Tuesday, July 25, 2006


In case you haven't heard, our dear neighborhood has experienced severe power losses for the past week. (I've also received evidence that it is not the little hunky-dory diversity paradise I alluded to in my previous post over a month ago, but that's another story.) Although things are much better now, a thousand people are still without power today, going on Week Two. If you need the details from a news source, go here.

We were fortunate: our electricity did not disappear, but we did lose our phone, internet, and cable TV for five days (thank you, RCN! I'm namin' names now.) In fact, it seemed almost a conspiracy to keep us from getting any work done during regular business hours, as the services were magically restored at 5 p.m. Friday almost on the dot.

Our little shopping district, 31st Street and Ditmars (which the Brits would call "the high street"), was devastated. The Key Food was closed. So was the Rock, our gym (not that I've set foot in there for several months, but I really was going to start up again). The post office. Even the Starbucks. CVS was open, lines long as ever, thanks to a dumpster-sized generator they had apparently rented for the duration. Our health food store, which we patronize quite religiously, was still digging out on Friday. I hope they survive this setback.

The neighborhood has been crawling with Con Edison trucks all week, scrambling to at least look like they're trying to fix this disaster. No manhole unopened, no block without jackhammers tearing into pavement to search for decrepit cables lurking in tangles, ancient cobras poised to strike, burn, melt.

Saturday night I came home from my friend Lee's art opening at Westbeth Gallery to find a truck parked on the sidewalk in front of the corner store, lights flashing as if anyone could miss it. I hope they found what they needed. By morning they were gone.

On Sunday we got out of the city, to Bear Mountain State Park in Rockland County. Played frisbee, rode the merry-go-round, ate ice cream, and rented a rowboat, which Bob very skillfully navigated around Hessian Lake. Then had dinner at Schades in lovely Highland Falls (home of West Point).

When we arrived home with two soundly sleeping children, the answering machine was blinking (a sight we had just started getting used to after the long dialtone-less dry spell). It was a lovely message from our dear benevolent Con Edison asking us to call them (and doubtless wait on hold for hours) to let them know if we had power. "Con Edison cares about your health," the recorded female voice said.

I hit Erase. Thank you, Con Ed!