Downtown Manhattan: Five Days Post Sandy

I ran over the bridge today and into downtown Manhattan. This is my usual running route, but my goodness are things ever different down there right now. I did a 10 mile run and stopped along the way to take some pictures. These aren’t the best pictures as I was using my phone, but they should get some info across. Anyway, I figured some people might be curious as to what things look like down there five days after Sandy. I know I was.

This is along the East River, right below the Brooklyn Bridge. Trees down, rocks moved, giant planters overturned. The boardwalk was uprooted in some spots.

Many of the buildings downtown were shut while generators worked to pump water from them. An area whose soundtrack is usually sirens and horns, adopted the hum of hundreds of generators.

One of the hardest hit areas was right around the Staten Island Ferry landing. They are still managing the flooding. Water was being pumped out into the street.

Below is a shot of the WTC construction site. Still a great deal of water being pumped out.

But if you look straight up, you’d have no idea. Look at the sky! The blue sky and clouds added to the surreal nature. On the street, there is water and trash and a lot of darkness as most are still without power. The whole experience was just crazy. I can’t even begin to explain.

Again along the East River, right below the Brooklyn Bridge. Trash and dirt line the streets and people are out trying to do whatever they can to clean it up.

Seaport is usually bustling with people. Not today. Most of the businesses were flooded. Much of it remains boarded up. Truly strange sight.

Verizon building appears to have taken a kick to the face as well.

Lastly, Chinatown. I can’t even begin to tell you how emotional and strange that was. Chinatown is usually a big ol’ MESS of people, annoyingly so. There are thousands upon thousands of people roaming the streets on any given day. Not now. And businesses are without power. Many shop owners sat outside with spoiled food, looking kind of just lost. It was heartbreaking. Seeing how badly businesses all over NYC were hit by this hurricane, well, it’s just devastating.

I didn’t get many shots of the emptiness, the surreal nature of Chinatown because I was too busy wrapping my head around it. This is the only shot I got.


A few more things: The ING NYC Marathon will still be taking place and while I don’t agree with that decision, it is happening. So, if you plan on watching the race please, please don’t take it out on the runners. Please. I beg of you. I know many runners who are greatly conflicted by this, and most of them are lending every hand they can to help NYC recover. They are friends. And they know how emotional this is for people. It’s emotional for them too. A friend of mine, a mother of two from Queens, fears for her safety after reading the hatred being posted on NYRR’s Facebook page. It’s downright threatening.

If you’re opposed to the race, so much so you can’t see why someone might still run it, please stay home.

I think the race should have been postponed. But it’s happening and I can’t change that, neither can you. So be nice. That’s all I ask.

Lastly, volunteer. Support local NYC businesses. Donate whatever you can.


  1. For some reason, the idea that the marathon is still happening makes me unduly ragey. But never would I consider taking it out on the runners. I hope good things can come from it. And love to you and every single person in New York and New Jersey.


  2. Wow. So sad for NY. (And NJ, PA, CT, VA – all the places people have been displaced or deeply affected). I agree with you that they should postpone it for a later date, even though that is a sucky option too – it still has some benefits. And I am glad you asked people to be kind to the runners. It is not going to help if people are mean to one another right now.


  3. Thank you so much for posting these pictures and with your descriptions, it is like standing right there.

    All my love and prayers to every one impacted by Sandy.


  4. As a runner and a New Yorker (but not a marathoner – yet) I’m angry with the city’s decision not to postpone because people *will* take their frustrations out on the runners.

    By not postponing the race, Mayor Bloomberg has made targets of the runners as affluent athletes (or encroaching tourists) whom have a blasé indifference for community that is likely completely untrue.

    I fear this may be especially salient in the very first miles of the race as runners travel through storm-ravaged Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods.

    I hope I’m wrong. I’ll be cheering for the runners at mile 13.


    1. Shilo: I completely agree, which is why I will also be cheering at mile 11.


  5. Thank you for such a far-ranging, informative and moving report. This kind of citizen journalism is the best thing those of us far away have to understand what’s going on.


  6. Thank you for posting these photos for those of us who are seeing mostly media photos of the damage and devastation. It truly gives us a very personal up-close look at what you all are seeing every day. I know that the people in NE Ohio are following the news very closely and are so very sorry you’re going through this. Much love to all who are struggling to put their lives back together. (and we’re super happy the marathon has been cancelled for now).


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