New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, August 29, 2011


My father used to find news coverage of snowfall in Connecticut to be comical. Coming from northern Maine, one of the most inhospitable winter environments imaginable, the warnings, preparations, and particularly the news coverage of snow seemed rather ridiculous in comparison.
On Saturday at Union Square, I had an encounter with a woman of similar mind - originally from Florida, she considered the concern to be overblown.

Admittedly, the city is a complex web of services and systems with an enormous population and businesses. For a natural disaster to occur in New York City, the financial impact as well as human suffering is tremendous. So it is prudent to prepare.

The problem, however, with "better safe than sorry" is that the cost of preemptive measures is very high and would seem like a huge waste if a storm proves to be much less damaging than expected. The Mayor Bloomberg administration was criticized for its lack of adequate preparation for the blizzard of December 26, 2010. Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith told the City Council, "We owe you and all New Yorkers for that lack of performance our administration’s apology and my personal promise not to let it happen again."

The city came well prepared for this storm, although many felt that the level of preparation was overdone. Subways and buses were shut down. 370,000 residents were placed in mandatory evacuation zones. By Sunday, the city was the quietest that I have ever seen. With workers without public transportation, business openings were impossible.

Not to minimize the real damage that the storm caused or the personal misfortune, but in hindsight, where vision is 20/20, Irene has blown over and looks overblown...

Photo Notes: Top - various locations around Greenwich Village. Center - Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island. Bottom - Washington Square North.

Related Posts: White by Design 3, We've Got Skiing Too, Friends Part 1 and Part 2, Brooding


Steffe said...

Still as you say it's better to be prepared.

Traci said...

I really don't think it was overblown.

The subways and buses shut down because they had to protect the infrastructure. Many of the subway rail yards are in flood zones and needed to be evacuated to tracks on high ground. The buses needed to not be on the streets when trees were coming down. Not to mention the broad side of a bus is a big windcatcher.

Employees cannot get to work when the MTA is shut down, so stores were closed.

How is this overblown?

lois eisenberg said...

"Over Blown" or "Over Slowm" the precautions were needed, and the
decisions to over blow the magnitude
of "Irene" was correct!!!!

Cerulean Bill said...

There are always people who will carp. Many of them are a certain political type who are blessed with exceedingly acute retrovision. I don't LIKE finding out they spent millions and didn't have to, but I like it a lot less when they don't, and should have -- ie, Katrina.

Sue K said...

Well, it is 11:00pm Monday night and we just got our electric back on 2 hours ago. Here in Long Island we were not so lucky. Though my house was spared, the damage in my neighborhood was pretty bad. My parents, who are just shy of 90 years old are still without lights. I don't think it was overblown at all and the damage I've seen on our streets shows what could have happened in NYC. You were just lucky. We only suffered living in the dark without hot water and the luxuries that electricity provides us. Our phones were down and our cell phones exhausted. We couldn't even get our cars out of our garages. We've learned how incredibly dependent we are on electric. Not being able to make or receive phone calls or get any news is frustrating. At least we had an old boom box with radio. But all this was nothing compared to what I've seen happen to the homes here. The damage is way worse than what we suffered. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, and I think NYC did well to take the precautions they did. It could have been so much worse, but at least you were prepared for it. You came out ahead!

Rosilee said...

Better to be safe than sorry!