Reflections on Sandy

I ended yesterday’s post with this:

Hurricane Sandy looks to be coming through NYC at that time and I don’t know what that may cause me and my family to be doing at that time. We live right on the Hudson, at the border of Zone A. So I’ve got a few things on my mind today that fit right into this Sustainability theme….

Stay safe everyone on the east coast today. Let’s hope the hype is overblown. And let’s prepare as if it isn’t.

On my way back from a business breakfast, I saw folks in Hudson River Park looking at the Hudson River so I walked over and recorded this video of the Hudson breaching its banks around 10am eastern.

That was the moment I knew that our street would turn into a lake. I just felt it in my gut. Around that time my partner Albert posted this on his tumblr. We traded a few comments and he led me to this page on NOAA’s website. This was the chart I was tracking all day yesterday:

Water levels at the battery

At the time I took that video the water height on this chart was around eight feet. You can see that it peaked at about 14.5 feet. That’s 6.5 feet higher than the time of my video.

After our monday team meeting (which we did on Google Hangouts with great success), I went downstairs and explained to the Gotham Gal and Josh that we should evacuate. I got a little pushback from both but mostly from Josh who thought we could ride out the storm in our apartment.

I was adamant that we should leave. I told them that our street was going to become a lake (or worse a river) and that we would lose power and things would be a mess. I finally won them over and we headed out around 4pm. We went uptown to stay at a friend’s house on higher ground. Before we left, the Gotham Gal and I went to the basement storage room and removed all family heirlooms and anything we couldn’t replace easily and took them upstairs to our apartment. But we forgot to empty the ice makers in our apartment (which caused me to wake up in the middle of the night last night with an “oh shit” moment).

We spent the rest of the day following events on Twitter and TV. The Mayor’s regular updates on TV were helpful, but by far the best coverage of Sandy was on Twitter, with links out to blogs and Instagram. That led me to tweet this out yesterday night.



Our street in the west village did in fact become a lake with somewhere around 5 feet of water at the height of the storm surge. Our building’s basement was submerged and our ground floor apartment which houses the Gotham Gal’s office took many feet of water. The building lost power and I suspect it won’t have it back for a while. It was a disaster from which we will be impacted for months I suspect.

But as bad as our street and building had it, much of NYC had it worse. Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn were flooded way worse than the west village. The subway system took the most severe  flooding of anytime in its history. Many of the subway tunnels between Manhattan and Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn are flooded. And some of the automobile tunnels are flooded too. There have been power plant explosions, fires, and all sorts of other Sandy related calamaties.

It was a big storm and it wreaked much damage on NYC last night. But the loss of life was relatively low and from what I can tell, city officials and the first responders in the fire and police department did their usual heroic job. We will get through this the same way we have gotten through other disasters.

I may take the week off. I have a lot to tend to on the home front and NYC is not going to be the easiest place to live and work this week. My son’s school is almost certainly closed for the next few days. 

But I’ll likely keep blogging. It helps to be able to talk about this stuff, to get it out, and to discuss it. So we can start doing that while my family and I start digging out.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Ruth BT

    Great call Fred. Nothing is worth more than your family. Water damage takes time to work through and the smell – oh my you are in for a treat! Stock up on the hand sanitizer and cleaning equipment. Stay safe.

    1. fredwilson

      We had a flood in our apartment last year so I am prepared for the pain that water damage is

      1. Ruth BT

        oh yes, so you well know!

      2. Humberto

        is your floor hardwood, or ? my parents switched to marble + carpets after the last water problem.. worst thing, you replace the carpets. it’s an investment..

        1. fredwilson

          I might have to do that

          1. Dale Allyn

            In Thailand it’s quite common to have tile or stone flooring on the lower floors, especially near a river. Quite trivial (by comparison) to clean up when the rivers rise.

      3. markslater

        careful before you go down there – this guy woke up to something in his yard in jersey…..

        1. JamesHRH

          shark? holy smokes.

        2. matthughes

          That’s literally my worst nightmare right there. Yikes!

        3. bernardlunn

          Is that for real? Please tell me that is not a Photoshop joke!

      4. ShanaC

        insurance didn’t cover it? And it sounds like you have a low floor apartment.

        1. fredwilson

          yes. insurance did cover it. but you still have to fight with them for full coverage.

    2. Cam MacRae

      For some reason I thought you were in Sydney… but given you were in last year’s floods you’re in Brissy?

      1. Ruth BT

        Yes, but my heart will always belong to the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Go the Blues!

  2. LukeH

    Best wishes to you, your family and friends. The images on the news are truly unbelievable. NYC has a long road ahead.

  3. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Wish I could tangibly help you guys. Thoughts are with you all – it’s a cliche to say ‘at least you are all safe’ as the disruption to one’s home is such a shock – but, thankful you are all OK. Watched it unfold in horror on CNN last night – we have wild weather here but when it happens in a city, with flooding, that must be very scary. Take care. C and H x.

