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ELLE’s Hurricane Sandy Diary

By Emily Cronin

Perhaps you’ve heard of her? The ‘frankenstorm’ swept up the coast on Monday evening, leaving hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers without power, incapacitating the public transport system, closing schools and offices, flooding whole sections of Manhattan and causing incalculable damage to infrastructures and economies across the north-eastern United States.

But faced with the oncoming hurricane on Monday, many New Yorkers made the best of the situation with drinks, dinner parties and board games galore. Because why should we let the storm of the century interfere with a good time?

I spent yesterday afternoon cosily cut off from the outside world. And would have continued to do so well into the evening, had downstairs neighbour Linda not intercepted me with an invitation to dinner on my last snack-food run of the day. ‘I’ve got steaks in the freezer,’ she said. ‘May as well grill them before we lose power.’

At 7:45, I slipped into a silk midi-dress and my highest Christian Louboutin heels, applied makeup for the first time all day, picked up a torch, a container of chocolate chip cookies and my phone, and traipsed down two flights of stairs to my first-ever hurricane party.

Linda, domestic goddess in the face of disaster that she is, had prepared a four-course feast (and to think, we’d only recently met!). Wind gusted, rain swirled, and we all held our breaths for a beat every time the lights flickered, wondering if this would be it. But it wasn’t, and the wine didn’t stop.

We weren’t the only ones. ‘I'm getting a different kind of blackout drunk tonight,’ Alexa Chung tweeted after losing power. PS I Made This crafter Erica Domesek spent her pre-Sandy day baking a rice-crispy cake in the shape of a Dia de los Muertos skull for a friend’s birthday, she told Fashionista. Blogger Briony Whitehouse, based in the UK but visiting friends in New York, watched Audrey Hepburn movies through the afternoon, then made cocktails and played cards by candlelight when the power went out.

'In Florida, for hurricanes, we board windows,' my friend Tanya Leis, a native Floridian who spent last night at a party in a blacked-out Chelsea apartment, explained. 'In New York, we set tables.'

Four hours after we arrived at our party, we walked back upstairs and read Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s statement that ‘the storm has met our expectations.’ Not everyone’s version of ‘making the best of it’ involved a soiree. We know we were lucky to be safe and warm. And surely, that’s something worth toasting to.

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