After last year’s nearly apocalyptic warnings gave way to the less-than-apocalyptic Hurricane Irene, residents of New York’s tony West Village remained practically unfazed by the impending “Frankenstorm” on Monday. Joggers on the West Side Highway braved the rain and wind in the afternoon, sporting little more than shorts and T-shirts, while parents emerged from their brownstones with their excited young kids who skipped down the cobblestone streets in colorful rain gear.
“I think the news tends to blow these things out of proportion,” one Village resident told The Daily Beast as she emerged from her local bodega—not with flashlights and batteries in tow, but with cupcake mix to entertain her 6-year-old daughter at home. “We’re just trying to be productive so we don’t go stir-crazy,” she said. “Everyone was in a similar frenzy last year before Irene, but even if this storm is worse I don’t think we’re going to be off the grid for very long.”
People remained out and about in Battery Park City around 1:30 p.m., ignoring Michael Bloomberg’s orders to evacuate the low-lying community (“Zone A”!) where severe flooding is expected.
“We live on the 9th floor so we’re not worried,” said Terrance, 28, and his girlfriend, Cailey, 26, who were calmly walking back to their apartment on South End Avenue with beer and paper towels.
The scene was a bit more frantic a few blocks south at the Gateway Plaza. The residence's general manager Gregory Tumminia said he was taking extra precautions and had been warned by Con Edison that the building might lose power around 5:00 p.m. “We’re securing all the furniture at dock entrances, ensuring that everything is tethered down and covering electrical grates so water can’t infiltrate at a quick pace,” Tumminia told The Daily Beast, adding that more than 50 percent of the building’s residents had evacuated.
Meanwhile, construction workers were frantically unloading sandbags outside the Goldman Sachs building and piling them up in front of the entrance of the financial firm’s sleek, steel-and glass headquarters. Across the street at the World Trade Center site, where Bloomberg expressed concerns about flooding on Sunday, a few workers could be seen tying down construction materials.
Thrill-seekers at South Cove Park climbed over yellow caution tape blocking off the Hudson River promenade to take pictures of the barely visible Statue of Liberty and rolls of waves crashing against the piers. But by 2:30, as winds began picking up and water spilled over into the streets, police were on the scene urging onlookers to leave the area.
“There’s a reason the area is blocked off,” one officer told The Daily Beast. “It’s not that bad yet but it’s going to get much worse.”