MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Growing up in Apple Valley, the thought of living through a hurricane really never crossed Taylor Pemberton’s mind.
When Pemberton, 24, moved to Manhattan last February to take the next step in his creative design career, he didn’t expect to deal with howling winds and pounding rain, especially in late October.
But sure enough on Monday, Pemberton came face-to face with Hurricane Sandy, spending 48 hours hunkered down in the darkness of his Lower East Side apartment.
“It’s been an experience that’s for sure,” said Pemberton, who was staying with a friend in Brooklyn when we spoke on Thursday. “Very, very interesting.”
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Pemberton’s apartment is on the third floor of an old building, well isolated from any threat of floodwaters. His SoHo neighborhood was not under mandatory evacuation ahead of Sandy’s arrival.
So he stuck it out, armed with flashlights, candles and blankets.
“I could hear the wind and the rain, and the roof door kept slamming shut,” Pemberton said. “I heard firefighters going up and down the stairs entering apartments because people had flooded their bathtubs fearing the worst-case scenario.
“When you consider it’s pitch black, it’s pretty frightening when you don’t know if the person (in the hallway) is a legitimate government official or is a criminal.”
As bizarre as it was to see the busiest city in the world as a dark ghost town, the days that have followed the storm have been even more strange.
Sandy knocked out hot water, leaving people cramming bodegas and markets trying to stay warm and dry.
Cell phone service has been spotty, at best.
“The lines have been out the door with people trying to get inside these bodegas to get a hot coffee,” Pemberton said. “You look inside some of these places and there are candles and people sharing power strips tied to generators just trying to charge their phones. It’s like a different era.”
Staying in Brooklyn has been a relief as Pemberton’s apartment is still without power. When WCCO Radio spoke with him Thursday, he was trying to figure out a way to get back to his place to empty out a refrigerator and freezer full of rotting contents.
“It’s been an adventure, but I think it was a good decision to stay put,” said Pemberton, whose mother Pam begged him to come back to the Twin Cities until Sandy passed.
“I was definitely outside my comfort zone.”