Tricia Dumouchel, who is the marketing director for Sevenoaks Shopping Centre, is one of the millions of people who were caught up in the destruction left behind by Hurricane Sandy.
Still trapped in New York, she sent The News the following account of her ordeal:
Three friends who met in Red Deer, Alta., decided to make a quick decision to go to New York City for a holiday, thanks to an airline seat sale. We landed Wednesday, Oct. 24 and had a wonderful vacation. On Saturday, we did hear from shop retailers about a hurricane coming, but they said “this won’t be as big as Irene.”
Sunday we enjoyed a service at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and the pastor, Jim Cymbla, mentioned the hurricane. We got concerned when he said “The subway will be closed at 7 p.m. tonight.”
We instantly were on the phone to our airline to try and get out on Sunday instead of Monday. All flights were booked, or had been cancelled until Tuesday. As you may be aware, 15,000 flights were canceled due to hurricane Sandy, and Linguardia airport just re-opened with partial access on Thursday.
I will be able to return to Abbotsford on Nov 3.
One friend had to work on Oct. 31 and booked an Air Canada flight on Tuesday to Newark. She left us Monday and was stranded in Queens, New York, and was without power for two days, before she returned to Manhattan on Wednesday. We were so happy she was safe and sound!
“I was so excited to be going home, but then all of sudden there was no power, and I couldn’t do anything. I was stranded in a hotel,with no one to talk to,” she said. “From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. was the worst. There was water everywhere, tree branches went flying, cast iron gates were ripped off, police on the highway were trying to direct people to safety, the lights in the light posts were damaged. I knew I was going to be okay, but I was scared I was not going to go home. With no power, I had only chocolate bars, chips and pop to eat. I knew there were millions without power… so I had to wait in the dark. The worst part was I couldn’t let my family or friends know I was OK.”
While we remained in Manhattan, literally everything closed by 4 p.m. Sunday, October 28 after (Mayor Michael) Bloomberg’s compelling messages to flee and take safety. We stocked up on food, knowing it would be a while.
We were blessed to have an extended stay in our hotel, and we were the fortunate ones to remain with power. We did get to go for a walk Monday night around 9 p.m. close to Time Square. It was very eerie with no more than 20 people walking around – Time Square would see thousands a day (an estimated 1.6 million according to Wiki Answers). And nothing was open. Stores like Saks on Fifth Avenue were boarded up. It was very windy on the walk and all subway stations were and still remain closed. We even saw the power transformers blow up that affected all of lower Manhattan.
All in all, we are blessed to be safe and sound and I really hope we get out of here on Saturday. You start to go crazy cooped up many days in a hotel room!
My prayers go out to the millions affected by Sandy.