    1. fredwilson

      The impact to the mass transit system and the power grid is what really gets you in a city

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Absolutely. Plus, the sheer density of buildings/cars/people/’street furniture’ makes it seem all the more likely something will get damaged. We often over winter period get 70mph+ winds and intense rainfall/snow, but we live on a hill in the middle of nowhere and the houses are generally over 100yrs old and were built to withstand extreme weather. Modern urban living can seem very vulnerable to Mother Nature.

  4. Ellen Qbertplaya

    Glad you and your family are safe. Hope you get back into the swing of things soon.

    1. fredwilson


    2. Donna Brewington White

      Q!!! I had to do a double-take seeing you here.

  5. John Best

    I read something yesterday that summed up Twitter’s role. Someone posted something like “Twitter owns what is happening, broadcast news owns what has happened”. Again, thoughts are with you, and I’m glad you and GG got out.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s about right

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Ironic timing: just realised the significance of this gift I received last night…

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      And Twitter is so human, by definition. The cable news coverage I saw was appalling – CNBC ‘did it’ for me when in the peak/midst of the storm their main studio discussion was concerning the impact to retail sales. I couldn’t believe the ridiculous detachment to what was happening – insulting. Lives, property, etc, etc at risk and from their cosy studio they talked about the GDP impact, etc. Having a field reporter in a storm-jacket, stood in a couple of feet of water does not give them empathy with how real people are suffering.Twitter conveys it immediately.

      1. danhoffmann

        Amen to that. Twitter was an amazing tool last night. People in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn were providing better coverage of the events than TV or Radio ever could have.

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Good quote. Twitter is often the first place I go these days when disaster strikes or when anything monumental occurs. Although today checking in at AVC had particular significance in the midst of this crisis.

    4. leigh

      that’s a great quote

  6. Cam MacRae

    Good decision, Fred.Best wishes to you and your family.

  7. William Mougayar

    Safe wishes for all. It is a sad day to see all this dammage and not be able to do anything about it. I was following on Twitter and the news was coming as it was happening. Twitter truly shined.I wished there was some technology that could break-up these storms before they deteriorate. Why can’t we just blast them off in the skies or something like that.

  8. awaldstein

    Hey Fred…Sorry you got whacked so hard. If there is anything I can do, just ask.It was block to block. I’m in Zone A and faired well.About to head out and survey the neighborhood. it’s both a thankful and painful day for the city.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Good news, Arnold. Take care out there.

    2. RichardF

      Great to hear you are all safe and well Arnold

    3. fredwilson

      Take some photos and post them on the internet. That’s how I kept track of our neighborhood last night. The crowd produced the news I wanted to consume last night. Twitter search delivered

    4. JimHirshfield

      Did you evacuate?

  9. kidmercury

    glad you decided to is a good time to bring up the weather modification technology governments of the world already have and have been using in warfare since at least vietnam. that same technology can be used to prevent stuff like this too. too bad that doesnt happen and no one believes it or talks about it. search the web for “weather modification patent” or “geoengineering patent” to see related patents.

    1. fredwilson


    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      I very much believe it. But, should we tamper with Mother Nature, like so? Even if to deflect such a storm? A very tricky moral area, this one. The Russians used it decades ago as, I recall, to literally ensure “Don’t rain on my parade” – massive topic.

      1. kidmercury

        i’m all for “tampering” with mother nature…..i think all of human existence can be construed as tampering with nature….

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Hmmm, and look where it’s got us… We need to look at cause/effect – if we are further interfering with nature because we are so ‘smart’ and because we ‘can’ but those very events are actually caused by us – well, we’re in a very circular and even more self-destructive loop, I fear.Still, we live in a world where UBS announces 10k layoffs and people find out they’re sacked by being denied entry to their offices – and UBS’ stock-price soars.Thanks for the fish, as they say…

    3. William Mougayar

      Can this technology break-up storms before they get worse?

      1. kidmercury

        yes, according to those who have come forth about it:…they can also divert storms so that instead of hitting a city with 8 million people it goes off to where nothing is or just circles around the ocean

    4. markslater

      ha! never knew.

    5. JamesHRH

      I am with Fred – wow.

    6. Cam MacRae

      The Chinese had 21 AA batteries deployed around Beijing during the Olympics to ensure fine weather for the games. Apparently they fired 1,104 rounds containing silver iodide. I guess it worked.

    7. Donna Brewington White

      Funny how I now have a whole different picture in my mind when I read your comments!

      1. kidmercury

        lol hopefully not too much worse! 🙂

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Not at all, Kid. Not at all.

  10. DonRyan

    We’ve been watching it from here in Ohio, what a mess. I was supposed to come to NYC tomorrow but I don’t think that’s happening. Stay safe.

    1. Aaron Klein

      I’ve got a trip planned in two weeks. I’ll wait until later this week to decide whether to reschedule.

