week wrap-up of #sandy

What a week!  Both Fred and I cleared our calendars, work-wise to deal with life in general.  An incredibly productive week considering not one of the things that we got done were on our "to-do" list Monday morning.  I think this headline sums up this post and the week. 

We won't be back into our apartment more than likely until Xmas.  The electrical panels in our basement, where all of the systems are housed for the building, are toast.  We literally put together a SWAT team, spoke to the insurance company, the people who manage our building (although we have taken matters into our own hands), our super who is doing an amazing job in crisis mode, all the people who live in our building, etc.  Conference calls, trips downtown, drilling down on who needs to do what, etc. 

We have been fortunate to be living at our friends home on the Upper West Side.  Being displaced is not fun but at least we have a roof over our head and plenty of food in the refrigerator.  Not as many people who were affected by the flood have been as fortunate as us in that regard.

I found 3 places to live.  We will be moving into an apartment in Soho for a few weeks starting today and then moving into a hotel for two weeks and then another hotel for a month.  The woman who is the head of sales at the Soho/Tribeca Grand was my savior.  So was the head of the NY office for One Fine Stay.  Highly recommend using their services if you are looking for a long term apartment in either NYC or London.  They were both fantastic. 

My sister was displaced too and living on the UWS with her business partner.  Last night we got together for dinner while Josh and Fred enjoyed the Knicks at MSG.  I had gone to see Argo which if you get a chance is totally worth seeing.  Really well done movie.  So glad I saw it.  Afteward we wandered through the UWS to find a restaurant.  Not easy because most people had reservations or they were refugees like us and so the restaurants were packed.  We ended up at 'Cesca. 

The bar was teeming with people and they said it would easily be an hour and a half to get a table.  We put our names in and got a drink at the bar.  They failed to mention that the tables around the bar were first come first serve.  We were with our friend and she figured it out.  She eventually scored a table for two so we could sit down.  We wondered if they could get us a third chair?  Immediate answer was no. 

I figured that perhaps the manager would be so kind to help us out.  After all, it has been a stressful week.  I found him and asked him if perhaps he could get us another chair.  There were a few tables that had extra chairs in the dining room and they were using them for their coats.  His answer was, if you want to ask them go ahead but I won't.  Seriously?  And so, I did.  I went over to a couple who was sitting in a back table with their coats draped over one of the chairs.  I asked them if I could have their chair explaining my situation in the front.  The woman basically pointed to the table behind them that was set for a party of 6 and said I should take one of their chairs because they wanted their chair for their coats.  I mentioned that there was a coat room.  She wanted nothing to do with the coat check.  I said that I was a refugee from downtown, I wandered into this restaurant for a bite to eat, all I wanted was a seat, a drink and some food and I'd appreciate it if they could give me their chair.  Begrudgingly, the husband took their stuff off the chair.  The whole transaction was seriously amazing.  I took the chair and picked it up, hauled it through the entire restaurant and the bar until I got to our tiny table in the corner.  My friend and sister couldn't believe it.  What I couldn't believe is that at one of the nicer restaurants on the UWS that people were so rude, the manager didn't give a shit and as a customer I had to find my own way to sit down. 

The icing on the cake was when I got up to go to the bathroom later on, I made my way through the crowd saying excuse me, excuse me.  Some woman turns around and says "excuse me would be nice".  I said, I did say excuse me.  She says, no you didn't.  I had to pee so bad I ignored her and moved on.  When I came back I truly thought about taking her out but luckily she was gone.  What a total bitch. 

I am going back downtown this afternoon.  My friends have been a life line so needed.  The week has been upsetting, disconnecting and all and all not the height of my year.  It is unfortunate in a town of resilient and warm people which has truly been my experience for most of the week including all of my years in NYC that I had the experience that I did last night.  I am pretty damn sure the people who I dealt with last night were not displaced and even if they were, shame on them. 


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Oy!When you are down in Soho don’t forget Cafe Cafe for great expresso and the hummus at Cafe Noir. Both old school local spots along with of course Lucky Strike.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Oy is right

      1. Ann

        love to hear all the updates post Sandy. The local info is something one does not get in the papers. Looks like you will be busy co ordinating your family for the next while, but sure you are a master at that…! 😉

  2. Carol Sacks

    I hope the road back gets smoother, Joanne. Take care.

  3. carrie pryor

    So glad to hear that you had a good experience with onefinestay. They are a client and really good people with a great service model.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Big fan

  4. howardlindzon

    i just worry it was my mom that was the bitch.

