By Vladimir Brezina
So, Hurricane Irene has come and gone.
In Manhattan—certainly in our corner of the Upper East Side—she hardly happened. Yes, there was quite a lot of rain (in Central Park, almost 7 inches), but not all that much wind. Walking round the Central Park Reservoir yesterday afternoon, I didn’t see a single tree down. (As compared, for instance, to the hundreds brought down almost exactly two years ago by a single violent thunderstorm, the scars of which are still visible.) There were torn leaves scattered everywhere, and the Reservoir was much fuller than usual. But that’s it.
In the rest of Manhattan, too, reporters were hard pushed to show anything really dramatic. The water lapping over the seawall at the Battery was shown over and over.
As a result, New Yorkers feel let down, and worse. The readers’ comments in the New York Times are running heavily against Mayor Bloomberg for ordering major precautions—massive evacuations, a shut-down of the entire transportation system—that, according to the Monday morning quarterbacks, were an absurd overreaction that was obviously motivated by the Mayor’s desire to compensate for his underreaction to last winter’s snowstorm. And where do we get a refund for the two lost days on our Metrocard?
Be that as it may, that’s taking a very narrow view of how catastrophic Irene in fact was.