  11. kirklove

    Sorry man. Two hurricanes, and the AC incident, I know how shitty you probably all feel. Really sorry. We’re on 67th, if you need anything.

    1. fredwilson

      As you know we high tailed it to the UWS last night. Upper being the operative word!

      1. kirklove

        Yup. 34 floors up we got a bit seasick from the building swaying, but I’ll take that over flooding.

        1. ShanaC


        2. Donna Brewington White

          Buildings swaying. Sounds like my neck of the woods. Except ours are built for it.

      2. JamesHRH

        Who knew that Lower Manhattan was fact, not abstract.

  12. Humberto

    good luck! in times of electric unstability, be sure to get your laptops power from an safe power-source, with a rectifier. you’ll damage or kill your gadgets otherwise.

  13. Mark Essel

    Healthy paranoid move heading to safer ground Fred, you’re a survivor. Best of luck with the cleanup. I won’t be making my regular commute in on mta LIRR (lots of flooding) and stroll down from Penn to SoHo for at least a week. Hope all the east coast AVC’ers are safe and sound. Caught some scary stuff in videos last night: fires, flooding, and this shared image from a coworker.

    1. Wavelengths

      Nice. I was watching the last of Fringe 4 on DVD last night, in between checking on storm info and worrying about the east coast folks. Surreal. Was that photo an outtake from Fringe?

      1. Mark Essel

        no idea, a buddy at work shared it last night

        1. Wavelengths

          Sorry. That was a haha. Fringe, if you’re not a fan, is a sci-fi show featuring two alternate universes and centered in NYC. A recurring scene is the Statue of Liberty, as we know her, much like the pov of your pic, switching to the “alternate” Lady Liberty who is a shiny bronze. (Brought by the team behind Lost.)

          1. Mark Essel

            gracias for the explanation 🙂

    2. ShanaC

      my parents lost power. I’m glad you are ok.

  14. jacopogio

    Take care!

  15. bfeld

    Sending you good karma my friend. If we can help in any way, just holler.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks for the Karma!

    2. takingpitches

      We need a distributed generation and smartgrid transmission system for Karma.Direct at NY/NJ for next few weeks.We will pay it forward after.

      1. ShanaC

        I think most of the country needs this

        1. Ric Fulop

          @ShanaC:disqus and @takingpitches:disqus there is a really good startup working on this critical technology by enabling the routing of electricity in real time http://gridcosystems.comFred, hope all is well with you and the USV family as well. Let me know if there is anything we can do by organizing the Boston startup crowd to help our affected NYC brothers.

    3. kenberger

      I’m supposed to be on a plane to your town tmw for Rubyconf, but probably can’t fly out in time 🙁

  16. Tom Evslin

    Best of luck for recovery. You set a good example by evacuating and not becoming a task for emergency crews. Mary works in the state emergency center during incidents like this and is appalling how often emergency workers have to risk their own lives – and take time away from other emergencies – to save people who stayed too long.

    1. fredwilson

      The Mayor and NJ Gov Chris Christie both had choice words last night for the folks who did not heed the evacuation orders.

      1. markslater

        they put first responders in the direct line of fire. It amazes me that people dont listen to this stuff.In boston we had your usual newscaster in wellies neck deep in water somewhere – and 2 joggers ran by in the background. seriously.

      2. JamesHRH

        Selfish and stupid.

  17. RichardF

    Glad to hear you are all safe.

  18. brian trautschold

    Respect for getting out of there.. Never underestimate the power of nature… Good luck and all you NY’ers & NE’ers stay safe/ sane.

  19. Wells Baum

    Good call Fred, the gut is usually right.I ventured around 10AM as well in Connecticut to capture the rising tide: plan on checking out the aftermath at 10AM today.Safety and recovery to all.

  20. RichardF

    shame Tumblr is down because I prefer it to Twitter for stuff like this.

    1. fredwilson

      I just posted two posts to tumblr

      1. RichardF

        was down for me but it’s back now!

    2. Donna Brewington White

      This makes me realize that I may be missing something on Tumblr. Never thought of it for something like this.

      1. RichardF

        yes, I find there is less noise than on Twitter. I’m sure you are glad you are on the West Coast at the moment!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I live in an area pretty notorious for natural disasters. At the same time, I am very glad not to be experiencing one. Yet, I have occasionally considered situations that would involve being in NYC on a regular basis. If I play my cards right, I can be positioned to have disasters coming at me from both sides. 😉

  21. Jan Schultink

    Glad you are safe99% chance of prolonged power outages seem to be enough of an argument to evacuate, regardless of flooding

  22. pointsnfigures

    Good luck. Once when my kids were small I went on vacation. Came back and my entire house was destroyed by water. Water damage is the worst. Dealing with insurance companies is the worst. I found I needed to learn how to speak their language-and my wife was much more patient than I was.I get start up businesses being off the grid for things like this. But there is little excuse for stock exchanges.

