I started writing this post waiting for my shuttle to the Airport. I came down on Friday August 26th to cover the Afropunk Festival, but on the way to Buffalo to catch my flight, I got an email that the festival was cancelled due to Hurricane Irene. I called the company I had booked my flight / hotel with and I couldn't cancel or get a refund because it was a 'natural disaster.' I would have to pay to reschedule and would lose some money. I decided to carry on anyway. And while I had a pretty good time - lots of walking around and I was able to hang out with a few friends - I ended up spending more money, as my flight got cancelled on Monday, I had to pay for an extra night at the hotel, and lost a day of work - and also, lost work and potential pictures for my book because I didn't cover the festival for the publication I had been hired by. SHIT.
About Hurricane Irene: I was staying in Lower Manhattan and went down to the water on Saturday afternoon. It was dark and rainy, but not bad at all. I actually sat for awhile and looked over to Brooklyn. Saturday night was pretty bad, heavy rain and wind. All the stores had essentially closed down by Saturday afternoon and the trains stopped running at 12, so I felt a bit trapped. On Sunday, I woke up to the sun peeking out, there was light rain and the temperature was gorgeous. about 10:00 I ventured back to the waterfront and there were about 100 people ( mostly tourists) hanging around, taking pictures of essentially nothing - because there was nothing to shoot. The above picture was taken on Sunday at about 10:30.
On Sunday afternoon I walked over to the World Trade Center area and then to Battery Park. The sun was shining, and despite it being extremely windy, the weather was slightly humid but pleasant. New Yorkers were out in full force, running, walking their dogs and cycling. You wouldn't have known that there was a 'hurricane' just hours before. The subways were down and food was extremely scarce, as only a small handful of drugstores and independent cafe's open.
On Monday morning, I got up early and double-checked to see if my flight was still running and surprise, surprise, it was cancelled. They re-booked me on the same flight leaving on Tuesday, and unless I wanted to pay about $500.00 to book a flight on one of the handful of airlines that were flying that day, I had to spend an extra night in New York, shelling out an addition $200+. Luckily for me, I was able to hook up with my friend Phil Freeman, who is running things for Roadrunner.com, for lunch and at night, took the (now open) subway to Brooklyn to hang out with my man Fred from Brooklyn Vegan who took me to this club to see an incredible evening of music of solo performances by Mick Barr (Krallice), Kevin Hufnagel (Dysrhythmia, Gorguts) and Andrew Hock (Castevet). I'd met Mick before at MDF last year when Krallice played, and also because he is dating the wonderful Justina, who is an incredibly talented photographer whom I've known for a few years. It was an awe-inspiring show. I would highly encourage you to check out Krallice and Mick's solo work.
Tuesday? That was pretty much a shitshow. I got my flight but to make a long story short, it took me 13 hours to get from NYC to Toronto, thanks to a horrible bus experience. I've never been looking forward to getting back home in my life! But I'm back. Sigh.
Anyway, the trip was interesting. I love NYC and always have a good time there, but I'm out a substantial amount of money and missed a lot of opportunities that would have been extremely beneficial for my career. But I can't be totally dejected, as NYC had to take these steps to protect the city, and as the customer service person at Expedia told me, you can't fight Mother Nature.