Hurricane Sandy and Holly’s Hurricane by Marie Carter
Out of destruction, can also come creativity, or in my case, a novel. On October 29, 2012, the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, flooding streets, tunnels, and subway lines, and cutting power in and around the city.
Unlike Hurricane Irene from the year before, Hurricane Sandy was a catastrophe for New York. I was at home in Brooklyn and had prepared by stocking up on dry food and filling the bathtub with water. My windows rattled to the point I thought they would shatter. At one point I heard a boom. On my Facebook feed, I learned there had been an explosion at a Con Edison power plant in the East Village.
Ten minutes after reading this, my internet stopped working so I turned the lights off and tried to sleep, though the sound of the wind tugging at my windows kept me fretful.
The next morning, relieved my electricity and internet were working, I contacted my various workplaces based in Manhattan who told me not to come in for the week. Most subways were not functioning. Footage showed water pouring into subway stations. Extra buses were transporting huge crowds people around Manhattan to limited areas where traffic lights were still working.
Wanting to be useful with my week off, I volunteered at my yoga studio, which offered a place to get Wi-Fi, power, and hot tea. I helped with fixing and cleaning up a community farm in Brooklyn. In Red Hook, Brooklyn, I volunteered for FEMA in lower income communities experiencing food and water shortages.
To my alarm, according to the news, climate change scientists predicted New Yorkers would have to become used to hurricane damage. How were we going to prepare for this future?
With the threat of damaged to be caused by climate change I began wondering how that might shape New York’s future, and from that my novel Holly’s Hurricane was born. Set in 2040, the book takes place in a New York City devastated by a category 4 Hurricane. The protagonist is architect, Holly Williams, who escapes to her home country in England before the hurricane touches down and she watches in horror the devastation of her adopted home. From there, she begins hallucinating about New York City’s past, and begins to imagine, like my initial inspiration for the book, how creativity might emerge from destruction.
About the Author:
Marie Carter is a Scottish writer, editor, writing teacher, and tour guide, based in Astoria, NY. Her first book, The Trapeze Diaries, based on her experiences of learning trapeze, was published by Hanging Loose Press. Her novel Holly’s Hurricane was published in November 2018. Fascinated by New York City’s macabre and little-known histories in her writing and life, she decided to further her interest by becoming a licensed tour guide with Boroughs of the Dead. She created and guides the “Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria” tour and also leads other tours in Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, and Roosevelt Island.