Hi friends/family/readers! I wanted to write a quick update to let you know that I am safe & dry! My posting schedule might be a bit off over the next week or two so please bear with me as NYC recoups from Hurricane Sandy. Also, I apologize in advance for the lengthiness of this post. Forewarning: There’s really not anything fashion-related in this post (besides a rolling rack).

xo Jessica

I live in “Zone A,” so unfortunately, I had to be evacuated by Sunday evening. The subways stopped running at 7pm Sunday night so I headed up to the Upper East Side in the afternoon. I stayed with a friend Sunday night and most of Monday, but had to move to a hotel Monday evening just an hour to two before Sandy made landfall. Scary to be alone in a hotel room on the 22nd floor while experiencing my first hurricane, but I was so lucky to have electricity, Internet, and television throughout the worst part of the storm.

I am so thankful to have gotten a hotel in the midst of the hurricane, but it came at a hefty price, even when booking through Expedia. On Monday morning, I made the economical decision to find a cheaper priced hotel for Monday night. I found a lower rate at a hotel nearby so I checked out of my hotel at 12 and had a few hours to kill before checking in to the new hotel at 3pm.

Here’s where things get extra interesting frustrating: Expedia was booking hotel rooms that weren’t actually available. So as I wandered around the city for 3 hours with all of my bags, thinking I had a guaranteed place to stay (I had even called to make sure they had power and Internet), hotels were filling up rapidly. Then check-in time came. And the hotel didn’t have my reservation. At that single hotel alone, Expedia had booked 25 unavailable rooms. I panicked and called Expedia to help me find a new hotel, but they basically told me I was shit out of luck. (You guessed it, I will NEVER be doing business with Expedia EVER again. I understand that accidents happen, but handling them in a poor manner? No thanks. Customer service is pretty high on my priority list. Blame it on my Nordstrom roots.)

I began walking in to hotels and checking for vacancy. I walked from 39th St. & 8th Ave. all the way back to my first hotel (Courtyard Marriott… highly recommended) at 53rd St. & 3rd Ave. (Still carrying my half-case of water, boxes of granola bars, flash light, extra batteries, etc.) When I left my apartment on Sunday, I was under the impression I was just going to be at my friend’s place on the UES until the storm passed, not stranded in midtown without a place to go.

Oops, missed a stop. I tried to book a hotel through Jetsetter because I was at the point of not carrying about prices, I just wanted somewhere to stay. It was raining, windy, and starting to get dark so I was anxious to get in to a room. I booked a rather expensive hotel, the Kitano, and walked there to find they didn’t have power. I better be getting that refund ASAP.

Once I got back to the Courtyard Marriott, I lost it. I broke down and began sobbing in the lobby like a crazy person. The nice employees gave me my own box of tissues and told me to hang around until I figured out a plan. Hilton had called all of their sister hotels in Manhattan, and even in Queens. Nothing available. Marriott did the same thing. Nada. I had checked every boutique hotel that came across my path, and every one that came up on Google. I stopped in to at least 25 hotels and probably called even more.

The problem was (and is) that half of Manhattan is out of power, including hotels. Anything south of 39th has a lack of electricity unless they are running by generator.

After I regained my composure in the lobby and charged my dying iPhone, I called my friend Sam, who welcomed me in to her apartment with open arms. She even made turkey chili for dinner!

I hate feeling like a charity case and I hate having to ask for help. This is definitely one of my character flaws, and I think it’s why I got so upset on Tuesday night. Most of my close friends are without power, too, and a few don’t even live in Manhattan. I didn’t really know who to turn to. I know this is a crappy time for most people and I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone by sleeping on their couch.

But thankfully all is “well” so far. This week has been the biggest pain in the ass, but I am so thankful that I wasn’t one of the people who lost everything because of this storm. My heart goes out to all of those families!

My office was closed Monday & Tuesday due to lack of transportation. Thankfully, my office is on 57th street (away from the crane) so it wasn’t affected. My co-workers and I were supposed to go back to work on Wednesday if we were able to make it to work safely, but we got word Tuesday evening that our phones/internet are somehow tied to downtown so they don’t work. So we were to work from home (or the nearest Starbucks with an available outlet… Not as easy to find as one might think…) yesterday, and today, too.

Yesterday marked my last day of clean clothes so I ventured back to my apartment during the daylight to switch out clothing and drop off all of my emergency supplies. They don’t expect power for probably another week, so I needed a smaller bag to hop from place to place with.

88th street to 14th street on a bus. How long do you think it took me? Got on the bus at 9:14am. Got off the bus at 11:47am. 2.5 hours on a MTA bus. Not fun. The return trip took another hour. Good thing I got an early start!

This scene was just 3 short blocks north of my apartment on Monday night. Lots of water!

Walking through my neighborhood was eerie and quite sad. There were sopping wet mattresses on the sidewalk from households that suffered from flooding. I live on the 5th floor so thankfully I didn’t have any water damage to deal with!

A tree down in front of the nail salon I go to on 1st Avenue.

An awning blown off of a local business on Avenue B.

This rolling rack perhaps was the freakiest part of the adventure to my apartment yesterday. This rolling rack was DIRECTLY in front of my apartment steps, and directly below my bedroom window. I have this EXACT rolling rack in my bedroom. I’m sure you can imagine my anxiety as I walked up the five flights of stairs to my apartment, apprehensive about what I was going to find.

The creepy dark hallway walking in to my apartment building. Thank goodness I had my flashlight!

I was very lucky to find my apartment just as I had left it! No power or hot water, but at least there is running water! I put my room back together (I did a lot of pre-hurricane prep, just in case a window were to blow out, etc.), cleaned out the refrigerator, and switched out my clothes before heading back up north.

It was even more creepy that I didn’t have a single bar of AT&T iPhone service below 40th Street. All I got was “Searching…” I wouldn’t mind staying at my place without electricity for a night or two, but the lack of ability to contact the outside world would really freak me out, especially alone at night in the dark!

Crossing my fingers that the power gets restored very soon! As much as I love slumber parties, I really miss my bed and am getting a bit anxious to stop living out of a bag. So until the power gets restored, I’ll be staying with friends on the upper-half of Manhattan. I’ve been searching for open hotels, but every hotel is booked. Imagine that.

The subways began partial service this morning to the upper half of Manhattan. It’s so bizarre, everywhere north of about 39th is going on, business as usual, for the most part. And everywhere below 39th is dark and closed. It’s like two different cities.

If you’re reading this line, Congrats, you made it through my novel! :)