In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina devastated the US Gulf Coast I sat transfixed by the live images on my television. To me, what I seeing was unimaginable – a major US city was essentially underwater. This was unthinkable. Nearly 2,000 people perished from this storm, and damages were well into the billions. And it happened here – in the United States. I was glued to the 24-hour news cycle. At the time, I remember thinking that something like this couldn’t possibly happen where I live. A natural disaster of that magnitude just doesn’t happen in New York City, so I told myself.
As we’re wrapping up the final issue of 2012, our area is still reeling in the aftermath of what the media has dubbed Superstorm Sandy. Our company is headquartered in Ramsey, NJ, a suburb of New York City. The office was without power for almost two weeks, along with more than 8 million other area homes and businesses. Some for even longer, some still without power. The storm rocked our region, creating a surreal scene that resembled something closer to a science fiction or post-apocalyptic movie. The famed Manhattan skyline went dark, bridges and tunnels were closed, the Jersey Shore was decimated. Houses burned and neighborhoods destroyed. People waited several hours in line for state-rationed gasoline to fuel not only their cars, but also generators to heat their homes.
In the wake of the storm, as humanity does in time of crisis, people came together. Everybody called everybody to make sure they were okay. Neighbors looked in on one another. Those with power sheltered those without. Volunteers have come out in droves. The storm took, devastated and altered many lives. Those who simply lost power or suffered relatively minor property damage acknowledge how lucky they are.
Sandy serves as a reminder of who is really in charge. She certainly burst the bubble that I was living in, and many others who may have taken for granted Mother Nature, electricity and fuel, and who is at the mercy of who.
As I sat in my home office working on this issue, I thought about how vulnerable we are. We are so dependent on gas and electricity in our everyday personal and professional lives. From computers to telephones and refrigerators to manufacturing equipment, cars and trucks, we can hardly function without our precious utilities. For many, a week or two without being able to work can be crippling. The Northeast US is home to several label converters, and I’ve wondered how you fared and if you were impacted. I’d like to hear your Sandy story if you’d like to share it.
With the holiday season upon us, I think, for many, being thankful along with the spirit of giving will take on a special meaning. On behalf of Label & Narrow Web, seasons greetings and happy holidays.
Steve Katz, Editor