FORMER Quirindi resident Jamie Jackson, who lives in New York, was yesterday bunkering down as Hurricane Sandy battered the city, but was otherwise safe and sound.
Speaking to The Leader from his apartment in Hells Kitchen, Mr Jackson said he had never seen flooding of the severity the hurricane, which was downgraded to a tropical storm not long before making landfall about 11am AEDST yesterday, caused.
He said he was fortunate to be living in one of the highest points of Manhattan Island and escape the flooding that swamped large swathes of New York City.
“We were surprised. I think it’s very much dependent on where you are. It can be so localised,” Mr Jackson said.
“We live in Hells Kitchen, on 51st St and Ninth Ave, and you would hardly know it was any different from an average rainy night – there was a bit of wind and some rain. Where we are with the taller buildings around us, we’re very sheltered here.”
But he said when they visited a friend in a penthouse apartment, more than 20 floors up, near Central Park yesterday, the wind was so strong they were afraid the windows were going to smash.
“I’ve never seen wind like it. It was really powerful and ferocious,” Mr Jackson said.
“I think there’ll be some major damage in Central Park – a lot of trees will be brought down. The subways aren’t expected to be back until from Wednesday, probably.
“On some tunnel lines it’ll take them three or four days to pump all the water out.
“I’m hoping the subway gets back up and running in the next day or so, because New York without a subway is like a body without a heartbeat.”
He said it was eerie to see Manhattan’s streets so empty.
“You never see Manhattan without streets being full of people,” Mr Jackson said.
“We were pretty much locked on the island – we haven’t had that since 9/11, where they actually closed the island down and there was no way in or out,” Mr Jackson said.
But he and his friends kept their spirits up enjoying a “storm party for the end of the world” at a friend’s apartment – a common activity for other “storm survivors” in New York.