I sit in a well lit room that is not my own, watching the news. Head hurts, chest aches as I watch water force its way into the city I love. This is all too familiar for me as, 7 years ago, I did the exact same thing for Hurricane Katrina. Watching images of my beloved New Orleans fill up like a bowl created a feeling of mourning that I had never felt before. I bawled as if a loved one had died. For me, it was that. A city I loved so dearly was dying. Now, I am forced to relive this feeling with New York City. In both instances I was able to evacuate, so the feeling I have now is of one looking in. Seeing it in third person feels surreal and fake, but it's not.
Like in Katrina, I don't know when I'll be able to return to my apartment downtown. Sure, it won't be nearly as long as New Orleans, where my weekend getaway turned into 5 months, but it won't be tomorrow. My building is still shut down. So many of my friends have no power or service, and some are still MIA. But again, above all, I feel extremely lucky. There are people that lost their lives, their homes, the life they've built. They are broken beyond repair.
Like New Orleans, I know that New York City (and New Jersey for that matter) will overcome this, just like it did in 9/11. What I felt for New Orleans 7 years ago, I feel now. I was a New Orleanian then and now I am a New Yorker. I've been in this city for 5 years. I like taking the subway, buying my wine at the corner bodega, people watch in Soho, do all-you-can-drink brunches, visit The Met by myself, and overall just take the city in. I love that I am here. I am proud that I live in this city, with my money, my hard work. It is is my choice. And it is my choice to not sit back and break apart because of this. Like a true New Yorker I will stand strong and, like New Orleans, look forward. We will rebuild and come back stronger than before. This is because New York, like New Orleans, is made up of the toughest most vital ingredient there is: Resilience.