New Yorkers are tough, so when Hurricane Sandy hit the region on Oct. 29, it was a good test of their resolve. Roughly 2 million lost power, many for days, and found themselves without light, heat and landline telephone or Internet service.
More than a week after the storm hit, many are still without power. But still, smartphones plus a little ingenuity allowed them to stay connected to the world.
Rachel Blumenfeld returned to New York from a business trip to find her Manhattan neighborhood in total blackout. Besides the dark and cold, elevators didn’t work in her high-rise building and water couldn’t be pumped to higher floors. Rachel knew she had to get out, so in her dark apartment, she packed her clothes – using The Brightest Flashlight app on her smartphone for light. “It’s a pretty neat feature. It helped me get by,” she said. She also used her smartphone to stay connected via Facebook and keep up with the news.
For Jeffrey Rucker, it was five days and counting in his powerless apartment. To keep from feeling isolated, it was vital to stay in touch with friends. “We’ve been able to stay connected throughout the crisis,” he said. “It’s helped me get through these long days and dark nights.” Rucker said he visited one of the many free charging stations to repower his phone when needed.
Across the East River, in Astoria, Queens, Philip Fong saw his usually fast and easy commute to Manhattan become an insurmountable hurdle. So, like many, the technology company employee worked from home. “My Internet went down Monday morning, and I wasn’t able to log in to work,” he said, adding that he used the mobile hotspot on his smartphone to connect his laptop online and check in with co-workers.
For those still without power, charging stations remain available in several locations.