The East Village is still blacked out. I’m writing this on Katie’s laptop on battery power via dialup.
At around 4:00 yesterday the lights went down in the apt to a eerie feeble brown, then disappeared entirely. I thought it was the just the apt and went downstairs where people were starting to gather on the streets, listening to the car radios and sharing information. One such group was at 3rd and Ave. A, fifty people listening to a blasting car radio news report tell us that the entire eastern seaboard was blown out. The vibe on the street was a mixture of NYC crisis, friendliness, excitement and wariness. Fears that this was another terrorist attack disappeared fairly quickly.
By five most of the larger grocery stores were closing. I went to the smaller place on 6th and B, which was full of people roaming the isles with candles and lighters, helping each other find stuff. I got bread peanut butter chips candles matches etc, and noticed the items going fastest were beer and ice.
Walking back to 4th and D I noticed large groups of sweaty bedraggled people who obviously walked a long way from work since the entire subway system was out. Local bodegas were giving out free Italian ices to kids on Ave C, and people were already starting to set up lawn furniture on the sidewalks and dig into the beer.
The timing wasn’t right for Katie to be stuck on the subway, but I was worried that she could have been trapped in an elevator. She arrived home 20 minutes later, glad to see I wasn’t trapped underground somewhere.
We broke out a transistor radio which is still our only source of news besides word of mouth.
Everyone in Katie’s Building collected out in the back and basically had a big party where many of us met for the first time. Normally we would just pass in the hallway. It was hot but quite festive. You could see stars.
The sounds of cicadas and crickets mixed with the sirens. Much different city sound mix with no power! Later it became one of the loudest nights I remember in the building- a huge block party on D and 5th with 50 Cent and Sugar Hill gang blasting from car stereos.
The darkened city was beautiful, lit by passing car headlights and candles.
Katie woke me at 6 this morning to see the no electricity-dawn.
Today: reading and listening to the transistor radio. We made a great brunch by lighting the gas stove with matches. Eggs, grilled bread and French press coffee (we put the eggs and milk in the freezer early.)