From the article - Alice In Waterland by Ms Alice Liberte
I thought about this as a once beautiful waterfront in South Brooklyn called Sheepshead Bay with a lovely pedestrian blue bridge, famous family restaurants of all tastes (Italian, Russian, Chinese, Polish), cafes, marinas and boat clubs was flooded from the backed up sewage water from the nearby Knapp Street sewage plant that couldn't release the waste due to the storm surge. The devastation was felt for a half mile in every direction inland. I actually witnessed the dirty water rapidly moving up the block on Avenue Z as cars were completely submerged in filth, basements were flooded to the ceiling and neighbors lives’ were destroyed. The full moon, high tide and gale force winds didn't help the situation. Instead they made for a “perfect storm.” And Hurricane Sandy was the perfect storm.
The power flickered during the night as we all moved our basement furniture, files, and valuables to higher ground. Simultaneously, others were throwing their sewage laden belongings on the sidewalks. The pile-up of garbage was a scene from the Twilight Zone - and all occurring in the dark of night. Amidst the groans, cries and sobs of disbelief and loss, fire truck and ambulance sirens screamed all night long as everyone scooped up the rising water from their houses, if they were lucky to own a sump or transfer pump, then the dirty water damage was mitigated. Due to the sewage plant backup, there was no clean, sanitary running water for drinking, showering, toilets, etc.—in other words, no water, unless you were prepared with gallons of bottled water.
Then on Tuesday our power went out in this part of Brooklyn, but not before the power went out in Manhattan and Staten Island.*In tandem, the cell phone networks and Internet went down for days.—Verizon, AT&T and Clear Wireless—yes I'll call out the names of the ones I know about, but no company was immune.*If you were lucky enough to have a landline –not likely in these days when everyone owns at least 2 cell phones— then maybe you could contact your family and friends, but they probably don't have a landline, only cell phones, so you had no idea if they were safe and sound.
So far, this was bad - no water, no power, no communications, I didn't even get a chance to mention that the Mayor of NYC, Mike Bloomberg, suspended all buses and subways, railroads from Monday evening until further notice, so no public transportation either. But if you have a car, you can get around, right? Wrong.
The bridges and tunnels were closed temporarily, but then reopened with restrictions. The scene was literally taken from the books on how to run a military state. I thought ruefully that every city in America would likely look like this at some point in the future and as a matter of political course, not natural disaster. Imagine police with checkpoints on all the major highways, bridges and tunnels—now add traveling requirements. If you wanted to enter Manhattan, you had to have at least 3 passengers per vehicle, and pets didn't count. If you tried to enter Manhattan with less than the 3-person minimum, you were stopped and turned back. You could leave Manhattan without restriction, but you couldn't get in without the minimum 3 heads. And did I mention that Manhattan south of 34th Street had no power, no water, no heat and the temperatures were cold, lows in the 40s and highs of no more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And you couldn't use the toilet or take a shower!