    1. fredwilson

      The Gotham Gal did exactly that last year when our apartment flooded when we were visiting family over thanksgiving. I guess we get flooded once a year these days

      1. panterosa,

        A flood was the demise of my marriage. The tart and dry Irish contractor’s Irish worker called our leak “a nice water feature”, as they pulled a garbage can up to it to capture the flow.

        1. ShanaC

          🙂 Good to see you online

    2. kidmercury

      agreed, these exchanges are so sloppily run on so many levels……closing them is inexcusable… doesn’t sleep!

    3. ShanaC

      If the servers lost power….And yes, I can name at least one startup that at least is partially off the grid

    4. Aaron Klein

      Agreed on the stock exchange. Their biggest fear was that the storm itself might cause huge trading volumes, and if something broke, they’d have limited capacity to fix it.Still, you have to wonder why more of the electronic trading operations aren’t located deep in a bunker in Kansas.

      1. CJ

        Because the latency from K.C. to NY would put them too far behind those with OPS right next to the Exchange.

        1. Aaron Klein

          I’m talking about putting the electronic exchange itself in Kansas.The HFTs would naturally move there as well for the reasons you stated.

          1. CJ

            Culture. It’s been in NYC, it’ll always be in NYC. Plus the entire industry would have to move to BFE…you think you can convince a bunch of rich fat cats to relocate to KC from NYC? If so, I’d like to sell you a bridge. :-)*added Smiley face, read it back and it sounded snippy. Was intended to be humorous. lol

          2. Aaron Klein

            You would not have to relocate the entire industry to put electronic exchange infrastructure and support staff there.

          3. ShanaC


          4. Aaron Klein

            That’s what the bunker part is for. 🙂

      2. StreetEYE (@streeteye)

        Some discussion here –…At this point, the building at Broad and Wall is a TV set, the computers are in bunkers safe and sound. Hence the initial decision to close the floor but continue trading. Also, you can now trade NYSE stocks on a lot of exchanges which are not impacted.I think they made the right decision, if the markets are open, a couple of hundred thousand people need to get to the office, and back, at a time when transportation is getting shut down. Wouldn’t be surprised if government and Mike Bloomberg weighed in.gratuitous plug – more Sandy/financial markets stuff at !

    5. brian trautschold

      This>>> How have we not completely disrupted (/crushed) insurance companies yet? Is it all based on the heavy upfront investment/ risk or is it just because they are red taped/ boring/ high walled (legislated) industries? Because as technically savvy, statistical inclined, customer focused group we should be actively annihilating them, because they are none of those things (sorry for rant)

      1. laurie kalmanson

        they served a useful social purpose when they pooled funds and balanced risk. they have gone from that to simply’s the same sickness that the banks have.making a profit is good. killing the goose is bad.

  23. Lee Blaylock

    Blessings to you and your family + all others in Sandy’s path. Keep safe and keep up your good spirits! We’re praying for a speedy recovery so you get back to your normal NYC pace!

  24. awaldstein

    Really like that Wells Fargo and Starwood proactively emailed and said worry about other stuff, waiving penalties and interest charges for a few days for all east coasters.

    1. ShanaC

      I am so happy to see you online – where are you? Is Sam OK?

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks for asking.We are good. Sam is hoping we run out of cat food and is forced to eat tuna fish for a few days!

        1. ShanaC

          he looks so cute

          1. awaldstein

            Sam rocks!

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Ditto Shana.

        3. Techman

          Aww…nice picture.

        4. panterosa,

          Ah the Tuna Ploy…..

    2. Aaron Klein

      Class act. That will pay them some nice dividends going forward.

      1. awaldstein

        Agree.Wells Fargo is smarter than most in this stuff. Things like this. Things like when you launch a Shopify store and need a Merchant Account they just set it up at no charge.When you understand that service is the only thing that elevates you above being a commodity, you make it who you are.

        1. danhoffmann

          Exactly. Chase did the same — very impressive.

    3. Wesley Verhoeve

      that’s awesome

    4. Tereza

      totally agree. Though I didn’t know it until I got their emails after being in the dark for 2 days :-)We’ll likely be out of power for 10. But thankful we and our house are ok, it’s just extended power outage. Could be so much worse.

      1. ShanaC

        good, stay safe tereza

  25. markslater

    good to hear that you and family are safe. that was a dousy.Twitter is truly amazing with things like this – by far the best overall picture of developments in yours and other areas was following #sandy.

  26. Tal Keinan

    Stay safe Fred. Good call on the evacuation.

  27. jason wright

    smart move – why do people risk it?

