Sandy Cripples The East Coast

10.29.12

As Sandy Heads for NYC, Brooklyn Locals Jog, Ogle—and Get Drunk

Ignoring warnings to hunker down, determined New Yorkers go about their business—and hit the bars. Eliza Shapiro reports from the scene.

Bicyclists and runners in neon jogging gear climbed over police barricades and ignored “park closed” signs in Brooklyn Bridge Park to continue their usual workouts as the wind and rain pushed them back. Young parents in Barbour jackets and Wellington rain boots wheeled strollers to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to storm-watch with their toddlers. “Hang on!” one young girl shouted to her brother, “we’re gonna get blown away!”

Boredom seemed to be a bigger fear than power outages or flying debris among the residents of brownstone Brooklyn.

Jenna Kirk took her dog for a blustery walk along Pier 6 in Brooklyn Heights. She wanted to make sure her dog got some exercise. “I’m going to do nothing and enjoy my day today,” she said.

Elijah Brown, 23, was staying with a friend in Brooklyn after he had been evacuated from his home in Virginia. “I’m going to stay in and sleep and eat today,” said Brown, watching the water rise at Pier 6. And I’ll do some homework."

Other Brooklynites wasted no time stocking up on the ultimate boredom cure: alcohol. “Yesterday was as busy as the day before Thanksgiving,” said Alex Ward, manager of the Heights Chateau liquor store. “People want to hang out and be comfortable. They’re taking advantage of the possibility of just hunkering down for the day.”

A few stores down, Pete’s Ale House was opening for business at 11 a.m. and preparing for a busy day. “We get slammed every time there’s a storm,” said a bartender who gave his name as David. Signs on the door advertised a “Hurricane Rum Punch” drink special.

A woman who gave her first name as Carol was buying a large bottle of Red Tail Merlot at the Michael Towne Wine and Spirits store a few blocks away. “I’m going to hang out today and start drinking at five,” she said.

“We get slammed every time there’s a storm,” said a bartender who gave his name as David.

“We’ve been very, very busy,” said Michael Correra, the store’s owner. “Everyone has nowhere to go and nothing to do, so they’ll just eat and drink.”

As the wind and rain picked up, neighbors traded tips for places to get a good cup of coffee—Starbucks was closed, people frantically reported—and got in a last workout at the Heights Casino, a tony squash club, and at a nearby Equinox.

While people sat down for cheese plates and cappuccinos at a local Le Pain Quotidien, not everyone was keeping calm. “My bathtub is full of water. Every pot and pan in my house is full of water,” said resident Sheila Gowan as she headed back to her apartment.

Families began to clear the Promenade by early afternoon, but Anne-Charlotte Mornceau and Cedric Jacquet, tourists from Paris, snapped pictures of the Manhattan skyline and tried to make the best of their vacation day gone awry.

“We’re stuck here,” they said. “We don’t even have a TV where we’re staying. We’re just crossing our fingers for tomorrow.”