Friends In High Places

Nov 05

So. What’s Your Hurricane Sandy Story?

rosanna2Mine starts with a bolt out of the blue, literally, which looked like lightning but was the Con Ed substation exploding on 14th street, 10 blocks away.

Spoiler Alert: “Con Ed” and “exploding” in the same sentence is not a good omen. Sure enough, plunged into darkness moments later, we went madly searching for the emergency kit in the depths of the overstuffed front closet (Is there any other kind?) cobbled together after the blackout of 2003.

So, armed with candles, a flashlight and (hallelujah) a transistor radio, enough food in the fridge to last a few days—although not, alas, indoor plumbing—we attempted to tough it out. Until we heard that it could be a week before power was restored, and we were able to reach a friend uptown who would take us in. It’s good to have friends in high places.

We packed a bag and walked down 14 floors in the dark, balancing our light luggage (by the 10th floor it didn’t seem all that light), the flashlight, and the Omaha steaks we couldn’t bear to throw out, then piled into a car and fled North where, mercifully, there was light. Once we settled in, we sipped single malt Scotch and endlessly watched our favorite anchorperson, Rosanna Scotto, who helped us through this ordeal with her cheerful energy and New York savvy.

Nobody Doesn’t Like Rosanna . . .

I mean, really, how does that woman do it? She’s on Good Morning New York for 3 hours every weekday, doing serious reporting, interviews, chit chatting with the hunky weather guy, indulging in juicy gossip, and gamely doing things her eager beaver co-anchor Dave Price, a guy you learn to love too, goads her into—including riding a bicycle wearing a tight skirt and letting him test his skills for the next Wife Carrying Contest. (They aren’t married. He hurt his back.)

This isn’t her first hurricane: she was on the air for 12 hours straight for 2 days during Irene.  One of The Real Housewives of New York, who, of course, are neither real nor housewives, says we should never underestimate the power of a woman born in and raised in New York. Was Rosanna, I wonder? I was born in Brooklyn. Does that count?

But I digress.

What I was trying to say was how comforting it is during a disaster like this that the show goes on, that our favorite personalities, like our gal Rosanna, are there for us, not denying that things are bad, but making us feel better by their very presence. The thing is, we develop real ties to the celebrities we like: psychologists say that we can feel “closer” to some movie or TV stars than many of our acquaintances, and even, dare I say it, members of our own family.

We think of these celebrities as our friends (in high places) even though we’ve never met them. (Think about it: that’s why millions were freaked by Princess Diana’s death.) So when someone like Rosanna talks to us in a crisis, we feel that everything will be okay.

Even The Pols Were Good!

Cuomo acted, well, presidential (Am I right?), keeping a cool head and stating the obvious but often overlooked fact that “Climate change is real.” Okay, that doesn’t help us at the moment, but wouldn’t it be nice if our leaders started taking this warming thing a little more seriously? Like for the future?

SNLChristieChris Christie gained my respect, if not my undying love, for his show of genuine emotion about the devastation of the Jersey shore. And Obama was as cool as ever, but warmer than usual. That’s a good thing.

And then there was Saturday Night Live . . .


I couldn’t imagine what they were going to do with the disaster that was Hurricane Sandy without seeming totally insensitive.

They pulled it off.

SNLSignLadyThe opening skit was spot on. If you live in the city, you can’t have missed the famous Mayor Bloomberg conferences featuring that super-animated sign language interpreter with the wonderfully outsized gestures and goofy facial expressions, making hizzoner, by comparison, look more decaffeinated than usual, if that is possible. Even if you live in Montana, you probably know about Lydia Callis, now known as The Sign Language Lady, who has become an Internet sensation.

Well, SNL nailed the whole Bloomberg thing. Then they took on Chris Christy who, in this version of the truth, also had a signer, a Snooki wannabe with big hair and equally big gestures. Hysterical.

I hope that no one will take offense at this blog (although someone will), because of course I realize that many, many people had to suffer through more, much more than the inconvenience of pouring water (I had somehow thought to fill the bathtub before the water ran out) into the toilet (talk about a royal flush!) and living out of a suitcase in a luxury uptown apartment with breathtaking views of the city. The uptown part. With lights.

But still, I have some helpful advice for Storms In The City:

   •Always have a flashlight, a transistor radio, and batteries in the closet by the front door.
   •As soon as a substation blows up, immediately fill the bathtub and lots of pots of water.
   •And if you get to dry land, so to speak, turn on New York One to see the mayor and The Sign Lady. Then go Channel Five and let Rosanna help you cope.
  •A Scotch is nice too.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


on this Amazon link
for a copy of the book,

I Can’t Believe I’m   
Not Bitter!

For another storm story 
right here on the blog  
about Hurricane Irene:   
Hurricane In The Hamptons   


One comment

  1. This has navigated right into my heart.

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