A Note About The End Of The World

As Hurricane Sandy crossed over New York City, and my fiancee and I were hunkered down in our apartment hearing from all sides that the world was about to end, I wrote a post called “A Bad Day For New York,” featuring the various ways NY has been destroyed in Hollywood blockbusters.

At that point, the news media was going crazy overhyping the storm for ratings, while misinformation spread across the internet, and fake pictures of Sandy’s devastation ran rampant across Twitter and Facebook, most taken from movies or past storms. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore, and I wrote the tongue-in-cheek post with the hope of briefly uplifting the mood of anyone who had been in the same situation as we were in.

For the most part, the post received a very positive response. One reader wrote: “As a NYer whose family home had 22″ of water in it, I find this post awesome. It was an uplifting moment to my dreary day.” Another wrote “I live in NYC and appreciated this…The media has played this storm up as if it were the apocalypse.”

But I also received several responses from readers appalled I could make light of the disaster. And in retrospect, I see that my writing could easily be misinterpreted, especially as the period of survival transitions into one of mourning and recovery. I apologize for any offense I may have caused.

For four years, I’ve written this site as a love letter to New York, and it greatly saddens me to see the amount of destruction Sandy caused. But I stand firmly by my closing paragraph: “Thanks to the brave, tireless work of city employees and endlessly resilient residents, the real New York is still standing…recovering from bruises but ready to continue her role as the greatest city in the world.”


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  1. Dude, I have followed you for years and you should NOT be apologizing right now. I mean, YES the pink goo in the sewers and the giant ape climbing the Empire State Building in 1933 actually happened, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to apologize for the rest of the photos.
    If there are truly people out there who didn’t get it…I feel bad for them and hope they never have children.


    Your site is awesome and I hope you keep doing what you are doing and immediately stop acknowledging the people who are being hateful/really, really incredibly ignorant and stupid.


  2. It’s called whistling in the dark, and it has a long and distinguished history as a way of dealing with hard times. No need to apologize. I loved the post.

  3. My aunt lived a block from Lincoln Center for 50 years and I have wonderful memories of NYC visiting her often. That’s what got me interested in your blog in the first place. Your love for and admiration of NYC shines through your posts so please, don’t apologize for something that was meant to make people smile. I loved it! If detractors can’t smile at that post, chances are they don’t smile at much in life anyway.

  4. And now you have proven yourself to be as gracious as you are fascinating. Your blog is indeed a “love letter to NY”. Keep the faith!!!

  5. As soon as I see the 3rd picture, I realize you are making fun of all the fake Sandy photos shared in FB. I watched Sandy closely as I live in its passing path, I get really annoyed by all those fake photos my friends shared, especially when they are living in NYC! they could have look outside the window and realize that didn’t happen.

    Anyway, for those who complains the post, why not actually go do something to help those people instead of complaining to a post?

  6. I admit I had some reservations about that post. But I also am a fan of ‘whistling in the dark’, and you could not have known the tragic effects of this storm at the time. I was sick of the media hype until we lost power. Now we wonder if we will ever regain what we have lost.

    People need to think about timelines, whether they are criticizing you, or the current Administration.

    Your site is a wonderful addition to the story of New York, Nick. Keep it up and keep it going. Your photographs are amazing. Keep contributing to the lore!

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed the post. Including the implied reminder that how photogenic the neighborhood has nothing to do with who suffers when an actual disaster strikes. Thanks for the laugh in a tough week.

  8. I have seen photos all over the place from real New Yorkers who are keeping a sense of humor amid their own troubles and I believe your post was right in line with what I have come to expect from New Yorkers: you just can’t keep a good New Yorker down no matter what happens. They get punched in the face by tragedy and get back up, brush themselves off, look you straight in the eye, and ask “is that all you got? My mother/sister/aunt/grandmother punches harder than that”

    Frankly, I took your post to be both in perfect keeping with Halloween, the humor of the blog, the perfect satirical take on all of the overreactions by media, and the whole look at NYC as a whole in cinema. When the hell else could you post? It’s both your acknowlegement to us that you made it OK and your way of blowing off your own frustrations with the whole situation.

