AUC Alumna weathers down Tropical Storm Irene in New York

Sunday, August 28th, 2011
Manhattan view from Battery Park

The storm approaches Manhattan as seen from Battery Park

My husband and I moved to NYC four weeks ago, leaving our hometowns in Lebanon and Egypt behind and naively thinking we've escaped the Middle Eastern drama.

Unfortunately, we caught Mother Nature in a very bad mood, first came the earthquake last week and now the hurricane.

Thursday 25: When we first heard about it, we thought it's never going to get to Manhattan, this just never happens and well, NYers are known to be arrogant and let's just say we were not taking the news seriously....but that didn't last long! You see we live in Battery Park City - A name I am sure most of you are familiar with since it'a all over the news.. YES we live in zone A!!

Friday 26: So, just to brief you on the the sudden change of events, we heard Mayor Bloomberg's speech and the moment we found out we had to evacuate by Saturday afternoon maximum, everything suddenly turned into "The Day After Tomorrow"

Packing improtant documents, useful clothes and objects, grocery shopping and etc.

Saturday 27: Migration to Midtown and Uptown Manhattan (North, closer to Time Square and Central Park) began before noon.

The skies were grey, gloomy and on/off rain, the complete opposite of the day before which was beautiful warm and sunny (guess that's what they call "The calm before the storm"). We arrived to our hotel on 6th Avenue around 12:30pm by cab, by then the MTA (subway) was closed for the first time ever, but tourists and locals were behaving very normally... jogging, shopping, taking pictures and eating out.

Sunday 2:41am: Fourteen hours later, the rain got heavier, but it's still tolerable. People have gone from a semi state of panic to wondering if Bloomberg might have exaggerated a bit.... we know one thing for sure Miss Irene is fashionably late, the peak is expected to be around 8am, until then... we're waiting!

Sunday 8am: Irene weakens and is downgraded to a tropical storm.

Eiten Zeerban is a bilingual Egyptian TV Journalist with seven years of experience in TV (Anchor, Reporter and Producer), she worked at Rotana Music & Cinema TVs and graduated with an MA in TV and Digital Journalism from AUC, Spring 2010.


Mayor Bloomberg may be

Mayor Bloomberg may be compensating for the catastrophe he left the city to deal with last winter, in the blizzard of 2010, when snowplows took hours to reach some streets (not just backstreets) as snow continued to fall. It was a record-breaking snowstorm, and many criticized the mayor for his poor preparation, anticipation of the impact (which many meteorologists repeated on countless broadcasts), and the fact that he did not declare the incident a state of emergency, which would have granted the city federal money to deal with the situation. Money was an issue here, since many sanitation workers had recently been laid off and this was a form of protest. This time around however with hurricane Irene, the mayor decided to play it safe than to be sorry. If only this meticulous planning can be implemented across many potential natural disasters. Also, I would hardly call what is happening in the Middle East "drama." This mark a historical period in the Arab world; three tyrants have been disposed of already and people, after generations of oppression, are only beginning to realize their rights. I can only hope the same will take place in the U.S., where Americans plan to occupy Wall Street on Sept. 17. I suppose (and hope) the "drama" will never end.