    1. Donna Brewington White

      It is hard to fully grasp the danger and leaving feels like giving up control. You feel that by leaving you are helpless to save your home and possessions. I had a neighbor in Malibu who sent his wife and kids into town and stayed on his roof with a garden hose during a firestorm. Not a hothead — a high level executive. And that was not uncommon.As I watched people grieve the loss of their homes, one of the hardest things for them was relinquishing the feeling that there was something they could have done that would have made a difference. Our homes make us feel safe. It is hard to shake that even when it is ridiculous.

  28. Daniel Wright

    Stay safe. Once things settle it might be a good time to have a conversation about climate change, rising sea levels, and the future of NYC. Sandy may become the norm.

    1. fredwilson

      I am thinking we need to prepare our building for this kind of thing. Rising sea levels seems like the new normal

      1. kidmercury

        prepping is a slippery slope. you start with a few flashlights and some candles. next thing you know you are digging for freshwater wells and exploring waste to energy solutions (a polite way of saying burning your crap). be careful.

        1. LE

          In NYC a saferoom is probably a good idea also.

      2. Daniel Wright

        Buildings and of course the subway. Rising sea levels are going to make some problems for the subway and it’s 5 million or so daily riders

      3. LE

        Remember what I said in another comment. You are now at your emotional peak in terms of commitment to doing that. It will be natural to loose steam and forget the threat. (I’ve had this happen so I speak from experience). So if you think its a good idea make sure to not loose the good idea to complacency.I also think that this is also a peace of mind thing (like if you are away) and a lessening of aggravation thing. So if you evaluate it rationally you might make the decision to not spend the money. But it would give you a certain amount of confidence and lessen fear going forward (lower ptsd).And my main selling point: If you ever decide to sell the property it’s a good investment that will instill confidence in any buyer. A bathroom renovation will look dated in 20 years. (While you’re at it a good idea to put in a backup generator they aren’ that expensive.)

  29. Brandon Burns

    good luck and stay safe.i’m on the water front in williamsburg and, miraculously, we escaped most damage. the pier / ferry station and east river park are a wee bit of a mess, but nothing up into the streets.i hear some parts of greenpoint and bushwick weren’t so lucky with the water/power issues so, if you’re an AVCer who’s in travel distance to n8th and kent and need a place to chill and get work done, reply to this and gimme a shout.

    1. ShanaC

      Thank you!

      1. Brandon Burns

        are you a brooklynite, shana?

        1. ShanaC

          Nope, I’m hanging in long island while saving money and freelancing.Right now I’m in north chelsea/south hells kitchen/hudson yards.If I were in travel distance I wouldn’t mind stopping by (I have cabin fever), but that doesn’t appear to be the case today.

          1. Brandon Burns

            Yeah, probably not. But I’ve had people make the walk over the WIlliamsburg Bridge from the East Village and Lower East Side. Those neighborhoods are still practically under water. :-/But you’re not too far from Fred… help him dig out!

          2. ShanaC

            If he wants the help, sure. (I’m also organizing a blood drive hopefully with Joe Yevoli)

  30. zackmansfield

    Fred, glad you and the fam are safe. New Yorkers shone last night, as they always do when the going gets tough. Inspiring to watch through Twitter/Instagram as the stories were told from every direction, and nice to see the city unified as one in solidarity

  31. Rohan

    I used to live in the north east of India where flooding happened every once in a while. Of course, evacuation etc was not as sophisticated.A day of incessant rain meant we would have our pick up raft (i.e. a bunch of bamboo sticks tied together) that would then ship us to the central guest house – ours was an oil and gas township largely comprised of one company.I have fond memories of those times as we would naturally get wet in the rain (fun!) and then spend few days holed up in the guest house watching movie after movie, huddled up with many families and kids.Fun times.Glad you guys evacuated. I hope you stay safe. And of course, I hope you have some fun.. as bad as the clean up phase, you do tend to remember these stories!PS: We also JUST happened to escape the Tsunami so I’m beginning to see a trend with water related incidents- that’s a less “fun” story.. but let’s leave that for another day!

    1. ShanaC

      I would love to sit down and hear stories about you growing up in india

      1. Rohan

        And vice versa. Stories are always fun.Soon, I’m sure. It’s a small world. 🙂

        1. ShanaC

          true that 🙂

        2. Carl Rahn Griffith

          “It’s a small world.” – very true – but, as we say in Yorkshire, “It’s a small world – but, I wouldn’t like to paint it.” 😉

      2. LE

        Yeah me to. I found “Monsoon Wedding” a great story. Reminded me about Jewish families. If you haven’t seen it, you should.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        Me too. A sleepover!

  32. Marjan Ghara

    Another bow to the power of data & charts, to help plan and prepare. So glad you made the call and left. Hope nothing permanently damaged.BTW … so appreciate how you incorporate charts, videos, audio visual material in your posts!

  33. JamesHRH

    Glad to hear everyone in your clan is safe & sound.I like the romantic aspect of riding it out as much of the next person but, when facing mother nature, respectful paranoia is the best course.Cool to hear that your TwitterNet of neighbourhood locals kept you abreast of things.

