Hurricane Irene Liveblog From Zone B In Williamsburg


As Hurricane Irene rolls north along the East Coast toward the Big Apple, residents who haven’t evacuated are bracing themselves for a “historic” storm. The mayor and many government agencies have informed those in the path of the hurricane to be prepared, and a plethora of websites have offered tips to stay safe during the storm. has also provided a site wherein you can watch the progress of the storm here. With that said, for the next 24 hours, two of our regular contributors, Tao Lin and Megan Boyle, will be liveblogging their experience of the hurricane from a two-story house in Zone B in Williamsburg. Keep tuning in for regular coverage of what Irene’s like ground-level, and, most importantly, stay safe.


6:16PM Looked out window, seems really blustery. Tao said “it’s like that…Christopher Robbins.” Wind is maybe 30-40MPH. Sky looks pretty, clouds are big and look heavy on the bottom. (Megan)
3:41PM Returned to my apartment. Restaurants were closed. Variety at 368 Graham Ave. was open and “packed,” with ~20 people “milling” outside (see video below), and sometimes a line out the door. Delis were open. No rain, “gusty,” partly cloudy. Normal to above-average number of people outside. Above-average “milling.” (Tao)

1:26PM Googled “hurricane irene williamsburg.” Clicked to a site called “Unexplained Mysteries.” Watched “UFO filmed over Hurricane Irene.” Leaving apartment now to find a restaurant. (Tao)

View 74-picture slideshow here.

1:05PM Tao is showering. We’re going out to find a place to eat brunch. (Megan)
12:34PM Didn’t encounter any broken glass within a ten-block radius of Humboldt and Frost, many windows featured an asterisk-like pattern of duct-tape. In some cases it seems unclear if street debris was caused by Irene. (Megan)
12:13PM Megan returned with “a lot” of pictures. The most notable thing, she said, is “a tree in the middle of the road.” Slideshow forthcoming. (Tao)
12:06PM There is hot water and electricity is functioning normally. Have heard firetruck sirens twice, in the distance, in past ~60 minutes. Megan has not returned yet. (Tao)
11:40AM Megan went outside to investigate for any damage anywhere. The Daily Beast posted “Reporting Live in Toxic Shit.” (Tao)
11:31AM It’s sunny and “breezy” outside. Not raining. Leaves but no tree branches on street. No flooding on Humboldt and Withers. Air has a dry, crisp, Spring-time feel to it. (Tao)
11:27AM Everything is okay. Woke to discover sun is the only major difference in weather from last night. (Megan)

10:23AM Our writers either fell asleep or their power went out. Hope they aren’t in danger. Leigh Alexander tweeted that the storm’s “not really all that” but that her roof is leaking and there’s some water pooling outside her door. @tigresaa, who’s location is listed as Long Island, tweeted that the street water was 5-6 feet deep. Gothamist reported that Irene has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but that flooding is still a threat. Going to attempt to get someone else to fill in. (Brandon)

1:45AM Googled “how are storms named” and found “Worldwide Tropical Cyclone Names,” which includes “Pablo” for 2013. The website says “The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity.” (Megan)

1:15AM Light in room “dimmed”/brightened 2-3 times in a briefly undulating manner. Raining medium-lightly. Winds ~10mph. (Tao)
12:20AM Saw four others outside, few moving cars. Weather conditions seemed maybe 6% more intense than earlier. (Megan)
12:02AM We are going outside to find information. (Tao)
11:37PM Noticed on Facebook that Susan Orlean, author of the book Adaptation was an adaptation of, said “If #Irene were my boyfriend, I’d say enough with the foreplay, dude. The moment has passed.” on Facebook ~10 minutes ago. It currently has 9 “likes” and 4 comments. (Tao)
11:27PM Looked at Facebook after reading on Twitter that people on Facebook were saying things about “a sinkhole.” Clicked “Shark in the Streets of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irene.” (Tao)
11:22PM Googled “hurricane irene path” and found article in Tuscon Citizen which quotes an un-named source: “‘We had no idea this area would ever have a [fill in the catastrophe] of this magnitude’ situation, lots of people will, one day or another, be in some very serious trouble.” (Megan)
10:50PM Seems quiet in room. Water/electricity seems normal. Do not hear wind/[anything] except from my window fan. @tao_lin/media, which is NYC-centric, I feel, seems less active than normal. @spiers Tweeted “IRENE IN NEW YORK disappointing so far. Too-long windup, not enough plot development…” at 10:42PM. (Tao)
10:06PM Returned with take-out. At Sel De Mer, twelve people sat at tables while R&B slow jams played—seemed unusual for 6 minutes before closing. Head waitress reported an “understaffed, crazy” kitchen. She lives in an evacuation zone and has secured a place to stay within walking distance. As I exited, a lone man walked in, said “are you guys open,” looked pleased with himself. (Megan)
9:59PM Googled “hurricane irene looting.” Clicked “When does the looting start during Hurricane Irene? – Yahoo! Answers.” Felt unsatisfied with answers. (Tao)
9:44PM Googled “hurricane irene zones.” Clicked “Hurricane Irene: Michael Bloomberg makes last-ditch evacuation plea.” Read that as of ~40 minutes ago only ~5,500 people are in evacuation centers set up for 70,000 people. Comment if you are in an evacuation center. Interesting pictures of anything may be emailed to us at binky.tabby [at] We will credit/link your picture if we post it. (Tao)
9:31PM Megan left to get our take-out order. (Tao)
9:14PM Feel like there will be widespread looting. Closest chain store from us (451 Humboldt Street, ~5 blocks from Graham L stop) that I can think of is Duane Reade off Bedford Avenue. Comment if you have any looting information. (Tao)
9:09PM Sel De Mer has issued the forebodingly ordinary estimate of 20 minutes for carry-out. (Megan)
8:49PM Sel De Mer at 374 Graham is open for dinner until 10PM. Ordering take-out. If anyone has questions comment them and we will answer. (Tao)
8:40PM Light in room “dimmed” momentarily. (Tao)
8:38PM One TV at the deli showed weather man standing in front of a .gif-like hurricane update. The other TV showed “live,” probably un-recorded security camera footage of things happening in the deli (a man watching TV and two people paying for energy drinks and eggs). Left deli as weather reporter said “Tropical action is ready to begin.” (Megan)
8:35PM Raining lightly. ~5-10mph wind with ~15mph gusts. Deli on Graham and Withers is open and seems well-stocked. Large-screen TV inside says there is a tornado warning. ~2-4 people walking on sidewalk on Graham. (Tao)

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