The morning after the storm brought a new, sad perspective. I still wished I was in New York City but it was because I wanted to help. My dear friend Syd from Far Rockaway had to evacuate with her mother and she is understandably traumatized by the devastation. My best friend from high school Sofia and her family have no power in Ozona Park and are running out of gas. My hairdresser's mother almost drowned in Howard Beach. My family was lucky. My mom's neighborhood never lost power. Some stores lost awnings and some trees were downed. My sister's basement apartment miraculously suffered no damage. My 5-year-old daughter's family were safe and with power in Flushing and Corona. And I feel helpless in Los Angeles.
My friends Cris Escala and Sofia Oyola in Ozone Park, Queens, have no power and are running low on gas.
When I first saw the images on television from the Lower East Side, the Rockaways, the flooded subways and Queens-Midtown Tunnel, I actually cried. I survived 9/11 and the citywide 2003 blackout. I remember what it is to walk across bridges and boroughs in a crowd of stunned people. I know what it is to try and get to work without a train. It took my sister, an early childhood special education teacher in a New York City public school in Brooklyn hours to get to work on Friday. My 5-year-old's father's dental lab on 34th and Park Avenue is without power. When he doesn't work, like many, he doesn't get paid. And they are the lucky ones who still have their lives and homes.
As I write this, a news report shows Latino families in Staten Island waiting for food, water and warm clothes as temperatures drop. Meanwhile the local temperatures near Downtown LA are expected to go up into the high 80's, perhaps even the 90's this weekend. My kids and I are lucky but I still am anxious to return. Neither rain nor snow can keep a NuYoRican away from what will always be her city, her home.
Follow Maegan "Mamita Mala" Ortiz as she chronicles her adventures as a Nuyorican in LA, including her musings on different Spanglish accents and slang, her quest for the best schools for her daughters, how she gets around without a car, and the story of how the self-proclaimed original "Twitterputa" fell in love and ended up here in the first place.