October 31, 2012

"I just biked down from Hell’s Kitchen, and it is like a Friday night up there."

"And then you get down here and it is like entering a zombie movie."

The dividing line in Manhattan is 25th Street.

What is the main thing people miss when the power is out? I think it's the capacity to recharge the cell phone. People waited in line for an hour to get to a power strip running from a CNN truck that was parked outside that building that lost its facade in the storm.
By mutual agreement, the people there had somehow decided that when someone filled up to 50 percent, it was time to unplug and let the next person go.
It's heartening the way people pull together in a tragedy and interesting to see it happening over the new core necessity, the cell phone.

56 comments:

X said...

this is the life global warmists have in mind for you

MayBee said...

I used to miss the heat most when the power went out, but that's because it always went out during winters in Michigan.

MadisonMan said...

When the power goes, I miss refrigeration. Sour milk tastes lousy.

Freder Frederson said...

What is the main thing people miss when the power is out? I think it's the capacity to recharge the cell phone.

Just how clueless are you?

Heat or ac? the ability to cook (if you have an electric stove)? Refrigeration?

You have never been through a major power outage, have you.

EMD said...

t's heartening the way people pull together in a tragedy and interesting to see it happening over the new core necessity, the cell phone.

Big storms require big government?

EMD said...

You have never been through a major power outage, have you.

We had a wind storm that knocked power out for 5 days. My wife and kids went to my parents (who had power.) I stayed. It was summer, and hot.

I got a lot of yard work done.

X said...

avoid food poisoning. it really sucks in the aftermath of a 'cane.

Freder Frederson said...


We had a wind storm that knocked power out for 5 days. My wife and kids went to my parents (who had power.) I stayed. It was summer, and hot

That comment was aimed at Althouse. If the greatest inconvenience she can think of is being without a cell phone, she obviously has never been without power for an extended period of time in her life.

rehajm said...

the AA battery and hand crank emergency chargers are effective and valuable when the need arises. They require a bit of foresight though.

Clyde said...

Um, no. When my power goes out due to a storm, it's usually summer and hot as hell. I immediately miss the air conditioning.

Although that wasn't the case with Wilma (bitch!) back in 2005. It hit on October 24th and interacted with a cold-front, so we actually had pleasantly cool weather while my power was out for six days.

Freder Frederson said...

Big storms require big government?

Undoubtedly yes.

Michael The Magnificent said...

My half-brother lives in New Jersey with his husband.

But on Sunday night, he was at a party, at west 45th street and 8th avenue.

We were texting back and fourth all night. I asked him to keep his cell phone plugged in and charged, and if the power went out to TURN IT OFF. And then, only turn it on briefly every few hours to check voice mail and text messages.

You get stranded for three days (Katrina, anyone?), a working cell phone will be far more valuable than a continuously updated facebook page.

EMD said...

That comment was aimed at Althouse. If the greatest inconvenience she can think of is being without a cell phone, she obviously has never been without power for an extended period of time in her life.

I know. I'm just in a sharing mood, I guess. Boring, I know.

Seeing Red said...

No one can say the State of NY has small government.

X said...

Fredo said...Big storms require big government?

Undoubtedly yes.


you do realize the linemen don't actually work for the county?

Freder Frederson said...

You get stranded for three days (Katrina, anyone?)

Actually, Katrina took out the cell phone towers, so you couldn't get a signal.

EMD said...

Heat or ac? the ability to cook (if you have an electric stove)? Refrigeration?

These are probably less important in a city like New York, than in more suburban and rural areas.

furious_a said...

"What is the main thing people miss when the power is out? I think it's the capacity to recharge the cell phone."

Yet another reason to keep one's vehicle's gas tank topped up. Might not be an option for Manhattan residents.

Also, if they're still made, for owning a corded phone that draws its power from the landline jack. Used one of those while riding out Loma Prieta in SFO back in '89, never lost dial tone (did lose gas and electric for a day).

Ann Althouse said...

"Just how clueless are you?"

Clueless enough to get my clues from a NYT article.

But why are you being such a jerk, Freder? People use their cell phones now as their only phones, and keeping in touch with other people, getting information from news sites, and being able to call for emergency help if needed are pretty important.

You're the clueless one.

Ann Althouse said...

Why on earth would cold or hot food be more important? I'd gladly live on nuts, energy bars, cans of tuna and whatever room temperature uncooked foods for months before I'd give up a charged, connected-to-the-internet iPhone.

furious_a said...

"That comment was aimed at Althouse. If the greatest inconvenience she can think of is being without a cell phone, she obviously has never been without power for an extended period of time in her life."

Because there are never medical, rescue, hazmat or law enforcement emergencies during a storm like Sandy.

Ann Althouse said...

