Remembering Sandy One Year Later

Today is the first full day that Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York City. The Category 3 Hurricane killed 285 people and was the second-costliest in United States history.

In the current issue of the New York Times Magazine, there’s an article detailing the “low-tech, last-minute” 8 ½’ x 55’ plywood barrier that kept the New York Harbor at bay, preventing it from denuding an East Harlem tunnel at 148th St. and Lenox.

This simple solution saved the day, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority, allowing almost all commuters to relatively-quickly return to their jobs.

If you live in the Bronx, you can take the above-ground subway, better known as the “El” … as in “elevated”. But most people rely on subterranean subways in the Big Apple. On this first anniversary of Sandy, we should honor the memory of those who died. We should also be thankful that more people didn’t lose their lives.

I have been painting New York cityscape art for almost 20 years now. Subways don’t make the best cityscape canvases, though, subway cars, unfortunately, make for attractive canvases for graffiti artists. Maybe this is why I’ve only, to date, created one cityscape that has a subway. It’s called “The El-The Bronx.”

One of my favorite originals that also somewhat involves a subway is Chelsea. It features a subway map of the downtown neighborhood.

Why, if subways, are such an integral part of the New York cityscape, have I not produced more paintings of them? Perhaps I will in the future. And perhaps buried in my subconscious, Sandy is always lurking. Everything is ephemeral, temporary and vulnerable to destruction. We never imagined that towering skyscrapers would come crashing down, nor could we have predicted that 150 blocks north of downtown, Harlem could be threatened with flooding.

Skyscrapers and buildings have always appealed to me. Growing up in New York, from age 2-18, the urban cityscape still leaves an indelible impression upon me as I enter my seventh decade of life. As I realize the importance of the subway in New Yorkers lives’, perhaps I will create more cityscape scenes of them; a challenge when they are most often underground.

We’ll never forget 9/11 nor will we ever forget Sandy.