  34. FlavioGomes

    Good to hear from you and glad u and family are safe.

  35. Pete Griffiths

    So sorry for you and everyone in the city. Be well.

  36. Elia Freedman

    I’m glad to hear you and your family are well. I know you know this, so just saying it out loud, but you are lucky that you can afford to be displaced for a week or more. So many just surviving paycheck to paycheck, had everything they own swallowed by the storm. Can’t imagine what’s going through those folks’ minds about now.

    1. fredwilson

      You are so right. I was just saying this to my wife this morning.

      1. LE

        I had a saying long time ago which was “any problem that can be solved by money isn’t a problem”. You should use some of your money to make the rebuild process as un-stressful as possible.When I broke up with a girl I had dated a several years ago, and had to move out of where we lived, I had two options of where to live FREE before my new place was ready (six weeks).Option one was to live with my parents. That was even convenient for work.Option two was to stay at my small shore place. That was about 1’10 minutes away (the building is flooded from Sandy but I’m on an upper floor).. Anyway, that would be free as well. Option three stay with my sister and her family. (Also convenient to the office).I decided to rent a hotel room for the 6 weeks so I could be close to work and also have the, (and this is important) least stress possible. The cost from my memory was about $6000 iirc. It turned out to be the best decision. Totally low stress. Much much better than the free alternatives. (Not to mention the tolls, gas and time lost had a value (I did the calcs on that before making the decision).So my point is, think carefully about how you can spend money to make the entire process less stressful for you and your family.

        1. fredwilson

          I was just saying that to my wife this morning!

    2. laurie kalmanson

      thank you for saying that. there are people for whom a day of lost wages is a day of lost meals.

    3. Donna Brewington White


    4. Tereza

      totally agree with you. we just got lucky — will probably be staying at my husband’s boss’s house until the power is back, probs 10 days. Will be awkward but thankful for the option. November gets cold!

  37. CJ

    Glad you and the family are safe, Fred – good thinking getting the heirlooms all packed up and getting the family out of Dodge. Better safe than sorry in this case. I hope you have a speedy cleanup and return to normalcy.

  38. jer979

    Glad you played the role of protector so well and forced the issue. Stay safe and focus on your family. We will be here when you get back.

  39. Jacob C. Donnelly

    Glad you got out alright, Fred. Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut and stick to your guns. Glad you and the family got out.

  40. RudyC

    Being in the west coast and watching the news doesn’t really give the perspective of how bad things are. I woke up to a mortgage blast from Fannie mae stating that everyone that had gotten an appraisal in certain areas would have to have their properties re-evaluated.But this was touching and I pray for you and your family. It’s one of the reasons I started reading your blog but in the end it’s about the heart…godspeed..

  41. Aaron Klein

    Glad to see you and your family are safe, Fred.It seems like there are very few parts of the country free of disasters like this. In my neck of the woods, it’s forest fires. Just a few hours away, it’s earthquakes.Hoping to see New York pick itself up and be back to normal soon.

  42. ShanaC

    I’m glad I checked in last night on twitter on you. a number of people were discussing that video in backchannels.I’m safely ensconced in north chelsea – we have power. I’m with the perfect person to be with right now too :)Probably the best/oddest news I’ve heard about the village is that Yoga To the People/St Marks is still going to be open – candlelight yoga (and I am tempted to go)Stay safe!

  43. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Events like this are such a surreal experience, a weird mix of feeling exhilarated, sad and grateful all at the same time. I always feel like time slows down just a little bit.Good luck with everything, Fred. It’s a little mean to get flooded again after just finally recovering from the last go around.I have to say, the fact that you posted today seems to say something about not your commitment to, but rather your passion for your blog 🙂

    1. Donna Brewington White

      At a time like this I am even more grateful for this commitment/passion. It is so helpful to be able to come here and check in on the community.

    2. Korf

      Agree with my fellow Skillshare classmate (again). Great to hear everyone is ok (the explosion of the ConEd power station in the east village was a bit alarming last night). Look forward to your return to the Sustainable Biz class when it fits your schedule. In the meantime, if we can send recommendations for reading material/music or do any crowdsourcing of resources or help in the NYC area let us know.A couple of the days interesting links as distractions from the hurricane and election if you havent already seen them:Rewarder, or internet as a service: – Love the big idea, might be handy to help get post hurricane things done.How to build a better block:… – Lots of passion to make the city a better place without letting old laws get in the way.

