Englishman in New York: Waiting for Irene

With a week in New York there’s always going to be new experiences, but preparing for a hurricane isn’t one you’d expect. After the earthquake which we didn’t feel, the talk of Irene took a while to take hold of our attention. Once the Mayor, the Governors of New York and New Jersey and finally the President had made televised addresses our attention was gripped.

New Yorkers seemed to go about their business in much the same way as Londoners. There’s a calm cynicism as mist people heed the warnings. Supermarkets were open throughout the night to meet demand but there wasn’t the crazy panic buying you’d maybe expect. Water and potato chips seemed to be the waiting for Irene staples but New Yorkers at Whole Foods on Columbus Circle supplemented the staples with sushi, Tibetan tofu rolls and coconut water.


In the beer aisle it’s just me and another guy calmly surveying our hurricane drinking choices. With the possibility of spending 72 hours indoors without the guarantee of any hotel services being available a few decent bottles were required. Having sampled the Coney Island Blockhead and Rogue Chipotle Ale earlier in the week I reverted to Californian and Japanese with Stone, Lagunitas and Hitachino with a Pretty Things thrown in for East Coast balance. It’s enough to ride out the storm but not be incapable should any evacuation be required.


Supplies in hand we head out to Columbus Circle. Queues are forming to get into the store and the missus has the satisfied look of I told you so. I was resistant to spending possibly hours in the Market. In the end I should have known she’s pretty much 95% right in most situations.

With the MTA (buses, trains and subways) shutting down on mass at midday on Saturday there was just enough time for breakfast and further stocking up at Barney Greengrass (bialys and herring being essential hurricane food) before heading back to the hotel to hunker down with a muted CNN and a good book.

Englishman in New York: Waiting for Irene