  5. CCjudy

    Times like these in NY bring out the best and the worst in humanity. Know that you will always shine and that is your gift to life Judy

    1. Gotham Gal

      Aw. Thanks judy

  6. JLM

    .Thumb to eye, palm to nose striking upward, edge of hand to Adam’s Apple.Five seconds which will change lives forever.Learned this in Ranger school, very helpful in navigating crowd scenes and busy restaurants.Then again………

    1. Gotham Gal

      Good to know:)

  7. johndodds

    That exemplifies the reasons behind my long-term aversion to the UWS – never experienced anything like that in my years downtown. Different mindset, different people.

  8. Wavelengths

    I just finished my first book by Maeve Binchy. Eloquent, generous, extraordinarily kind to all the varied characters. I didn’t know anything about her as an author, so I looked her up and found that those who knew her said that was who she was in her life. She wanted everyone to win. She died the end of this past July.Coincidentally, Gore Vidal died the following day. One of his well known quotes is “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.”Some people live like that. And when they see another person falter, a little off their game, they inwardly rejoice in their own “superiority.” I’m glad the husband recovered his humanity enough to let you have the chair.The manager might have already had enough of that kind of bad behavior that he just didn’t want to handle any more.I empathize with you more than you know. Glad you’ll be somewhere with your own front door key and your own privacy to help the healing.

  9. Ann

    By the way what about your house out on Long Island?


    WOW! Sonds like a scene right out of the movie, Carnage, starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet and John C Rielly about two well to do couples and how just below the surface of their entitled/affluent lives lies, well… carnage. Seems like the more we have the more entitled we feel to have it and the less grateful we are for what we have. On the other hand, those with little are often the quickest to give of what they have. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND USES A CHAIR IN A CROWDED RESTURANT FOR THEIR COATS??? WOW!!!

    1. Molly


      1. Gotham Gal


  11. AG

    Sounds like a scene out of middle school, and even then wholly unacceptable. If it had taken place on the subway, I wouldn’t be so shocked. At an UWS restaurant…just wholly unacceptable. Can’t do much about rude people, but that manager should suffer repercussions. I, for one, would never walk in there knowing what I know now.Glad, though, to hear that you have a plan in place, even if less than ideal. Three moves doesn’t sound easy, but I love that despite it all, you are so generous in spirit to realize some have it much worse. Not easy for anyone.

  12. Wavelengths

    I found this showing the other side of the restaurant scene:http://news.yahoo.com/nyc-r…Kudos to those folks who are being so generous and creative in turning potential loss into nourishment and goodwill.

  13. Deirdre

    Hi Joanne- Poor showing from my neighborhood. So sorry to hear about it.If it’s any consolation, I have been to ‘Cesca once (years ago) and had a terrible experience– rude people, rude customers and ehhh, overpriced food. I have never been back. You’d think they’d pull it together during these trying times. I am not such a big fan of Ouest either, for many of the same reasons. Of course I hope there’s never a next time, but if there is, try Telepan.Take care of yourself. You all have had way too much trouble and too much water this past year.

  14. NB

    Sorry about the damage to your home, and glad that you and your loved ones are safe and have been lucky enough to find alternative housing.I live on the UWS (20 years) and work in the West Village (10 years) and what I can say about both neighborhoods is that they both can be lovely places to be. Like in the rest of the city, they also both have lovely, kind and generous people, and also self-centered, selfish and entitled people. One would hope that in the majority of cases, especially during a crisis, we all become our better selves and that kindness and generosity prevails.I can only speak for myself, and my UWS friends, that we have been nothing but welcoming to our displaced downtown friends and neighbors, offering them housing and hot meals, welcoming them to our schoolyards so that kids can play and, at least at the restaurants I ate in over the past week, we welcomed new people and struck up friendly and empathetic conversations in crowded and slow dining situations.There is no doubt that the vibe un the UWS changed over the past week – more people in the hood than usual, more-crowded sidewalks, and people who rightfully were feeling anxious amidst the displacement and uncertainty. But we are all neighbors – we have seen the loss of life and property and nature – so it was not a big deal nor an imposition.As we’ve seen all across the city, we can’t base our viewpoints on the behaviors of the few (e.g. rude people, looters, etc.), rather it is more palatable to see the mindful and generous actions of the majority of our great city.

    1. Gotham Gal

      agree. bottom line, no reason to be nasty particularly in the last week of insanity. i am a big believer in what goes around comes around. you get what you give.

