San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Brooklyn, N.Y. – I realized only on Wednesday that I had a perfect view of one of the iconic images of Hurricane Sandy outside my window in my home office. The crane is still dangling from the 90-story luxury high rise on 59th Street in Manhattan. It is stable now and should be removed in the coming days and weeks.
It is a metaphor on the ingenuity of human beings to build to the sky, and the power of Mother Nature to flip it over at a moment's notice and tell us who is really the boss.
I have a few thoughts on a week most of us on the East Coast will never forget. I will preface my remarks like I did back in 2001 and after Katrina that TWICE usually does not comment on non-industry issues and news. But this week’s events have been so overwhelming that I have to.
First off, our thoughts and prayers especially go to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The deaths and loss of homes and businesses is staggering. For those of us in the New York metropolitan area, it harkens back to the dark days of 9/11 and its aftermath.
While the loss of life is far less than 9/11, it is almost as profound since the damage is more widespread. An entire way of life on the Jersey shore has to be rebuilt. Major sections of Staten Island, the Breezy Point and Rockaway Beach sections in Queens, and large parts of Long Island have to be rebuilt. Watching local TV news reports makes parts of those areas look like New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. And I haven’t even mentioned other damage up and down the East Coast.
I won’t repeat what we reported on earlier today, but check the link.
Several well-known companies in this industry are taking a financial hit, but hopefully things will be back to normal soon.
TWICE offices have been closed all week due to the power blackout and communications problems. I am happy to report that our staff is safe and sound. Yours truly was very, very lucky — no power outage and no damage.
But most of our editorial team continue to experience power outages, no web or phone access. When they were able to go to a place to work, or get a generator working, they were able to report on the news of the industry. That is why I am so proud of the TWICE editorial team.
They were able to post stories and publish our daily newsletters all week in spite of the emergency and trying to take care of their families and loved ones. I thank them for their professionalism, and I hope you do too.
The only way our staff could do our jobs is through the power of the digital technologies our industry has provided over the years. Texting has been vital, smartphones have proven to be invaluable (when the towers are working) and of course digital imaging, Wi-Fi, laptops, social networking and the Internet.
Hurricane Sandy taught many lessons, one of them being how reliant we are on our electrical grid and communications networks. Something has to be done to protect them from future disasters.
I agree with Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, who said in one of his many press briefings this week (and I am paraphrasing), that anyone who doesn’t think that weather patterns are changing is just not paying attention. It isn’t just here. It is everywhere around the globe.
For our children, grandchildren and future generations, we have to wean our way off of fossil fuels rather quickly and try – at least try – to move to solar and other renewable energy sources. If this tragic storm does have a silver lining, maybe it will convince many more people that climate change is here. And we have to change our energy usage as a result.
And one more comment, if I may as a lifelong New Yorker and Brooklynite: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has allowed the New York City Marathon to take place as scheduled on Sunday. That is a mistake. To move one member of the New York City police, fire or sanitation departments away from helping battered citizens at this time of death and destruction is a terrible decision. While we try to clean up, rebuild, we need to remember that we have to help those who have lost everything and take the time to console those who have lost loved ones.
Please send contributions to your favorite charities, and there are many, who are collecting funds for Hurricane Sandy relief.