After the storm

Everyone at Agora Gallery would like to thank all of the people who so kindly contacted us to ask how we were all doing during and in the wake of Hurricane Irene, and to check that all was well with us and the gallery. We’d like to assure you that we are all well, and that the gallery is completely fine! We’re open as normal this week and, as always, we welcome art enthusiasts to the gallery.

However, we did all have a rather dramatic weekend. The blog seems like a good place to share some of the experience of members of the Agora Gallery staff, so here we go!

One of the strangest things about the whole event was the way it impacted New York City. Well known as the city that never sleeps, this title is usually entirely deserved. It’s never quiet here; there are always stores open, people about, things happening. Not in the build up to Irene. Everyone headed to the safety of their homes and the comfort of their loved ones, and the streets were all but deserted.

Of course, we were all still emailing each other to see what was going on! The most evocative one from the pre-hurricane quiet was from Angela, who said that: “All is silent in NYC right now, it’s a bit strange… I can see trees from my window and nothing is moving.”

A number of people headed out of the city, to be with their friends and family or simply to find a place where they felt more comfortable. Two of these were members of our lovely gallery staff, Exhibition Coordinator Nellie Scott and Marketing Assistant Alexandra Cespedes.

Alex’s story:

Friday night, I headed to Cape Cod to find safety in the arms of my amazing boyfriend, Shawn Keith Beaty. Now, you may go ‘awww’ at the fact that I wanted to be with my boyfriend during this hurricane frenzy, but really there was no better place to be. For Shawn is a U.S Coast Guard and his job is to save lives at times of natural disasters. I myself braved it out without power for twenty four hours on Sunday. I had plenty of candles to light the house and my canvas to keep me company. At around 9:30pm Sunday evening I called it quits and decided I’d much rather sleep through the storm.  A couple hours later at around 2:30am, I was deeply asleep and dreaming. Little did I know that my boyfriend was rescuing a woman on Rhode Island Beach in his helicopter at the time!

Below, you can find the video and article from the rescue posted on the Huffington Post Website.




Nellie’s story:

After watching the news non-stop for days, I think I may have become an amateur hurricane expert. Feel free to ask me about pressure systems… Ask me about filling your tub with water…  Ask me about how to board windows and sandbag against flooding… I’m your new go-to hurricane survivalist gal.

I was on Long Island to battle out the storm at my boyfriend’s house. His house happens to be on the water, and in a mandatory evacuation zone. Sounds adventurous, right? Needless to say, being from Oregon (we typically do not get hurricanes), I was really freaked out about what might happen –  especially when the power went on, then off, then on, then off. Sleep was only found in the form of mini catnaps, and early Sunday morning around 1am the news announced that a tornado warning was in effect for the area… wonderful.

At one point, a neighbor’s home alarm went off because of the power problems, and the siren mixed with the wind, we thought it was a tornado siren… while it wasn’t, that really got the adrenaline going. In moments such as these, worse case scenarios start flooding your conversations. Should we take an axe to the top floor – in case we have to cut ourselves out of the roof like they did in Hurricane Katrina? Do we save our goldfish (Mr. Lou Dia-fin Phillips) or hope he can evolve into a salt water fish? How long can a person survive on cheese puffs?

Stepping outside on to the porch you could hear the ocean waves crashing down. Around 3am, while in the basement, we heard glass break and things falling, at which point we panicked and ran upstairs to check on his roommate. A tree next door had fallen, barely missing the house. It must have shaken a stack of boxes that came tumbling down (explaining the sound). The bottom half of the yard and docks were flooded, but making proper preparations overall helped to keep the damage to a minimum. I am really thankful that all precautionary life-saving measures were taken across the East Coast. Much of Long Island had severe flooding, power outages and fallen trees. The spirit of New Yorkers was spectacular, everything was done calmly and effectively, in an attitude of “we’ve seen worse.”

The friend of the local radio station (WEHM), Dena Giacobbe summed up the storm quite nicely, “Hurricane Irene is just like Christmas… Family keeps calling, there is a ton of last minute shopping, and at some point we’ll have a tree in the living room.”


Despite all the drama, things are speedily returning to normal. As Angela says, “It’s time to dry out. We are very fortunate because we dodged “the big bullet” thanks to the cooler ocean water in the north and high tide being a bit out of synch with the hour the storm hit.”

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