Our Dogs Are Barkin’: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Walking

Brooklynites are still picking up the pieces. In the wake of hurricane Sandy, entire neighborhoods are completely devastated and will be undoubtedly changed forever. Our beloved Red Hook is suffering immensely – tens of local businesses along Van Brunt are closed indefinitely due to irreparable damage and loss, bringing a crushing blow to the usually bustling strip. Hundreds of Brooklynites are dislocated in South Brooklyn, still without power, heat, and hot water.

During Hurricane Sandy, Rob and I didn’t even lose power. In fact, we went to a diner around 10:30 p.m. on Monday night for coffee and eggs. We watched News12 Brooklyn for about 36 hours straight, and at times had to break to watch ridiculous RomComs, like Wanderlust, to relieve our anxiety. My parents are located smack on Long Island Sound, and I imagined our 150 year old house being blown right into the water and across the Sound, leaving my parents homeless, alone, cold and without cable. Probably overreacting. However, the only real Hurricane-esque experience we had in Brooklyn was when a parked motorcycle blew over into the back of a car. We heard a loud crash and rushed to the window and gasped and then continued watching Wanderlust. That was pretty much it.

One thing felt by all New Yorkers, though, was the MTA’s shutdown of subways. On Wednesday I walked 2.5 miles to and from work, and did the same thing Thursday and Friday. Rob lucked out and rode his bike to work (a short 20 minute commute) into Greenpoint for the rest of the week. Others weren’t so lucky, and had to brave the overcrowded and slow-moving buses, limited Subway lines, or do as I did, and walk for an hour or even more to get to work.

One thing even worse than limited subway access was the lack of gas in the greater New York city area, Long Island, and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. This past Saturday, Rob and I walked close to four miles down Bedford Avenue to get to Williamsburg for lunch at Pop’s Burger, and saw incredible lines of people waiting on-foot, sans-car, with gas canisters in hand. Saturday was a brutally windy and chilly, and my heart sincerely ached for the people that had to spend their Saturday outside in the cold, waiting for gas.

This particular line of people snaked around the building on the far left of the picture, around the corner, and on to the next block. There was also a line of cars parked on Bedford Avenue, backed up about two miles. It took us a while to realize that every single car parked on the side of the street had someone in it and was waiting for gas. Unbelievable.

Rob and I were very grateful to have two legs, jackets, and cups of hot coffee for our four mile journey. Ironically enough, as we made our way miles down Bedford and past the never-ending gas lines, we realized we were walking along the Marathon route planned for the next day. Another heart string pulled.

Finally making our way to Williamsburg, we puttered around inside local shops, warming our hands and deciding what our next plan of action was. We stopped in at Pops Burger (mentioned above) and had unreal burgers and cheese fries. We were so full and so tired from our trek. Between the chilly four mile stretch down Bedford, to my having walked 15 miles in the past three days, to the thought of having to walk back home, our morale was low. It was around 4:30 p.m. as we sat in the window of Pop’s Burger trying to figure out several things:

1. Why the fuck did we walk so far away from the apartment without a return plan?

2. Why didn’t we realize it was too cold to walk so far without proper outerwear?

3. What the HELL are we going to do on a Saturday night with limited access to subways, already in Williamsburg, and generally miserable, cold, full and SOBER?

Finally, our feelings of isolation and stranded-ness eventually led us to make the even more irrational decision to walk even further away from our tiny apartment in Crown Heights, and trek across the Williamsburg bridge to meet my sister and my brother-in-law for dinner in the East Village on Curry Row. We allotted ourselves three hours to get there. In general, we decided to not let Sandy get us down, since we didn’t really have it that bad. We also needed to walk off an entire bowl of cheese fries. So, after much debating, we bundled up as much as we could, turned on the camera, and briskly walked over the bridge, across the river and through the woods.

Rob shooting me a dapper look and posing for the camera despite being freezing.

Some awesome bridge artwork. My other favorite were giant bold letters that triumphantly spelled out, “poop dick.”

The Manhattan side of the bridge

We were surprised how many people were out jogging, biking, and walking, just like us. Sometimes, and I know its cheesy, I really am overcome by the resilience of New Yorkers.

We got to the East Village lickety-split and stopped in for a round or three of PBRs at Motor City. The East Village was eerily quiet and the bar was particularly chilly. We were proud of ourselves for walking and complaining minimally, even though Rob was only wearing a wind-breaker. When we finally met my sister and Andrés around eight p.m., we were hungry again, in need of more alcohol, and genuinely happy to be in a warm and toasty, cheery place.

Kind of hard to tell, but awesome ceiling lights. Can you see them?

Moments before I crawled underneath the table to get to the bathroom. Trust me, it was my only route.

??? I’m sorry do I know you?

The entirety of our walk is mapped out here, it was about six miles and change. If you’re wondering how we got back to Crown Heights, we later learned that the 456 was running locally, although we did have to walk up to 14th street. Easy.

All in all, its days like this that I think exemplify our blog’s name, Weekend Warrior. A perfect mix of spontaneity, cheerfulness, faith, and a work-week days away usually make for some warrior-like experiences. Also this bar called SlyFox around the corner from Curry Row has 2 dollar PBRs. I’d walk a lot farther than six miles for that kind of deal.

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