I step out into the street but realize that I’d better not — there’s a current — and as my hallway fills, I remember the electrical panel in the basement. It shorts out, and I hear the breakers fall. Then there is an explosion outside, and the neighborhood goes dark. — Places Journal
In October 2012, as Hurricane Sandy approached New York, Alexandros Washburn defied evacuation orders and stayed fast in his home in Red Hook, watching as his street flooded and became a "full-fledged river." But he had good reason; the city's chief urban designer wanted to observe first-hand "the dynamics of the storm surge and its effect on our streets and structures." In an excerpt on Places from his new book The Nature of Urban Design, Washburn recounts his experience during the storm and the hugely complicated — and ongoing — municipal recovery and response.