      1. falicon


      2. Wavelengths

        You and Fred are both so generous, even with us strangers who only know you through your choice to communicate in your blogs.You share your insights, opinions, experience, and at this point even your personal hardship. In sharing, you educate and encourage your friends and readers.What goes around comes around.You deserve some serenity.

  15. rachel

    i have no clue how places like that stay in business. honestly, i’d rather eat bad food than be treated like sh#t. also not sure how in nyc or elsewhere that your perspective on life hasn’t changed this week. i was even ordering holiday cards this week and all the happy happy happy stuff just didn’t seem fitting for this holiday season…arg!

  16. ShanaC

    well, I can promise you I’m never going to eat there…

  17. jill Stern

    Joanne, We moved today to the UWS since it is unclear when we will get power, heat, and hot water back in our bldg. in Peter Cooper Village. The basement was flooded. Hope you are doing Ok. We have had the past 5 days in cold darkness- very surreal. I am going to appreciate my warm bath tonight!!! Jill

    1. Wavelengths

      Speaking from my own experience, I encourage you to savor every bit of comfort. Just by getting through the past few days, you deserve to treat yourself, and even make a point of telling yourself that you deserve these kindnesses and delights.In metallurgy there’s a term called “work-hardening.” A quick example is the way a metal coathanger gets harder, and more brittle, as you bend it and bend it..There’s a comparable term in psychology, but I can’t think of it right now. It means that you get so accustomed to handling hardship that you relate to it with (what seems to be inappropriate) humor as a defense. Or that you don’t react to a new calamity as if it is as damaging as it is.The faster you can reclaim a sense of normalcy, and stop living in “emergency mode,” the faster you can step back into your life and be calm and competent. Some of that is how you can manage external circumstances, like shelter and food, and some is your own inner definitions.Best to you and all those you know in the middle of this.

  18. DonRyan

    Glad you and Fred and the family are okay. My work travels took me to NYC Wednesday-Friday. While midtown and the UWS seemed fairly normal, downtown and areas like Ditmas Park seem like a movie set of epic destruction. Be safe and here’s hoping for a quick rebuild.

  19. ellen

    My water heater broke and it took two days to get a plumber. Was I cranky.I just think of the people who had lost everything and have no reserve to rebuild. What will happen to them? They can’t relocate to the upper west side. What will they do? Are their programs for them?

    1. Gotham Gal

      the city is doing a pretty good job including many organizations of trying to help people who are literally without anything. it is devastating.

  20. William Mougayar

    Yikes. What a story. Who are these people (as Seinfeld would say).I’ve always thought that the lower parts of Manhattan were kinder / gentler than the upper parts, but without generalizing- at least in a week like this one, after all that happened to New York, can’t everybody be nice for a change?

    1. Gotham Gal

      definitely a “larry david” episode.

      1. William Mougayar

        Yup. Well, at least on the bright side, a) you discovered some new places to check out in the UWS, b) it made you appreciate where you live even more.

    2. Wavelengths

      Raised by wolves?

      1. William Mougayar


  21. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    At least you have the experiencing of living in NYC and know that this not the normal behaviour. I would hate to think of these type of episodes happening to tourists or first time visitors to Manhattan People form opinions fast and first impressions do count.

    1. Gotham Gal

      true, true.

  22. pixiedust8

    That is so upsetting. I love New York, but I often encounter a lack of common courtesy there (and also in Miami, where I grew up). On Halloween, I gently touched the arm of a fellow parent who was about to back up and step on my child. He turned, with true fury, and–get this–told me I was “crazy” (for warning him he was about to step on a child?), told me that he “knew I’d happily stomp all over his daughter,” and threatened to call the police on me. (I swear I am not omitting anything crazy or rude that I did.) I have a temper that can really flare up, but I managed to control myself and just turned away. I chalked it up to hurricane stress, but that may have been too generous.

    1. Gotham Gal

      wow. walking away was the call. in hindsight it is a good thing that i walked away from the woman who yelled at me. if i didn’t, it probably would have punched her out.

      1. pixiedust8

        Trust me, I understand!

  23. BB

    wow. didn’t you start the year displaced by a leak in your home? i know you love real estate projects, but good grief. a weaker woman would have folded long ago. cheering you on from the sidelines! xox.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i did. we have a flood in our apartment. good news is that piece is fine, just the ground floor where i had built the pop-up apartment and my office. trust me, i’d fold if i could. totally sucks.

  24. pointsnfigures

    Uff Da (the Scandinavian version of Oy)

    1. Gotham Gal

      good to know.