As for air conditioning... are you stupid? Many people in NYC don't have air conditioning. I lived in NY for 10 years without air conditioning. My son's apt. doesn't have air conditioning. Many people prefer a clear window to sticking an air conditioner in one of their few windows.

As for heat, it depends on how cold it is. It takes a lot before the indoor temperature is lower than, say, 50, at which point the fix of wearing a coat and keeping your shoes and socks on begins to feel bad.

You really aren't thinking.

Rusty said...

Get an inverter for your car. You an recharge a bunch of stuff just running your car at idle.

Lem said...

All that "niceness" will only last so long.

ad hoc said...

When we lost power last summer after the bad storms in the DC area, we went to the local mall (which did have have power and ac)after spending many hours cleaning out the yard. The mall was packed with people, many of whom were gathered around electrical outlets, charging their cell phones. In that outage, most, if not all, had potable water and a decent amount of light (since it was summer). The cell phone is the link to the rest of the world.

Recent major power outages for me: Snowmaggedon (2/10, power out 5 days); thunderstorms (7/10, power out 3 days); snow storm (1/11 power out 3 days), Hurricane Irene (8/11, power out 24 hrs), Derecho (6/12, power out 48 hours). No power loss for Sandy.

If I were a gratutiously superstitious person, I might suggest that the DC area was disfavored.

Nichevo said...

We'll take your evasion as an admission that you've never suffered through a prolonged power failure. If you had ever cleaned out a refrigerator that had been left idle for a few days full of meat and dairy, I think you would understand what people are getting at. Cell phones can be charged in the car and can have spare batteries.

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitchell the Bat said...

Nobody liked my suggestion that cell phones operate by hand crank.

X said...

3 days lem. and althouse is assuming the cell towers have power. if not, her iphone makes a nice flashlight.

furious_a said...

"As for heat, it depends on how cold it is. It takes a lot before the indoor temperature is lower than, say, 50..."

Hurricane Season technically June-Sep, where heat (think Houston, Miami, New Orleans) would be the more likely risk to elderly/bedridden. Can't recall reading about storm-season blizzards before.

bagoh20 said...

48% - 49% - 50%

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

2% :(

bagoh20 said...

Probably nobody thought of getting more power strips.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Compare the orderly way folks are dealing with this, with the hysterical and misanthropic predictions of "chaos" and "rioting!" that would ensue.

You see it in movies all the time; things break down seriously, and everyone becomes a predator on everyone else.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I've never been through a power outage for more than a day. I've also never lived in an all-electric house. Currently, I have a gas stove and radiator heat, so if the electricity goes out, at least I can keep warm.

EDH said...

This is why connecting the Iranian nuclear program to the consequences of a potential EMP attack would be persuasive.

bagoh20 said...

"Big storms require big government?"

No storm will ever do the damage that our too big government does 24/7. We have survived and rebuilt from many disasters with a fraction of the government we have now.

We are currently fighting for survival from the disaster that is big government, and unfortunately the whole nation is in the path of the storm.

Just imagine if we were not already broke from wasting money on failure, and instead had put some away for disaster recovery instead of having to borrow it now when we can least afford to.

The worst part of this disaster will be the cost of the added government it will create that will never be useful, but will stay with us forever. That will come from the white collar looters who will sniff through the rubble looking for new programs and beds to feather.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I want to see some hysterical news reports about the dozens of trendy cannibal restaurants that have surely opened in lower Manhattan.

Clyde said...

Ann, your comment about air conditioning is true in New York, and I'm sure Wisconsin as well.

It is most emphatically NOT true in Florida, which is only habitable south of Jacksonville because of air conditioning. That's one reason that very few people lived down here prior to the 1950s (lack of mosquito spraying was the other).

edutcher said...

Nice to see Gothamites can share.

We didn't see that in the last big blackout.

Freder Frederson said...

What is the main thing people miss when the power is out? I think it's the capacity to recharge the cell phone.

Just how clueless are you?

Heat or ac? the ability to cook (if you have an electric stove)? Refrigeration?

You have never been through a major power outage, have you.


Having grown up on Delmarva, Ann rode out at least one hurricane power outage. She'd just barely remember Hurricane Hazel, but, if she was in our boat (SE PA), power was out in a lot of places for days.

You ate out, did your homework by candlelight (interesting history lesson btw), and went to bed early.

Donna B. said...

A cell phone is important during a power outage, but it is far from the most important -- provided you don't need access to emergency services and none of those people getting creative with charging techniques did, did they?

Access to clean water is the most important thing.

Any water supply that depends on electric pumps is gone. Municipal water that is still flowing from the tap has a good chance of being contaminated if flooding is part of the reason there's no power.

deborah said...

"By mutual agreement, the people there had somehow decided that when someone filled up to 50 percent, it was time to unplug and let the next person go."


Welcome to the Technium.

http://www.youtube.
com/watch?v=eeTEcwmfuu4

Quayle said...

