by Patrick Appel
I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and there are four drugstores, one hardware store, and a RadioShack within a three block radius of my apartment. As of 2:30 this afternoon, there were no full-size flashlights left, a scant amount of duct tape available ($8 for 60 yards), and zero D or C batteries. At the hardware store, a scrum broke out among a few elderly ladies over a box of headlamps that were left. Yes, headlamps. The best we could do was a set of mini candles for $1.99, and a key chain flashlight for $9.99.
A reader makes a related points:
I work on the 47th floor and 80% of my colleagues were evacuated from the World Trade Towers in 2001, and when the floors shook this week, many of those people headed for the exits and never looked back. Sure, there are those who won’t or cannot take precautions – perhaps more here than in places that see more hurricanes. But the fact that the city’s own ordinances, in response to 9/11, now require extensive evacuation/rescue procedures for big buildings and the Bloomberg administration’s efforts to anticipate Irene means we are all better prepared. I dare John Seabrook to go out and try to buy batteries in midtown Manhattan. There are none.