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Tri-State residents experience storm in NYC

Oct. 31, 2012 @ 09:38 AM

HUNTINGTON -- From Macy Idzakovich's 16th floor Manhattan apartment, she has a lovely view of New York City's Upper West Side filled with luxury residential towers and Riverside Park stretching alongside the Hudson River.

On Tuesday afternoon, that view was marred by a completely submerged park and a construction crane dangling 90 stories in the air after it had collapsed under high winds and rains from Hurricane Sandy.

"It has been rather scary actually. Where I am, the lights went off and the sound of the wind was really scary," said the Portsmouth, Ohio, native who moved to New York City five years ago to study musical theater.

"You could see what looked like fireworks downtown where the transformers were blowing. Everything was really quiet and very dark."

Idzakovich, 23, said many New York City residents are receiving text alerts every 30 minutes or so advising them to stay inside and away from windows, not that there was anywhere to go with the building shutting off its elevator at 7 p.m. Monday, she added.

"It's hard just sitting around and waiting," said Idzakovich, who added she stocked up on supplies before the storm rolled in. School and work are closed until further notice. "We have been watching the crane from our window. Apparently it snapped and the arm that normally extends up is dangling down and you can see it swinging back and forth. They've evacuated all the areas around there, afraid that it's going to fall."

Montserrat Miller, a history professor at Marshall University, was just visiting New York City over the weekend to present a paper at Columbia University as part of an Urban History Association Conference. When she heard reports of violent weather headed that direction, she tried to cut her trip short and return Saturday instead of Sunday.

"I thought the best course of action was to try to fly out early, so I spent the better part of my morning on Saturday trying to arrange an earlier flight. By then, tens of thousands of people were trying to do the same thing, and I was unable to change flights," said Miller from her hotel room in Queens, N.Y. "I got to the airport Sunday and found that my flight had been canceled, so I started trying to find a hotel room."

That was no easy task, Miller said, as most rooms around LaGuardia Airport were already booked and empty rooms were going for as much as $350 per night. She finally settled in to a Holiday Inn to ride out the storm.

"Today, LaGuardia is closed. (N.Y.) Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo says it will not be open tomorrow. I've been rebooked on about four different flights," Miller said. "I'm working with National Travel, which books travel with Marshall, and they've booked me on a flight Friday at 7 a.m. out of JFK."

Miller said she was frustrated by the experience, but grateful.

"I'm frustrated about missing work and not being there for my students. I'm frustrated because I'm racking up expenses for which there can be no reimbursement. I'm frustrated I'm away from my family and causing them worry," she said. "But, at the same time, I'm very grateful to be safe, to have a bed to sleep in, to have water, power, food and the super nice people here at the hotel.

"Too many people have lost family members. Some have lost their homes and property. Many have been evacuated to shelters. In just this neighborhood, a horrific fire last night took out 80 homes," said Miller.

Miller is using her extra time in New York to review a couple of articles for academic journals and correspond with staff and students on work at Marshall.

Miller was one of many who struggled through West Virginia's late-June derecho with four days of no electricity.

"I feel bad for New York and everyone who has been inconvenienced, but I don't think it would be right to complain. My heart goes out to those who are suffering."