If you haven’t heard of Irene this week-end I guess you were just lost in the middle of nowhere with your smartphone out of battery. If you are one of those you are probably updated now, otherwise there is few I can do for you, except inviting you to read the following.
Irene started as a hurricane in the Caribbean Sea, but it has turned into a media monster well before it hit Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY and was subsequently downgraded as a mere tropical storm heading North-East.
After all the jacks are in their boxes
And the clowns have all gone to bed
You can hear happiness staggering on down the street
Footprints dressed in red
And the wind whispers Mary
from: Wind Cries Mary – Jimi Hendrix
With Irene you could see sharks staggering on down the flooded streets:
News media did a tremendous job of covering Irene. Nothing else deserved to be covered during 48 hours (that was made easy because of Irene cancelling all sport games on the East coast during that time). Whatever damages Irene could do on land it had already managed to sweep any other events from the screens. But I am not sure the media were rewarded in their efforts. Shortly after Irene left NYC I noticed a seemingly disappointed Anderson Cooper challenging the weather report guy about why the least worst scenario occurred in NYC (the same weather guy who explained 12 hours before that skyscrapers window glasses in Manhattan would likely to be shattered by the ongoing winds, backed by persuasive colorful animations). I also noticed that most cameramen then took time to cleanse their lens when filming, whereas they obviously did not have the time to do so in the heat of the moment, so to speak.
National news media such as CNN were visibly so exhausted by this intense coverage of Irene coming into NYC, that they put much less effort to track her when she left and headed North to New England… Another explanation is that Irene was much less sexy after she left NYC. As a matter of fact she lost most of her fame when she passed through Massachusetts (leaving the Big Apple to Beantown ? no hype here).
As for us go figure: I was unwise enough to tell my kids that on Sunday we would be forced to stay at home. But before noon I was upset and had to go outside. I did a short ride to check out how it was out there, in spite of the promise I made to my anxious relatives in France that I would be very careful (seems like media in Europe were expecting some kind of Armageddon).
Then soon after lunch we took the car for a ride downtown Boston and the waterfront. The nicest thing was the traffic: almost nonexistent. But there was not much to see except tree branches down here and there. I was hoping the Max Bremer chocolate bar to be open, thought it was the perfect occasion for that. Unfortunately it was closed – unlike some other restaurants and bars on Newbury street and Boylston street. Then we went around the Boston Common and there were two big trees that have fallen down during the storm.
The local media were here to cover the outrage.