New Yorkers initially calm in face of Sandy, then worries set in

Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:15pm EDT
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By Michelle Conlin

NEW YORK Oct 29 (Reuters) - As Hurricane Sandy aimed straight for them, promising to hammer the place they live with lashing winds and extensive flooding, New Yorkers seemed to be all about nonchalance on Monday morning - an attitude that didn't last into the afternoon.

Throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, few store owners had even bothered to board up their buildings. There was little taping of windows or buying of sump pumps.

Many New Yorkers, who watched last year's Hurricane Irene taper away without taking a big toll on the city, seemed unfazed by predictions of major damage that even the most conservative of meteorologists have been making.

At most, many bought flashlights, lugged home bags of bottled water and stocked their shelves with food. Others took pride in snubbing Sandy altogether.

"You want to know what I have in my fridge?" said Chris Conway, a 41-year-old who lives in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, not far from the Hudson River. "Four different kinds of Tabasco and one jar of A-1 steak sauce."

Further south on Manhattan, though, the mood was more serious.

Outside the Goldman Sachs headquarters building in Manhattan's Battery Park City, part of a low-lying area of the island evacuated on Sunday night, workers were blocking the entrance with sandbags piled up five feet (1.50 metres) high. A few employees, wearing Friday casual-style clothes, were coming and going through the revolving door. There were no residents to be seen.

Outside the evacuation zone, the mood was de rigueur. For many working parents, facing school closures and an absence of many nannies because all subways and buses have stopped running, it felt like a holiday as they watched their kids get dirty in the playground.   Continued...