It was the second morning after Hurricane Sandy had flooded my basement and seeped up through the floor boards of my apartment that I decided to flee Hoboken, which had been penned ‘the fishbowl’ in the local newspapers, due to its calamitous level of flooding. Downtown had become an underwater city of the Hudson River. Looking out my window onto Jefferson Street I was reminded of the Lazy River in Disney World that I used to float down when I was a little kid. I would be laying on a tube, slowly being pushed forward by the lazy current, and it would gross me out to see leaves, twigs, and sometimes bugs in the water that had fallen from the trees bordering the river. The flood on Jefferson Street carried trash bins, snapped tree branches, and other debris past my front steps to the connecting streets of Hoboken. Every street was a murky marred lazy river.
I was stranded alone and I grew restless; I had to leave my apartment and head to the next town over. It was interesting to see where my priorities were (as I had no idea when I could return to my apartment and when I did return, what I would be coming back to) when I packed my lipstick, laptop, and new shoes in my backpack and left my passport, social security card, and other important common sense essentials behind. Anyway, I suited up and headed out. I walked for about an hour in water above my knees to get to Jersey City. I had been in my apartment for two days without power or a working radio, so I had no idea what was going on when I saw the National Guard hauling mothers and their children into the back of large tent-topped trucks.
It was Wednesday morning and the sun was out, and everyone was outside. A devastating number were emptying their damaged homes onto the curbs already piled with mattresses, couches, dressers, and chairs. There were news reporters everywhere. I just wanted to get out of this town but I kept having to turn around and try another way because the water was too deep and the main intersections were blocked off. Everyone was outside telling their stories, offering their help to others, and investigating what exactly was left of this historical community. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. As I was exiting Hoboken I had to hop a few fences, take some chances on how deep certain pathways of water were, and I even jumped on a flooded car to get further in my journey. It was completely unnecessary to jump on the car but the town was going crazy anyway and I kind of felt empowered on my great escape. It felt cool to survive this. I’ll never forget it, that’s for sure. -Holly