Intrepid contributor Nick Goddard embarks on a journey through lower Manhattan on his cub. No power, no traffic lights, no cops. But plenty of crazy cab drivers, utility trucks and dangers. – Ed.
Manhattan’s power outage hit traffic lights below the 30s, and while there are now policemen and flares on most corners, earlier in the week it was a free for all, or rather, a return to active and alert driving. I pinned it from Chambers Street to 13th Street, and only slowed at Canal. There was never that feeling of being trapped unnecessarily by a red light, and after the merciless blast around Manhattan, the staccato progress through Brooklyn seemed like a colossal waste of time. Right at the end of the bridge I was held at a traffic light for more than a minute — even after having proven my intersection-assessment capabilities countless times in Manhattan. Hasn’t anyone here heard of roundabouts?
In the East Village, there was a pizza place open. It was lit by nearly one hundred candles, and the gas oven was still churning out pies. There was no music, and nobody could disappear into their cell phones. The friendly, bored guys I met had been without power for days, and eventually offered me a handful of Reese’s Puffs from their stash. It was a nice break from the usual flatscreen TVs and blaring music. In fact, it’s so quiet in the powerless parts of Manhattan, both acoustically and optically, that anywhere north of 34th street seems like Las Vegas.