Coming soon, a government agency to get in front of the people.

Department of Personal Communication.

Charged with leveling the charging playing field.

Paddy O said...

I've been without power for about 3 weeks (fire in the mountains knocked it out--and we were in the evacuation zone).

After a few days, the fridge stuff is pretty much a loss, so that's not a concern. Fireplace provided heat. Barbecue cooked.

So, yeah, cell phone access was pretty important. We had a landline that stayed on, but if we hadn't had that, a cell phone would have been the most important.

Of course, most people outside of major urban areas have cars and can charge their phones there. And I would guess a whole lot of people only have cell phones. So it really does make sense.

What also makes sense is how utterly so much of media and Hollywood gets human nature wrong, assuming people will go into a panic and immediately fight each other. My experience in disaster zones is that it really brings people together. Most people really and genuinely want to be helpful.

NYC showed how resilient it was during 9/11, and so I have no doubt there will be many stories of human community doing what it does best. And I also have no doubt that there will a baby boom in late June and early July.

paminwi said...

My son in Manhattan said he found a bar that was doing a good cash business for the night on Monday. The bar was lit by candles. He said he was glad he had gone to the ATM to get $ as I instructed him to do! To get to the bar he also used the shakeable flashlight (which he rolled his eyes at) I gave him as a gift one Christmas after he moved to the city.

All in all, he said "mom, you had some really good ideas!" Guess he's growing up and realizing mom isn't so goofy after all!

Paul said...

A 3000 watt generator costs a few hundred bucks. Homeowners living in an area prone to power outages are foolish not to invest in one.

karrde said...

I've seen ads for solar-powered cell-phone chargers.

You know, so you can keep connectivity while hiking in the wilderness.

Useful idea, though.

Franklin said...

I'm downtown in Manhattan and it sucks without any power, without any transportation, and without any restaurants or bars nearby that are open.

Personally, I miss having my computer and internet the most, but I don't have kids so that's probably not normal.

Franklin said...

At least my office in midtown has power so I can internet.

Paddy O said...

"I've seen ads for solar-powered cell-phone chargers.

You know, so you can keep connectivity while hiking in the wilderness.

Useful idea, though."

A couple of years ago I got this Goal Zero set, that has a solar charger with multiple connections (the most useful being the USB) and includes a AA battery charger. Works good. Provides enough power to keep my netbook running.

(I provided a link, but suggest going through the Althouse Amazon portal if you want to buy)

Freder Frederson said...

A 3000 watt generator costs a few hundred bucks. Homeowners living in an area prone to power outages are foolish not to invest in one.

Which is well and good until you realize you are burning through 15 gallons or so of gas a day and none of the gas stations have any gas.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why on earth would cold or hot food be more important? I'd gladly live on nuts, energy bars, cans of tuna and whatever room temperature uncooked foods for months before I'd give up a charged, connected-to-the-internet iPhone.

Stop the presses and check to see if Hell is icing up.....I agree with Freder. Clueless.

The last thing I am concerned about is a cell phone or internet connection if the power goes out. We spotty cell phone reception anyway. You can get the emergency information you need through other sources. You can play Angry Birds later.

Food, WATER!!, cold water, hot water, heat, lighting. Those are the concerns.

Since our power outages are normally in the winter. Heat is the biggest issue. Food spoilage is also a concern. We generally have a freezer full of frozen goods, meat, side of beef, half a hog, chicken. That stuff will stay frozen for some time. Worst case scenario, we just put the items in the refrigerator in an ice chest and set it outside, because it is generally cold outside. Freezing or below.

In an emergency, the last person that I want to rely upon is one who is fixated on his/her cell phone.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Which is well and good until you realize you are burning through 15 gallons or so of gas a day and none of the gas stations have any gas.

Piffle on gasoline for a generator. For cars, however, that is a bigger concern.

Propane and natural gas generators are the way to go. We haven't installed one yet, be we are looking at next winter installing something like this

We are lucky to have natural gas at our home. Most people in this area use propane and generally have at least a 500 gallon propane tank.

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MayBee said...

It takes a lot before the indoor temperature is lower than, say, 50, at which point the fix of wearing a coat and keeping your shoes and socks on begins to feel bad.

Where I lived, water pipes bursting was a real concern when the heat went out for any length of time.

Kirk Parker said...

Clyde,

Surely you're not implying that JAX is habitable w/o air condition, but that's kind of how your comment reads...

Kirk Parker said...

Freder,

"Which is well and good until you realize you are burning through 15 gallons or so of gas a day and none of the gas stations have any gas."

Dude, what is wrong with you? Having the generator, and having some gas to burn through with it, is exactly the point!!! If I had that setup, I wouldn't be going, "Oh, no, I'm using 15 gals a day", I'd be going "Isn't it wonderful that I have this generator and enough gas to keep it going this long".