One of many responders working during Hurricane Sandy (Photo Courtesy: Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - A trip to see her daughter in the Big Apple turned into a candle-lit adventure, complete with howling wind and an approaching storm surge as a Northern California woman rode out Hurricane Sandy in a Greenwich Village apartment.
For Carol Marquis-Alen, of Lucas Valley in Marin County, California, it's a first-time experience.
"I've certainly never had to collect water and fill up every container in the house," Alen said by phone Monday evening, after New Yorkers were urged to stockpile water and other necessities.
Alen was scheduled to fly back to California on Monday, until her flight was cancelled. She spent nearly an hour on hold before giving up on a call to find out when flights might resume.
"I really have no idea if I'll be out by the end of the week or not," Alen said.
Her daughter Morgan Alen, an attorney who lives in Greenwich Village but commutes to work in New Jersey, said she managed to get some work done by computer from her apartment on Monday, but had no idea when the subway system would be up and running again.
"There's a picture of the subway...at the Times Square subway station just empty, which is something you just don't see in New York City," Alen said.
The power went out early Monday evening and Alen lit candles and used hiker's headlamps to light her apartment, enjoying a dinner of salmon burgers and watching a movie on a DVD player.
The pair were stunned by the collapse of a facade on a building just a few blocks away.
"That's over at 8th Avenue and 15th Street and we're here between 6th and 7th Avenue on 12th Street and so it's really scary. It's really close by...you can see right inside the houses. It's really incredible, kind of shocking images," Alen said.
Mother and daughter ventured out briefly to check on conditions Monday afternoon, but turned back after meeting howling winds a couple of blocks away.
"It seems strange to me; they keep saying this is one of the largest storms this area's ever experienced, so I don't think anyone knows what to expect," said Marquis-Alen.
She worries about those in less comfortable circumstances.
"We've thought a lot about the people who really can't evacuate - and then all the crazy people who aren't evacuating," Marquis-Alen said.
Alen has friends who've already had to leave their homes.
"In Battery Park, I know I have a friend, she was told to evacuate and she's staying with another friend of mine uptown in Hell's Kitchen," Alen said.
The pair had praise for how the city has handled the crisis so far, crediting Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his leadership as the crisis unfolds.
They said New Yorkers are pulling together.
"It's such a fantastic city and everybody is handling things well and cool, calm and collected and waiting to see what it looks like tomorrow morning when everybody wakes up and how people can help each other and see who needs what," said Marquis-Alen.
Alen said she appreciates the timing that led to her mother's visit during the monster storm.
"If you're going to be stranded anywhere, I'm glad she was stranded with me."