sensible toggle heels and soles. At least I had a fabulous new skirt on and it was black, very Commes de Garcons. Just as I had on 9/11, I thought of Edina on Ab-Fab saying to the firemen "That's easy for YOU to're wearing a uniform!" when they were evacuating her.

Pleased with my possible burial look, I sat, bag over shoulder, watching the billowing smoke, thinking thoughts like "If the plant explodes, would the flying debris make it to Third Avenue?" All the time trying not to transmit my fear to the dog, who was already so puzzled and hot since I certainly wasnt opening any windows.

Over the plant, two fighter jets and a mess of helicopters were circling. I watched in horror for a few minutes, and then noticed that the black cloud seemed to be getting smaller. Five minutes later, it had stopped altogether. More importantly, the sounds of Armageddeon hadn't begun - there were fire engines, sure, but not the constant wail of ambulances, fire trucks, police cars et al that was heard practically round the clock on 9/11.

This must be an old-fashioned blackout, I marvelled, having lived through the Summer of Sam edition uptown. How quaint! How Old New York!
I breathed again, for the first time in a quarter-hour, and very well prepared for almost anything, opened the windows, left the dog sleeping, and walked down the nine flights to the
spectacle below.
We were thinking of all of you. Esp. Chi Chi and Johnny, as one of the first things we heard was that "a plant on 14th had exploded."

Everyone's stories feel like a mix of total discomfort and sense of community. Some good in the bad.

Of course it now looks like it's all Ohio's fault. Why can't we all just "blame Canada?"

BTW,Chi Chi, your survival kit is hysterical!

Who was sitting on bales of hay in the back of a pickup truck in front of Thompson Square Park drinking champagne out of the bottle...?? Jackie Bigalow, Nancy Isla, Justin Bond, Theo, G-spot, Lilly, Jane Adams, yours truly, and ....I forget the rest actually . Everyone was having so much fun that night , no fights , just lots of drinking, bonfires, it was sort of like an urban faerie gathering. Props to DJ Pickels who used his i-pod to DJ at the Slide later on. Another fabulous moment was sitting on a rooftop watching the amazing moon that was even more vivid with the blackout.

I it again!
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I was having sex when the fan in the window went dead for a second or two. Then it did this weird sort of being on half power for about three minutes. I just thought a fuse in the building blew, it is a very old Ave C building that blows fuses sort of regularly. But then the power plant at 14th went in to convulsions, it figures prominently in the view out my window, especially from the bed, - an emergency venting of filthy grey steam and dark black smoke together from the stacks. At my age and for another reason having to do with mental health I don't get very excited about much of anything and I see emergency venting from that plant every so often, and it practically blew up altogether last year. It was reactions from people down on the street that aprised me something else was up. It is the first hour or so that was unsettling because there is no information about the cause, the extent. So you feel very vulnerable just waiting to be hit by whatever it is. Mentally, emotionally I kind of feel prepared for just about anything life on planet earth tosses my way. Though I don't seem to manifest a lot of affect externally about things I very much enjoyed the deep mood of disconnection having to walk very slowly on the street in the dark that night. But one of my biggest thoughts is, What is it that separates this experience as being one of relative calm and cooperation from what could be the experience of chaos, violence and bedlam? How was that collective decision made by eight or nine million New York City inhabitants?

I also had a really weird physical reaction to not being in an environment super-saturated with very high volumes of electric current. Like my every living cell had been unplugged. For a while I felt very dampened and tired. But ultimately I had the physical sensation of more corporeal calm and clarity. Odd.

I like the chaos of free time from the stopping of the technologicalworld.

I had quite a bit of food that did not require electricity to prepare on hand, my preferred libations were in order, I posses a really good flashlight, suitable methods of home defense should anarchy arise, and most of all a mental/emotional orientation to calamity and hardship that just sees this stuff as routine.

And I think the vast majority of people in this city have a very well developed survival instict, know how to persevere with even good humor, and are actually united more by a shared opinion about the nature of the failures that lead to our collective predicament. But I still think about that answerless question concerning what separates the collective choice for calm from the choice for depredations.

And of course, everyone in my building knew the lower east side would be the last neighborhood to be given power back. That is what is really an indication of how sick 'back to normal' means.

[This message was edited by seven on 08-18-03 at 12:41 PM.]
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Just thought I'd post this email that my wife sent out to her non-NYC friends about all the shenanigans from Thursday. Enjoy...


What a wild time we've been having!! The electricity was turned back on in our neighborhood a bout 2 hrs ago. The blackout was fantastic -magical even. Once it became clear that the show was cancelled I went out on the street to join my friends. We bought every last bottle of chilled champagne at the liquor store on the corner and headed over to Dog Shit Park. My friend Daniel has a pick-up truck which he recently drove home to Ohio. While he was there he loaded up the back of the truck with a bunch of bales of hay so we plopped ourselves down on the hay popped open the Veuve and gave everyone passing by quite a show. My friend Lily of the Valley had a portable TV and we saw ourselves on the news while we were there. My other friend Jackie Bigelow is a total exhibitionist -especially when he's been drinking champage AND he's got the BRIGHTEST ORANGE PUBES I've ever seen and red red balls which he kept flashing at whomever was unfortunate enough to be looking. It was so much fun and kind of fantastic as well because Daniel and I were together for another major blackout in San Francisco after the earthquake of 1989 - a much more gloomy yet equally unforgettable experience!

