It all started it out with the bizarre earthquake that hit the East Coast on Tuesday, August 30. The core of the earthquake hit some small town in Virginia in the middle of the afternoon, but the shocks that came with it could be felt from Atlanta, GA up the East Coast, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, PA, and New York City; It could also be felt as far north as Toronto, Ontario, Canada and as far west as Chicago, Illinois. This thing freaked out a lot of people! Especially the timing of it as we're so close to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
I personally didn't feel it - or at least I don't think I did. I'm so used to loud booming noises from construction and garbage trucks during the day that when we did get that bit of shaking, I naturally assumed it was that. Then moments later my Twitter feed started blowing up with folks freaking out about a possible earthquake. I immediately switched on the TV and sure enough, the news media were shooting out reports about a possible earthquake on the East Coast. Crazy stuff.
Meanwhile, while this is going on, we're getting reports about a possible hurricane heading towards the NYC area. Now I didn't take it seriously.... at first. On Wednesday, I sort of "poo-poo'd" it. Didn't have a single concern about it. Figured that whatever hurricane that was forming in the Caribbean would eventually blow away from us. I had more pressing thing on my mind, which was the upcoming World Police and Fire Games, set to take place in New York for the first time. Well, Mother Nature had different plans for us as she invaded the East Coast like a bat out of hell, sending everyone out on a frantic search for "provisions" to tide them over until the storm passed. Between the non-stop media coverage from weather teams from every channel, to Mayor Bloomberg's minute-by-minute press conferences, damn near everyone within striking distance of NYC were in total freak mode.
By the time Hurricane Irene made her way to our area, most of the people in the area had made their way to safe shelter. Most of them had no choice; The Mayor of New York shut down the transportation system at 12 noon on Saturday. So that effectively killed any sort of action in the city. Many of the bars and restaurants were forced to close up shop as they couldn't staff their establishments with employees (we closed too). The World Police and Fire Games events were cancelled for the weekend. To say the Big Apple was a ghost town would be an understatement. It was eerily silent by sundown. As the stormy weather arrived, it was pretty quiet most of the night, sans the occasional loud screams of crazy frat boys and girls running up and down 3rd Avenue in the rain, wearing nothing but underwear. You can't make this stuff up.
Alas, after all of the craziness leading up to the storm, and the storm itself, the day after (Sunday) was beautiful. Granted there was a lot of downed branches and plenty of evidence that showed that we had a pretty bad storm, but for the most part, we escaped the powerful punch of the hurricane.
In the meantime, the storm caused havoc on scheduled events, such as baseball and football games, and more importantly, the World Games. The opening ceremony for the Games took place on Friday and by Saturday, all of the events for both Saturday and Sunday were cancelled, thus throwing the week's schedule into a tizzy and leaving 18,000 athletes stuck in the Big Apple with little to do.
You know by Sunday evening, many of these folks had cabin fever and they were ready to get out and blow off some steam. We had quite a few members from various teams around the world and they had a great time "blowing off steam"! A nice way to end what was a pretty strange weekend.
Last night I hit the U.S. Open and caught the Nadal/Golubev match. I usually try to attend the Open for at least one session each year and this year was my first time attending a night session. I enjoyed it for a number of reasons. First off, they had the free Delta Ferry Shuttle available which was great. Walk three blocks to the ferry dock and there's a ferry waiting to whisk us up the East River to the tennis venue, which is right next to Citi Field, the home of the NY Mets.
Walking towards the Tennis Center, I was wearing flip-flops and realized that this was the first time in a long time that I've walked on real grass. What does that say about me? Damn... (it felt nice).
Famous tennis commentator Bud Collins, trying to hawk his book in the courtyard of the USTA. His wife was trying to push his book, yelling "Buy the book! And he'll autograph it for you!" Somewhat surreal experience.