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Castlebar man caught up in Sandy

Castlebar man David McCormack and his wife Kate were caught up in ‘Superstorm Sandy’ last week.
Castlebar man David McCormack and his wife Kate were caught up in ‘Superstorm Sandy’ last week.

Castlebar man tells of Sandy evacuation

Castlebar native and wife flee apartment during New York super storm

Ciara Galvin

It’s been just over a week since one of the fiercest storms America has ever witnessed or endured hit its east coast last Monday. Images of a flooded lower Manhattan were somewhat reminiscent of a doomsday blockbuster such as The Day After Tomorrow.
Speaking to Castlebar native David McCormack, who along with his wife Kate, was evacuated from their Tribeca apartment which was located in Zone A (the hurricane zone) last Wednesday, the immensity of Sandy becomes apparent.
“Every single person in that zone was meant to be evacuated by Monday morning but there was no place to go,” David told The Mayo News.
Still having power up until the storm hit on Monday, David said it was a case of ‘hunkering down’, but waking up this day last week it was a different story, as he describes downtown New York like ‘a war zone’.
Having spent Tuesday walking up and down 14 flights of stairs to their apartment after looking for water and food, the couple evacuated the following day.
“Our building took on 14 foot of water and we left the apartment on Wednesday morning, managing to get a hotel up in Midtown,” explained David, who has lived in the city since 2007.
With everything below thirty-ninth street having lost power, including more than 100 hotels who’s guests had to be evacuated to Midtown, David acknowledged how lucky the couple were to get somewhere to stay.

‘Eerie night’

Comparing the city-scape to scenes from post-apocolyptic film ‘I am Legend’, David describes the whole experience as ’surreal’ and highlights the city at night as ‘the most eerie’.
“At night it was pitch black. There was no light in apartment buildings, no traffic lights, no street lights, no nothing.”
However speaking to colleagues and friends on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side it became apparent to McCormack that it was a tale of two cities, with power in these areas intact and like ‘any normal night in New York’.
Returning to their apartment last Saturday, the McCormacks are getting back to a sense of normality, with heat and water being restored later that evening. But for neighbours, the storm has decimated cherished belongings.
“The basement took in 14 feet of water and unfortunately that’s where the storage units are kept. We didn’t have one but that’s where our neighbours would have kept wedding dresses, furniture, photographs. Everything was destroyed.”
Admittedly ‘disappointed’ at the announcement of the cancellation of the New York marathon last Friday, David who had raised $20,000 for Multiple Sclerosis and had planned to run it, described the cancellation as ‘the right decision’.
“I understand why Bloomberg initially announced it would go ahead. New York is all about the resilience of New Yorkers. But after devastating reports of deaths on Staten Island the announcement to cancel was definitely the right one.”
Explaining that although the traditional marathon was cancelled, many of David’s friends who travelled over for the event, joined 16,000 others on Sunday and ran the original New York Marathon route, four and a half loops of Central Park, equalling the 26.2 miles of a marathon.


Attention turns today to the US Presidential Election, which McCormack feels will see an impact on voting turnout in New York because of the super storm.
“I think it’s going to be a one point race. The issue that it’s going to come down to in New York, which is typically democrat, is that it is very hard for people to get to the polling stations. People don’t have fuel in the car and people are trying to get their lives back together.
“Ultimately it will be interesting to see how much of an effort people want to make to vote, given how hard it’s going to be,” concluded David, who although not having a vote, would vote for Republican Mitt Romney.

HAVE YOUR SAY email ciaragalvin@mayonews.ie with your comments

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