Monday night, at 11:00 pm sharp in Jersey City, New Jersey, the lights went out and stayed off until last night at 7:43pm. That’s three days without power or heat. Hurricane Sandy was a massively nasty beast, and we’re just now starting the recovery process. We are hungry and scavenging for food. Supermarkets are closed. Few places have power.
I learned during the blackout — by listening to my battery-powered portable radio — that if a refrigerator has been without power for more than four hours, the food must be considered rotten and thrown away because E. coli is beginning to grow. I always thought the rule was “if it felt cold, go ahead and eat it.” We decided to listen to the experts in Public Health and we threw out everything in our freezer and refrigerator when we awoke in the morning.
We were lucky that we kept our water and gas, so we could take hot showers and drink from the faucet in the dark. We had lots of batteries and candles, too. We’re part of a four block area that actually has power right now. One block away from us in every direction are houses and businesses still in the dark. It’s bizarre. The key to knowing who has power and who does not is the traffic light signals — if you see green, yellow and red, the area has power. If those lights are dark, the area is without power.
Comcast cable is currently unavailable. When I called this morning, they told me out of 240 modems in our area, 239 were dead; the only one working was at the Jersey City Comcast Central Office, and they were using it to try to stay online and process outage reports. The order in which Comcast services will be restored is: Phones first, then everyone’s cable television, then the internet. I was given an “I don’t want to say this” answer of, perhaps, this coming “Sunday” for full Comcast “Triple Play” restoration. Based on my exploratory walk this morning, I don’t think the Comcast Central Office has power yet. Most of the Heights are without power and all of Journal Square is also still, amazingly, in the dark.
A worker at the Journal Square PATH station told us this morning that service from Journal Square to 33rd Street in Manhattan MIGHT be ready by next Thursday — six days from now! — and that service to the World Trade Center from Journal Square would be ONE MONTH away from happening! Let’s hope those estimates are unofficial guesses and that PATH train service will be restored much sooner than those predictions. Busses are supposed to be running from JSQ to NYC, but timetables and reliability of the routes are muddy and unclear.
We are pretty wan and wasted and worn out, but we know it could have been much worse. Our neighborhood has a lot of wind damage, but Sandy didn’t bring us much rain. Unlike Hurricane Irene last year, we didn’t get any inside water damage and that is a blessing.
Our internet connection is unreliable. I’m using my iPad as a hotspot for my main computer, but the going is molasses slow because everyone in my area is hitting the same Verizon cellphone tower — there’s no traditional wired internet working anywhere in Jersey City right now, so I will be fully back online as Comcast allows. It took me several hours just to get this article written, uploaded and published.
We have a bunch of hot new articles that are waiting for publication. We will return to full-blown Boles Blogs Network status soon!