Hurricane Sandy: A letter from The Week's editor

As the storm overtook New York City, our editors scrambled to produce a magazine

William Falk

I'm reasonably eager to come to work every Monday morning, but this is the first time I've walked up five flights of stairs in the dark and kicked in a door to get to my desk. The vast Dead Zone that Sandy left in its flattened wake the other night included the building in New York City where we produce The Week. At our office, even the front door's electric lock was inoperable without the constant flow of electrons that is modernity's lifeblood. So the magazine's chief financial officer, Kevin Morgan, and I forced the door open by kicking. Then a half dozen editors and our IT guru swarmed over the inert computers, unplugging what we needed. Like ants, we carried monitors and towers and keyboards down the stairs, lighting our way by flashlights. We set it all up in a hotel conference room a block away, on the other side of the blackout line. And then we went to work to produce the magazine's pages. You paid your money; we owed you a magazine.

This was duty, not heroism. The heroes were wading through the swollen rivers that were once streets, air-lifting people off roofs, pulling trees off houses and power lines, and untangling the chaos throughout the Northeast. The chaos was staggering in its scope — a reminder of how quickly what we consider "normal life" can be overturned, smashed, submerged. At night, on the edge of the blackout zone in Manhattan, the dividing line was starkly visible: Uptown, civilization's spires sparkled with their usual brave light, as sullen clouds swirled above. Turn the other way: The canyons were silent, brooding, defeated. A great darkness had swallowed it all.

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