No, this is not some virus related message I have been away, in Brooklyn.. Crown Heights to be specific for almost the last two weeks visiting family and taking part in some family celebrations.
I'll be back home ready to write intensively, informative posts about developing Tropical Weather and ridiculously, silly, rambling reports about my personal life.
Just you wait Henry Higgins, Just you wait... as the song goes...
For today, it's gray and rainy as we pack up to leave Crown Heights..which is my home base in some many ways but well, it's not very tropical.
The truth is New York City can and WILL get hit again by a hurricane sometime in the near future, it's just a matter of historical reality. So will Savannah and Tampa and all those cities that think they are Teflon protected and cannot get a direct hit.
Time has proven again and again they did in the past and they will again.
So, if you live anywhere near the coast in a place that is on your friendly local hurricane map, now is the time to stock up, make plans and think on what you would do if you were hit by a hurricane.
What would you take with you if you evacuate?
Who would you notify?
Where would you go?
How would you prepare for the storm if you stay and where would you stay? Would you go to your parents house or party at your own apartment (note to teenagers, do not party...)..
You get the idea.
If you have kids buy lots of batteries and crayons (which do not ever need batteries) and anything and everything that will keep them busy when the house has survived but you are without electric for two weeks. Think on it.
As for me, been without Internet and the television for most of the these last two weeks and my cell fone does NOT get good service in the basement even on the wifi setting. Truth is I have been too busy to obsess on the tropics as my life has kept me beyond busy otherwise.
I've sat in the park on Lefferts and watched kids play with each other, running around the slides and the swings. I've watched little children chase after pigeons that they never will catch and race away for the Ice Cream Truck. I've stared at Ferris Wheels in Coney Island and stood for hours in 770 on Eastern Parkway talking to friends and talking to God. I saw old friends I have not seen since 1973... and that's a long, long time.
I walked streets I know like the back of my hand up and down and back again. I bought Granola Bars from the Jamaican market that has Rebbe cards in Arabic writing. Crown Heights is such an awesome blend of everything and anything all rolled up in one. I walked tree lined steets marveling at how the poplar trees branches reach across the street to the other side, yet they don't seem to fall down. I've stared up at rose trees laden with pink roses decorating a vacant yard as if they were planted there just for me to gaze upon while walking by.... on my way somewhere else. Crown Heights is not what people think, it's hard to explain and it's impossible to understand unless you have lived here a long time or visited often.
It's a mish mosh of every culture rolled into one, walking fast up and down busy streets filled with signs and smiles that welcome you home.
I had one of the best burgers of my life last night at Empire Grill and ate the whole thing. Then we walked over to Nosh World and got some pareve ice cream, in a store that is the Anti-Whole Foods of Crown Heights and walked to 770 for a late night prayer service before walking down Crown, past Matisyahu's house down the block, past the yeshiva, past Troy Avenue which I rarely used to cross til we got the basement apartment we were staying in and the realization hit me fully I am really leaving Crown Heights after a long, almost two week stay here.
And, the realization also hit me with a brief giggle and a sense of guiltiness for not writing all week.... that the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season is just around the corner and I won't be back in New York until late in August for another family party.
So, again... take stock of your house, your neighborhood, your trees that need pruning, your canned food supplies that need stocking up, medical supplies, pain killers and batteries and crayons and whatever little incidentals you made need and get ready because wherever you live and whatever you are doing... the Hurricane Season is starting soon...whether you are ready or not. It's better to be ready.
Remember, hurricanes are the one natural disaster that you CAN PREPARE for...
I listened to a woman speak by electronic hook up from Tokyo who addressed the Annual Convention of Neshei Chabad speaking on the earthquake and it's aftermath and the things the Chabad House did to try and make the lives of those in the devastated regions a little bit better. Earthquakes have no real warning. Neither do Twisters ....
Hurricanes give us some warning, we have the gift of time so use that gift wisely and prepare, educate yourself and make a plan. Plans are good. Make a Plan B. Options are always good in fluid situations ...
Going to go get some coffee and finish packing and stop by the bakery and get some sushi for the road. Got to love Crown Heights, just got to...
(or what is known around here is the kitchen that never sleeps and delivers really fast in the middle of the night)