When it started getting dark a bunch of us came back over here to my apartment and went up on the roof because we were very excited about the prospect of actually seeing stars over Manhattan! (So many exclamation marks!!!) Usually the light pollution is so intense all you can see is the moon. I don't know if it's the same in Europe, but right now and for a limited time only you can really see Mars very clearly and intensely -it's huge(!!!) So we were hoping for a glimpse. All of a sudden we see this light come out from behind one of the buildings. I thought it was an airplane with a red light on it but it was Mars and it was red -yes! nigh on as red as Jakie Bigelow's balls- and that it was "ball" red was completely unexpected. The higher it got in the sky the less red it looked but it was marvellous as was the moon which appeared as another big orange ball behind the smoke stacks of the darkened Con Ed building.

Everything was so quiet. No traffic, no air conditioners humming just laughing drunken people, an occasional siren and fireworks exploding off the top of the Christadora House -the building where they say Iggy Pop lives- across the street from DSP. This wasn't like the last blackout the night of 9/11 it was liberating and joyful. After getting an eyeful of Mars and spurred on by the hot orange moon we hopped back in the truck and headed over to the Bowery for a night of lunacy at "The Slide".

The Slide is a new bar based on an old legend. The orignal Slide was also on Bowery and was the first gay bar in New York. It's designed kind of like you would imagine bars would have looked in the 19th century. Dim, dirty, lots of wood. Fortunately the beer was still cold and someone brought in a ghetto blaster sooo DJ Sammy Jo got everyone going and before I knew it the place was really crowded and almost all of us were dancing in our underpants (More !'s) some in less -some wearing nothing but their tattoos...(I have no tattoos) It was so hot in there and incredibly sexy. Not in a lurkey-turkey heavy-duty-deep-and-aggro-sexy, but in a fun we all know each other and it's a blackout so let's make out and, by the by, if you want to get fucked on the bar (not me thanks) it's okay kind of sexy. There were no lights outside so you can imagine all the silly faggots -me included- running around the street in their panties. It was hilarious. I smoked some pot and I felt like I was tripping. Daniel had parked the truck under a tree so whenever it got to be too much I would just go ouside and lay on the hood of the truck and stare at the moon and Mars through the leaves. It was so magical I can't explain the feeling. I'd never felt so close to nature in New York before. It was really overwhelming and beautiful.

Around 4 am - my otherwilse useless mobile still gave me the time- we started walking home. On the way we stopped by a bodega on 2nd Avenue for snacks and water. Candle lit -one at a time in and out. As we made our way home walking the deserted streets lit only by a high octane bella luna we once again passed by Thompkins Square Park where there were the remains of a Bonfire, a few stragglers and the sound of what we at first assumed to be gunshots -I, of course, ran toward them not wanting to miss anything and certain no one would want to shoot ME!!! Fortunately it was just random firecrackers someone had thrown in the fire...

Shortly thereafter, and following the long seven flight climb up the stairs I fell into a beautiful sleep resting assured that sometimes there IS magic...

Love (and many more !!!!!!!!"S),
I was sent this from a sassy pal of mine via e-mail FYI,

If your food spoiled because of the blackout, Con Edison will re-imburse you
up to $150 without documentation and up to $350 WITH documentation. Mail in
the claim form by September 13 (30 days after the blackout began). The form
is available in PDF format at:


I don't think its a scam/a Bill gates will give you money bollocks.... looks like it's real... but i haven't heard anything about this claim in the media.
We watched the blackout unfold live on the internet from my work in Chicago. By the time Friday evening rolled around, EWR was open, my flight out of Chicago was on-time and they bumped me to first class. My biggest problem was the cab driver refusing short haul fares at Penn Station. The cops thought I was way out of line when I had them read the cabbie the riot act, (they thought it was petty after the blackout), but he took me where I wanted to go. Home!

My clocks told me power had already been on for almost two hours, so I tossed a few things out of the frige and got the ice cubes going. So my first vodka cranberry wasn't very cold. That was the extent of my hardship.

So my question to you is this: given the choice, would you rather have experienced the blackout or not? While I like running hot and cold water and electricity, I sort of feel like I missed out on a very unique if uncomfortable and disquieting experience.
Really odd to think of a choice to have a blackout. Your qualifier, "disquieting" is perfect. Disquieting and moody, at least on my block. Especially the view from the roof, which takes in lower Manhattan and midtown -blank, flat facades of the towers. I like almost anything that sets up large scale non-normality, so as things went rather peacefully this time it was worthwhile to experience it.
4:10 pm at work on the 16th floor, decided to go to the jon first and take the elevator second as it was quitting time.

4:11 standing at the urinal the lights go out, it became pitch black all of a sudden in an all white tiled florescent lit toilet. the guy in a stahl 'ughed,' another 'dude' sighed, and merlin hears himself say, 'at least we know where we are.'

could see new jersey, up 11th avenue and down the river on the westside from the windows at work. it was more than just our neighborhood. and all the street lamps were out. walked down the stairs to the controlled concern on the streets and headed uptown. it was like 9/11 with all the people on the street without the dust and grit and real threat of the moment. and then quietly and subtly, the cellphones came back on, you could feel it in the air. and see the more relaxed smiles and the gentle tugs as people put them away for the first time in a while.

had to climb the stairs twice to the apartment on the 15th floor of the ansonia, the first time to get home, fill up some water jugs real quick and take a cold shower. the second time -- to get the beer. buying a six pack of coke holding a votive candle at andy's deli on 74 and amsterdamn and then finding its vanilla coke when you get it home and the you owe the guy ten dollars if and when the banks open on friday was actually and adventure.
greg had the batteries so we camped out in the front windows that feel like a balcony when opened to the world outside and had music blaring out into the dark all night. a friend came over from midtown cause she lived out in astoria and we didn't want her to be alone.

6:00 am the next morning the ceiling fan wakes us. we spent the morning sharing stories and laughing our perverbials off waiting for the technology to slowly return and watching the television for the diaster that never was that disasterous.

thanks to us and all of them.

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