This week was a devastating one for millions of people up and down the east coast, especially in New York City and New Jersey. It’s been painful to watch all the destruction, to see my former home left a shell of its former self. To think that my old apartment in SoHo was just feet from the waters of the Hudson at the height of the floods is baffling to me. My neighborhood is still in the dark tonight. The desperation in peoples’ faces and voices is truly heartbreaking.
In addition to the pain I feel watching all these images on TV, is the odd feeling I have been getting because I am not helping to put those images on TV. I have been watching my friends and former colleagues from WNBC-TV do amazing work – Emmy-worthy work, in my opinion — and I am a little sad not to be a part of it. I have been watching their live coverage online (I am still a news junky at heart) and I am in awe of the public service they are providing. Not only are they informing residents of New York, New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut, but they are welcoming them to their trucks if they need to charge their phones.
The adrenalin rush of breaking news, the indescribable feeling you get bearing witness to history and the warm fuzzy feeling from doing a service to your community; these are just some of the emotions I felt being a journalist.
I admit, I now look back on my old career through rose-colored glasses. There were crappy shifts and the loss of nights, weekends and holidays with my family and friends. I walked out of the world of news with my eyes open. I knew that whatever came next would not be the same, not be as exciting, but I was trading all that excitement for a more normal life. I was trading night shifts for a 9-5 (mostly) job and the ability to carve out a semblance of a work-life balance for myself; something I found impossible in news. Now, when a natural disaster threatens my city I get to curl up on the couch instead of racing to work without knowing when I would be able to go home.
New York will come back, better than ever. I have seen it before, 11 years ago. We have heard this a great deal in the last week, but it is true, there is a unique resilience that only New Yorkers possess. I was lucky to call myself one for seven years. I was equally lucky to call myself a journalist. And now I’m just me. And that’s no bad either.
Residents of the affected area need a lot of help. The President has encouraged Americans to donate to the Red Cross. Mayor Bloomberg has encouraged New Yorkers to donate blood. I will be doing both.