So many people lost their homes & their lifelong belongings. For any native New-Jersian, I think one of the worst things to see pictures of was the Seaside Heights demolished. Seaside is a place that every single person in NJ went as a child, and in many cases brought their children back there later on. It is a NJ Shore landmark that is just demolished. The entire town was destroyed. It breaks my heart & sadly this was pretty much the same story in many NJ shore towns.
Long Island & Staten Island, and downtown New York City got hit particularly hard as well. Many people were forced to evacuate, lost homes & all their belongings, got flooded out or are still without power.
Here are some photos from Seaside Heights that particularly stood out to me...I am sorry I can't give credit from where I borrowed these from, I saved them a few days ago.
This used to be the rides & games pier.
Before & After
So, what happened in my town of Hopatcong?
We lost power for 11 days (just got power back this past weekend) and some still did not have power in our town until a day ago. 100% of our town had no power for about a week and half. Our poor town looked like a tornado went through here. There were trees, power lines, telephone poles and debris blocking roads on every street you turned down & laying on top of houses or through houses. I know at least 3 people who lost their homes due to trees crushing their house (but there were many more we saw as we drove around).
Here are some pictures my husband and I took the day after the hurricane hit.
Oops, can't get to our house this way...
On the street behind our house...
Leading up to our house...
This tree was blocking us from getting to our house...
At the shelter (our highschool) one night to get dinner
Everyday, we now see cleanup crews & linemen everywhere fixing things. Hooray!
What did we do for 2 weeks without power?
We were fortunate enough to be able to stay with close friends who had a generator from Tuesday through Thursday of the first week. At least we were able to have heat, hot water and believe it or not, watch TV since they had direct tv. We watched the post-storm coverage and stayed on top of what was going on around the state. I watched or listen to every Chris Christie press conference. I love our governor. He really did a great job communicating to his citizens during this disaster.
Then from Thursday to Sunday, we went to my inlaws in upstate NY who did not get hit by this storm at all. We were super lucky to talk to a family friend that loaned us a generator that we were able to bring home with us. We came home last Sunday and hooked up the generator. The generator was strong enough to let us have running water, heat and a few lights (and our fridge). So we were able to at least sleep in our own beds this past week. As far as work goes, that was a bit tougher. I work from home, so I had to relocate my PC to my friend's house to work (luckily they got their power & Internet back way before we did!). Julianna's daycare provider had a generator for her house and we were able to drop her off all of last week.
Some other random thoughts...
The gas lines sucked bad. For the first week, there was easily a 1-2 hour wait to get gas simply for the fact that most gas stations did not have power and/or gas supply. A gas station would open up for 3 hours and then have to shut down once they ran out of gas. My husband worked after the storm and he had to wait in line for 2 hours twice in one day to get gas. It was horrible. I was very young when the gas shortage happened in the 70's but I do remember being in my friend's car waiting in line for gas. It reminded me of that...
Thank goodness for Smartphones and social media. Without that, we wouldn't have been able to find out what was going on around us. We were able to find out open gas stations, open roads, closed roads, and other storm related coverage through our phones. I don't know what we would have done without our phones.
Julianna and Pepper fared through the whole thing pretty well, except for the fact Julianna was scared of the noise the generator was making when we were home. We kept having to hold her and tell her it was going to be OK and reassure her over & over.
Many food stores were closed or running on generator for several days. I went into Target a couple days after the hurricane, and it was dark, running on generator with no cold foods. The shelves were empty and people's carts were overflowing with food like it was the end of the world. It was a little scary to see this kind of behavior. Milk or other cold items were hard to come by anywhere for quite a few days. I guess all those people I pegged as "crazies" that run out before the storm and buy bread, milk & eggs were right all along!
In the days after the storm, we drove around our town and couldn't believe the number of down telephone poles, trees & wires on every street we turned down. I've never in my life seen anything like this. NJ is in for a very very long recovery. The NJ shore will never be the same. Ever.
Overall, I can't complain about anything we went through after seeing the loss & devastation in South NJ, Long Island, Staten Island and Lower Manhattan. At least we were lucky enough to have our house and not lose anything. I can't imagine what those people who lost everything are going through.
Unrelated... I have been in a weird mood lately... I just have not been in the mood to pick up my Canon camera. I don't know why, I just don't have the desire. It's been almost 4 weeks - and I just look at it sitting in the camera bag unsure of when I will pick it up next. I guess everyone goes through these things. I am going through something bigger & greater right now, so I'm sure it's connected. I'll fill you all in another time....