    If some people leave the blog so be it, but I think you may have won over more people by doing your post than you lost.

  9. Scout,

    Thanks for this post. You didn’t have to do it but you did it anyway.

    As you say, the mourning and recovery is still ongoing and the emotions very raw, but we both love this great city and individually and collectively we will rebuild.



  10. What Colette said! I only found your blog a few months ago, but it is one I always look forward to reading. Anyone who didn’t understand your humor is to be pitied. I’m a New Yorker lucky to live up in the Heights (by Columbia, your old stomping ground) – lucky on a regular day, but extra lucky to be up here this past week. Keep up the wonderful work and try not to lose your sense of humor!

  11. Hey . . . just keep on doing what you do and ‘how’ you do it because it’s how many of us out here in the west (for me, Santa Fe, NM) and the rest of the country keep in touch with your fabulous city . . . you and listening to Leonard Lopate on WNYC.

    You’re a very creative guy and creative folks get other folks upset on occasion. Big deal. Please don’t apologize too much. As Abe once said ‘ you can please some of the people . . . . ‘

    Keep on keepin….. love your stuff.

  12. I understand many people didn’t get the light heartedness of your post. I am truly sorry for all the loss. That said, nothing could have changed the actions of mother nature. To take a look at the hollywood disasters was a great way to lift spirits. I live on the other side of the nation. Out was god for me to know that someone out there was looking up.

  13. I thought it was a great post; just the right kind of humor for these sort of things – then again, Im not trying to deal with keeping my family dry and warm in flooding and without power. So I do understand some people’s frayed nerves and lack of humor. But still and all, what can you do but shake your head and smile. If you didn’t, you’d cry in despair.

    I’ve been thinking about my favorite city, amazed by the community that is coming together, and hopeful that everything will be back to normal very soon. Hang in there my friends.

  14. The post was not offensive. I’ve been through about 6 cyclones (what hurricanes are called in Australia). I’m thinking of all the people effected by Sandy.

  15. I’m afraid I didn’t have a chance to see this or the preceding post until this evening due to power related issues. First of all, the Halloween post is the absolute best thing I’ve seen posted online related to Sandy. If only I could have read it during the blackout it would have cheered me up immensely at a time I badly needed it. It cheers me up immensely now. What doesn’t cheer me up is the (presumably) well-intended but utterly misguided reactions from complainers. I can only guess what they’d think of the gallows humor that got my family through the past week. I suppose I should hang my head in shame for being flippant and not being a solemn victim? Or maybe the complainers should grow up and get a clue.

  16. Like my Dad said to me a long time ago. Engage brain before engaging mouth. This was a time back when computers that had a tenth of the junkiest computer now filled a room, but the gist of the statement holds true.

    Unfortunatly I don’t live up there, it seems that I live around a bunch of idiots that are more than satisfied is thinking that they have seen NYC, Paris, Venice, and London by just going to Vegas. In fact I have been told by someone that he spent 4 hours in NYC and has seen everthing!

    There’s a reason why NYC is the way it is. Because of the people that live there. In my opinion y’all are a lot smarter than the people I usually have to deal with. Scout’s blog is one that I follow everyday and over the years I’ve noticed his style of writing. That and it didn’t take much brain power to figure this one was a bit off. I do think I’m getting better It didn’t take me to the pink slime to figure it out this time.

    NYC’ers have exisited for roughly 400 years and a hurricane ain’t gonna wipe y’all out. Y’all are a very resilient people and will come out off all the post Sandy BS better than anyone else can.

    Keep up the good work Scout.

  17. I didn’t much care for your last post Nick, but I’ve followed you long enough and got to know you via the blog well enough to know you of all people intended no offence and I knew this before I reached the end of your post and read your heartfelt closing words.

    You provide and present one of the most interesting and informative NYC oriented blogs on the net.

    Thanks Scout!

  18. “”These are our private generators. We are not draining any resources from the city’s plan to recover,” Road Runners spokesman Richard Finn angrily insisted.”