The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
November 7, 2012

The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

The cleanup effort from “Superstorm Sandy” continues. As we mentioned in our last post, city parks were closed in the immediate aftermath but the good news is most are now reopened. The pace of recovery is—for obvious reasons—uneven, but parts of the city are more or less back to normal. Among the few positive outcomes seems to be an active dialogue about how to protect the city from such storms in the future.

Probably the low point in our post-superstorm outdoor excursions was when our daughter Halina, pedaling along on training wheels on the top level of Riverside Park, began counting all the downed trees.

“Sixteen dead trees!” she announced. “Oh my gosh! There’s another one!”

And so it went, block after block after block along the only part of the park that was not closed off due to the danger of falling branches. This, of course, means most of the playgrounds are also off-limits, meaning that parents who make regular use of them have to figure out alternatives. Based upon our reconnaissance, parents are quite ingenious in locating alternatives.

Among the busiest spots was the area around the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument at 89th and Riverside Drive. The marble esplanade fronting the monument makes a great spot for playing catch or tag. Halina and her brother, Riley, chased each other endlessly around the flagpole on the west side overlooking the Hudson River. The site sits close to the center of Riverside Park, which stretches from 120th street to 79th street. Chalk-drawn evidence suggested that kids have identified this as an ideal location to play hopscotch or draw mazes.

An Unfortunate Break

Schools were closed last week, so parents all over the city were figuring out how to handle an unplanned vacation. Here are some tips for future reference (with hope that we don’t ever need them):

• As the above information about Riverside Park suggests, think peripheries. As of now, you cannot take your kids into Central Park, but the sidewalks lining the park are open. This not only provides long, uninterrupted space to walk, push a stroller, scoot, or bike—but kids can also look into the park to survey the damage. What they will absorb is a big real-world lesson on Climate Change.
• Also think monuments, memorials, and campuses. In our neighborhood Grant’s Tomb and Columbia University are great options if you’re in search of big spaces.
• Assess your neighborhood. Walk around your local blocks and see how many trees have disappeared and businesses are closed because the transportation system is still crippled. If there was ever a “teachable moment” for New York City children, this is it.

Though it was already obvious, the storm made it abundantly clear how much we New Yorkers rely upon public transportation to get around. From our home in Morningside Heights, our recently posted trip to Green-Wood Cemetery would not have happened without the subway. For this reason we have first-hand, post-storm knowledge only of our neighborhood. 

A great website for our neighbors southeast, A Child Grows in Brooklyn, suggests parents take kids to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The writers also mention that the Prospect Park Zoo reopened this past Saturday.

We’d love to hear more from parents in all five boroughs, so please send updates and information on what you’ve been doing since Hurricane Sandy tossed our lives up into the air. 


 

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