Update: 9:21 p.m. The Port Authority says all airports in the NYC region will be closed to arrivals at noon on Saturday. Most departures are being cancelled.
Update: 7:49 p.m. Several people are reporting on Twitter that the line at Trader Joe's wine store is really long.
Update: 7:48 p.m. Most everything is closed tomorrow.
Update: 7:40 p.m. More closures. JFK Airport will be closed at noon Saturday for international flights.
Update: 7:00 p.m. Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel is reporting live from Battery Park. He said that the Doubletree Hotel (8 Stone Street) where he is staying will close tomorrow. He reported that Battery Park (below) could experience a surge of 10 to 12 feet, depending on the timing of high tide.
You've heard about the storm. What was assumed to be a sleepy time for New Yorkers, these last dog days of August, has suddenly required everyone to become fully alert.
Hurricane Irene is coming. Low lying areas along the city shoreline are being evacuated. The MTA has called for a complete shutdown of the transportation system beginning at noon on Saturday. Many events have been cancelled, and most museums (and Broadway!) are closing their doors on Saturday and Sunday.
Many residents are making their way to their grocery stores and pharmacies to load up on supplies in case the electricity goes out. I had planned to be spending the week reading novels, but over the last 24 hours, I've found myself locating flashlights, purchasing many bottles of drinking water, and dragging in potted plants and lawn furniture from the balcony. On my way to the grocery store, I saw a squirrel carry a small can of Nutella up a tree. I took that as a sign.
This morning I needed to see the New York Harbor, so I went down to the Battery for a walk. Today is a warm and pretty day, with a hint of mugginess. Many others wandered down there, too, especially tourists. Like on other sunny days in the Big Apple, hundreds of people lined up to ride the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferries. Others stayed ashore, walking along the Battery at the water's edge to see the views.
I happen to live in an area of Manhattan deemed safe from rising waters, so I will not be required to evacuate. Many of us, however, are becoming aware of our precarious geography. The approaching hurricane is waking us up.
I will keep you posted.
Below: WNYC's interactive map of NYC Evacuation Zones -
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from Friday morning, August 26, 2011. All rights reserved. More pictures in this set on Flickr WOTBA. Thanks to WNYC for making this map available to the general public.