Traversing Manhattan right now is a remarkable thing, especially if one heads in a particular north-south direction. Following Governor Cuomo’s press conference at the mouth of the Hugh L. Carey/Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, The Observer did just that (we were hotfooting it to the next press event at the 69th Regimental Armory). What we found along the way was at times surprising, but more often than not comforting, a reminder that life will indeed go on. One of these days.
What was most striking is how devoid of life Lower Manhattan is, particularly around the Financial District and Chinatown. Canal Street is eerily empty. But the farther along you get, the more you see. The sheer number of restaurants and bars in the Village operating by candlelight is astonishing. And even all the way downtown, you notice things you wouldn’t expect, like tourists making the de rigueur pilgrimage to the Wall Street Bull, where a City Line tour bus happens to pull up. Also, the lights are back on at Zuccotti Park, while they are out across the street. Kind of seems like a waster of precious power, but it is also a refreshing reminder that life goes on.
By the time you get to Midtown, though, it’s life as usual, with crowds everywhere—including in front of the Shake Shack in Times Square. And waiting, sometimes an hour or two, in front of Grand Central to cram onto one of those forlorn buses that have replaced the subway back to Brooklyn. So the Sandy tremors have not totally dissipated.