The lights in the house by the Parkway just came on, but major portions of the Northeast, including people a few miles from this spot (and virtually all of NYC) are still without power.
It was nuts.
I was outside taking a bullshit and smoke break when it happened at about 4:10 Eastern Daylight Time, although, at that moment, I had no idea that anything was wrong. I returned to the building, and for reasons I will not bore you with, I went up on the elevator to the floor above my office. When I got off the elevator, I noticed that the emergency lights were on (I now assume that I must have been the last person to use the elevator, running off emergency generator power, before it was locked down). It was one of the great “DUH” moments, when I asked, whether anyone knew if the power was off on the sixth floor as well. I soon learned that not only the sixth floor was without power, but that a good part of the northeastern United States was in the dark.
Like everyone else, I packed up my stuff and headed for home. There was a good deal of traffic on the Garden State Parkway, although less than usual, owing to the number of cars that were still mired down in NYC trying to navigate across town without traffic lights. The traffic did, however, back up at those Parkway exits where the local traffic lights near the exit ramps were not working. Strangely enough, even with all the traffic, everyone was unusually courteous. We were all in the same boat. I was pleased and relieved to hear on the local radio that this mess was not the work of terrorists, something that sadly is always in the back of our minds around here. There will be time after everyone gets lights again to sort out exactly what happened and why.
I should note here that New Jersey has its priorities in order, as ALL the toll plazas on the Garden State Parkway had plenty of power (obviously from emergency generators) to guide motorists through the toll-collecting maze. The airport may have been closed, but EZ Pass was up and running.
Upon arriving home, I learned that, while all of New York and parts of other states were in the dark, half of my town (not far from Newark Airport) had lights, while half (my half, of course) did not. It reminded me of the time as a kid when I actually saw it rain on one side of the street and not the other.
With temperatures in the nineties, I put on a pair of shorts and a tank top and did what every civilized person would do under such circumstances. I readied a bunch of candles, poured myself a couple drinks of quality bourbon, and brought a book outside to read while there still was light. Just about the time the light faded, our power came back on. I turned on the television to see the dramatic images of this area taken from a helicopter. The juxtaposition of the lighted areas in parts of New Jersey against the vast darkness across the Hudson River was striking and something I will not soon forget. It reminded me of the great power blackout of the sixties.
So, here I am, slightly fogged from the excellent bourbon, happy to have lights, and hoping they stay on, but concerned for the millions who still are in still in the dark and those who are still out there battling to get home.
Quite an adventure, this.