New Yorkers on the Move Ahead of Hurricane Sandy


Subway Shutdown

Subways closed at 7 PM in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. Photo: Anna Cooperberg.

New Yorkers are always trying to get from point A to point B. But this afternoon, as the streets emptied and the supermarket aisles filled with people buying last-minute supplies, many were trying instead to get out of the city in advance of Hurricane Sandy. The National Weather Service predicts that New York City will feel effects of the storm, including rain and increasing wind, beginning late Sunday. In advance of that, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the subways would be closed at 7PM and buses at 9PM. Both incoming and outbound flights have been cancelled for through Monday, making getting out even harder.

Rachel Moskowitz, who lives part-time in New York, bought her bus ticket home to Washington, D.C. Sunday morning. “I just didn’t want to be stuck in New York for the next few days,” said Moskowitz, whose bus was scheduled to leave at 5PM. “I just graduated and I’m unemployed, and I’d rather be home with my family.” The line for the bus at 30th Street and Seventh Avenue stretched around the corner.

Times Square Crowds

The 42nd Street Shuttle at Times Square was squeezed full as people tried to get to Grand Central Station. Photo: Anna Cooperberg.

For some, the priority is to get out of low-lying areas, especially since Mayor Bloomberg’s order to evacuate Zone A, or the areas with the highest risk of flooding as a result of the hurricane’s storm surge. Sophie Butler and her friend visiting from London, Francesca Paling, decided to evacuate Butler’s apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and stay with a friend in Chelsea.

“It’s my birthday and we were supposed to be having friends for dinner, but we’re in an evacuation zone,” said Butler. Both feel that friends have been dramatic about “Frankenstorm,” by buying candles, matches and other supplies, but Paling has other worries. “Hopefully it won’t be [bad], because Fran’s flying out Tuesday morning,” said Butler. Paling continued, “I hope my flight will still be on.”

Not everyone is trying to get away in advance of the storm, though. “I’m coming in because of the storm,” said a banker in the Times Square subway station waiting for the 42nd Street Shuttle, who declined to have his name printed. “I know I don’t have work tomorrow, but if I have to go in on Tuesday or Wednesday, I want to make sure I can go,” he said. He is staying with his brother, who lives in Manhattan.