  44. ShanaC

    also, courtesy of my host:…NYU-Langone lost power last night, which means that some of the blood supply is probably gone. I’m going to try finding time to donate.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      it is shocking after 9.11 that backup power is in any basement near the water

    2. LE

      “NYU-Langone lost power last night”People will loose their job over that one. That’s a total fuck up. A definite black mark on how they manage that risk. And so typical.Hospitals are bad at details like that (hence the infection problem). You have administrators and then you have doctors who are “single” function machines who don’t have a clue about things other than their specialty.My wife’s hospital replaced her beeper with an iphone. Yet the iphone is not as robust as a beeper. A beeper works everywhere and the messages practically always gets through. In our house we have spotty att coverage. Hospital won’t care until they can’t get her AND someone dies (if they even tie the two events). When it snows, or is bad weather, they depend on her to get to the hospital but they have no clue what vehicle she drives. And they should really line up transportation (big ass vehicles) just in case to get everyone in. They don’t. Not a big cost to contract for standby transport and test it every 4 months, right? Once again, until there is an “event” they won’t fix that problem. And they have no emergency notification system in place to get extra people to the hospital in the case of a regional catastrophic event. At another hospital she worked at she had a beeper but when she was done she turned it off. Wouldn’t have been a big deal to require her to keep it on, just in case. She’s been at three hospitals since I met her, all of them essentially operated the same. It’s scary when you know the behind the scenes stuff going on.

      1. ShanaC

        I don’t want to know, frankly. It makes me more terrified about how broken the healthcare system really is, and makes me think of the much needed reform.

  45. Dale Allyn

    I’m glad that you and your family are well, Fred. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.Lots of positive vibes sent your way and to the other AVCers (and all) affected by Sandy.

  46. Jo T.

    Fred, let us know how the “rest of us” can help. So sorry about the disruption, but glad that you guys are safe.

  47. matthughes

    Seems like the AVC community came out relatively unscathed.Glad everyone is OK.Stunning images from Manhattan and surrounding areas.My dad lives in a high rise in DC – said the building was rocking all night.

    1. ShanaC

      i haven’t heard from panterosa :/ I emailed last night early – she had water and stuff for her and her daughter…but the area she is in probably lost power

      1. matthughes

        I don’t know her but I recognize her handle.I hope she’s ok –

        1. ShanaC

          She was settling in last night with her daughter. I shot her an email now – I know approximately where she lives, she would be without power.

      2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        do let us know if you hear something. I dont’ know her but have interacted with her several times

      3. Donna Brewington White

        That’s right, she hasn’t emerged online. Emailing her now!

      4. Donna Brewington White

        Wait — you said you already emailed her– and I won’t have cell reception until late afternoon to try to call. I’ve sent to all the email addresses I have for her. Will report if I hear something.

        1. ShanaC

          I sent too. Also offered to help, as my schedule is screwed up for this week anyway…

      5. Donna Brewington White

        Update — Panterosa and Panther Kitty are fine but without power, etc. P. is approaching the situation with her usual creative flair. As you would imagine.

        1. ShanaC

          I heard from her too. Thank you for the update!

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Figured you had…

    2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      It is great to hear. For some reason I had a disturbing dream that someone in the AVC community was hurt in the flood. I don’t dream much so this was a surprise to me (I guess I am spending too much time here 🙂

  48. SallyBroom

    Glad the Wilson family is all ok and our thoughts are with everyone who’s been effected. Regardless of warnings it is never anything but a massive shock when these disasters hit. Great to see people pulling together to get through it, that’s something positive at least.

  49. Michaela Barnes

    Glad to hear that you and your family are safe. Though I’ve never met you or your family, years of following your blogging makes me feel like I have. On the topic of getting a teen to heed disaster warnings, I had something of a similar discussion with mine here in the DC area. Though we were luckily spared much of the brunt of the storm, there were warnings to not go out. She wanted to visit friends. Besides her safety, I thought seriously about the first responders. My brother-in-law is a volunteer fire fighter near the city; his two teens are volunteer EMTs; all three on duty. The thought of them having to risk their lives for someone who didn’t heed the warnings was anger inducing. Knowing someone going into harm’s way in a disaster makes the stay or go decisions easier somehow I think. Thanks.

  50. danhoffmann

    Best wishes to you and your family and to all of those in NY and NJ right now. I’m a native New Yorker but in D.C. — watching the coverage on TV has me wishing I could be there to help people.

  51. ErikSchwartz

    Glad you are all OK. Floods are the worst kind of mess.

  52. Steven Kane

    :((i dont understand the “oh shit” about ice-makers…?)

    1. Parkite

      I was thinking the same thing.

    2. fredwilson

      Power goes off and they leak all over the floor

      1. Steven Kane

        right. duh. sorry…

      2. LE

        Interestingly though leaks from something like that are covered by insurance (although I’m sure your floor can take the water it’s probably a cleanup issue). Leaks from floods aren’t, unless you have flood insurance and the flood insurance (I’ve looked into it) is quite restrictive and doesn’t cover everything.Most important thing to remember about insurance if you have a flood is to try and tie some other insurable event to the flood. If it comes from driving rain above ground, covered. If it comes because something mechanical failed, covered. Water pipe burst? Covered. The details matter. Sometimes you can bend the details. Not that I’m saying to commit fraud of course.

