The current situation in New York: The subways are closed; upon the Hozziner's request, Zone A has been forced to evacuate; Broadway shows have been cancelled; Bloomberg, Christie, and Cuomo are hosting storm watch conferences; my door keeps slamming by itself, even while locked; and the quieter-than-ever city is no longer open for business. But, on the Internet, a hurricane in the age of social media is like one big collective party, except with the dangling possibility of disaster. And, since a year ago is not that long ago in our cyber-minds, numerous comparisons have been made between Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene.
Remember Irene? That $15 billion cyclone that made landfall just before Labor Day weekend last year? New York was up in arms then, too -- it was the first time in history that the entire mass transit system of New York was completely shut down (the second being now
) and the Internet was freaking out then, too. I have a few vague memories from that weekend: near-riot lines at the Key Food on Avenue A, a viewing party of Apocalypse Now
in the darkness, a trip outside onto the streets of New York in the eye of the storm and an oddity in the city -- absolute, 100 percent silence.
But, for Manhattanites, the storm was underwhelming. All this hype for what? A ton of rain and mediocre winds? Evacuation seemed silly once the storm was done and headlines that popped up the following days all blamed one thing: overhyping an event. With that in our minds, it's only natural that we'd remind ourselves
that, since Irene wasn't that bad, Sandy won't be that bad. And that's really silly. Here's why: