THE UPPER WEST SIDER’S HURRICANE IRENE SURIVIVAL GUIDE

Photo of the ransacked bread rack at Fairway before the storm by Avi.

Hurricane Irene is whirling its way up the East Coast, destined for an intimate date with New York City late Saturday and into Sunday (the worst of the storm is expected to hit between about 7 a.m. and noon on Sunday), and frankly most of us aren’t very prepared.

So let’s get prepared. We all know what an Upper West Sider’s first priority is, so we’ll start with food.

There was a mad rush at Fairway for staple foods late on Friday. By 8:30 p.m., there wasn’t a single piece of bread in the store — not a single bag of sliced bread, not even one of Fairway’s so-so bagels — except for one sad bag of pita bread. There were also no bananas, and those butter cookies with chocolate on top that I like were pretty much gone too (I have a box and will sell it for $100). Bananas were also in short supply at Trader Joe’s. (Food is no joke in this neighborhood. We have shown that we are willing to punch each other over packages of vegan pad thai.)

Update: Fairway was scheduled to close at 10 a.m. on Saturday, but Zabar’s was still going strong in the afternoon and planned to stay open as long as possible. Barney Greengrass, the famous smoked fish emporium on 87th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, ran out of bagels and bialys by mid-afternoon. Lots of bodegas appeared to braving the storm. Westsider Books was also open, according to @reporterleslie. Whole Foods stayed open late on Friday, but had closed by Saturday afternoon and will stay closed through the weekend.

The Upper West Side is thankfully on higher ground for the most part, so the flooding risk is pretty minimal. The very small area within the evacuation zone is at the South end of the neighborhood and is classified as Zone B, which as of Friday afternoon hadn’t been evacuated. In fact, according to the evacuation map, the only buildings on the Upper West Side that are in an evacuation area are the luxury high-rises off of Riverside Boulevard overlooking the Hudson — the Trump buildings.

The MTA will begin shutting down service at noon on Saturday, and any event located in a park is probably canceled. The list of canceled events in Central Park is here. Also, the Apple Store is closed, so you really have no choice but to stay inside.

Here are a few other suggestions from the city and WNYC:

If things get really bad, there are four evacuation centers in and around the Upper West Side:

1. John Jay College: 58th Street and 10th Avenue.

2. Brandeis High School: 84th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenue.

3. Joan of Arc Junior High School: 154 West 93rd Street.

4. IS 88: 215 West 114th Street.

And when it’s all over, as our Aging in Action columnist Harriet reminds me, be sure to check in on your elderly neighbors. Stay safe! And keep us informed if you hear anything. We’ll update this post if we learn more.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 4 comments | permalink
    1. Estelle Linderman says:

      what if you’re on the 33rd floor of the upper east side?

    2. Sooze says:

      Gristede’s at 103rd and Broadway was stocked and quite normal around 3:30 today. They told me the hope to stay open till midnight. It was just the usual sorta crowded Sat. I didn’t even have to wait in line. Many small mom-and-pops, as well as Starbucks, RadioShack, and other chains are closed. It’s eerie. Sal & Carmine’s pizza is open. So are the 99-cent stores and a couple of hardware stores. Duane Reade is open and has a lot of summer things on sale such as plastic water containers and a half-off shelf of nonpershiable food;

    3. LK says:

      OEM does not say to put tape on the window in an ‘X’ formation

      http://home2.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/hurricane_brochure.pdf

      FEMA and NOAA confirm that the X does nothing except to possibly reduce the number of shards of glass that would result from a window being blown out. A few pieces of tape has no effect on a 100 pound window being blown out by 75 mph winds or a projectile hurtling through the window at the same or greater speeds.

      Better off pulling down the shades/blinds.

    4. Aaron says:

      Equinox gym at 76th & Amsterdam was open till 9pm on Saturday, and the manager said they plan to be open regular hours on Sunday. It only makes sense– after eating all that beautiful produce from Fairway, fake lobster salad from Zabars and transcendent nova from Barney Greengrass (scooped & toasted bagel, cream cheese ON THE SIDE), we have to work out. (I left out Citarella, just too expensive.)