        1. fredwilson

          Yup. That’s the fight we are going to fight with our insurance carriers in the coming weeks

  53. Vernon Niven

    Time off sounds like the right plan.As Gulf Coast citizens, my family has suffered through more than a dozen hurricanes. Lost property, churches and a couple of our schools to Camille, Erin, Opel, Ivan and Katrina. Never thought NYC would experience the same. Hard to fathom, really.Of all people in the world, I have to say that New Yorkers have the grit to recover bigger and better than before.All the best to you and your family.

  54. Rod Turner

    Fred, I hope that you have as smooth and straightforward a process of recovery as is possible.

  55. Paul Sanwald

    I went for a long run this morning around brooklyn to check things out. A lot of trees and branches down, the streets look kinda like a salad bowl with all the leaves, but not much structural damage in brooklyn heights/cobble hill/carroll gardens.Dumbo, and red hook, on the other hand, got hit pretty hard. I really feel for the businesses near the water like almondine, and the new one girl cookies. also heard the red hook fairway is not in good condition.If anyone knows any good volunteer organizations, I’d definitely be interested in doing some volunteering to try and help those less fortunate. anyone?

    1. ShanaC

      Joe Yevoli and I are organizing a blood drive (do you have any contacts at the NYC blood center or places where we can set up shop to run donations?)Also this link:

  56. Wesley Verhoeve

    Sorry you and the fam have to deal with all of this Fred. Glad you guys are safe.Feeling sad for those that suffered this storm. Somehow my little nook of Brooklyn was totally fine. Not so much for many of my friends. Here’s a picture of my friend’s street in Breezy Point that made my jaw drop.

  57. rmchrQB

    It sounds like you guys are okay all things considered. When our house flooded a few years ago we tried to take the opportunity to make some funmilestone memories for our two young daughters. I recommend the same!

  58. Wavelengths

    In the midst of crisis and chaos, you managed to reach a consensus decision to leave? Quality leadership and an awesome team.Glad you are all safe. It’s never a wrong decision if everyone is safe.

  59. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Glad to hear that you won the argument and managed to get your family out of harm’s way. Yes, twitter did own this space yesterday. I was expecting more from instagram but didn’t detect a noticeable increase in activity

  60. Donna Brewington White

    I tried to comment earlier from my phone but seems like it didn’t take.Fred, very glad to hear that you, Gotham Gal and Josh are well. During some of the Malibu fires, we had to make evacuation decisions. It seems that it would be a no-brainer but it was surprising how hard it is to make the decision to evacuate or even to grasp the level of danger possibly being faced.I wonder what it says about you that you made the decision to evacuate when so many others didn’t? I wonder if it comes from a similar place as your instincts as a VC.I was traveling when Sandy hit NYC and was eager to hear how the particular NYCers on my radar fared — so many of them these days, much of this due to AVC. It was a relief to see this post/comments and the reassuring signs of life here and elsewhere on the social web.BTW, a fellow AVCer and I met for the first time yesterday while I was in Chicago. We instinctively went past the handshake and greeted each other with a hug. It has not ceased to amaze me how these relationships develop!Those of you in NYC (and other regions affected) are much in my thoughts and my prayers. Even though I am relieved that those I know are safe, I understand that life will be challenging for a while. Sending a hug to my AVC friends.

    1. fredwilson

      AVC’ers get hugs!I like that

    2. Cam MacRae

      Fire…Do you have a fire plan? You really shouldn’t be making any decisions on the day, but simply executing your plan. Otherwise, this kind of thing can happen:

      1. Donna Brewington White

        We do, now. And food and water stores for earthquakes. We no longer live in the heart of Malibu, except the insurance company seems to think the fire danger is just as real. Maybe it’s the surrounding state parks? 😉 And we have to have flood insurance because we live next to a lake. Kids have canoed down parts of the street during floods. But, the lake also gives us a backup fire plan. If we can’t get out of the area, we’ll jump in. Really.Thanks for caring. The article you shared does hit home, although we’ve not experienced anything nearly so devastating, thankfully. What never ceases to amaze me is how many people rebuild afterward.

        1. Cam MacRae

          Glad you’re sorted. You’d be mad to have it any other way.

  61. Liane Allen

    I’m glad you’re all safe – evacuation was the right thing to do.

  62. jason wright

    How low-lying is NYC?90% of Rotterdam is below sea level. It has invested in subterranean ‘voids’ to prevent street flooding. Just a thought Mike.

    1. fredwilson

      We may need to follow Rotterdam

      1. jason wright

        What happens when the Arctic ice cap fully melts?NYC needs to become once again a Dutch city.

        1. fredwilson

          I think we are headed there already!

        2. laurie kalmanson

          it’s melting ahead of schedule; and the warnings have been coming for years

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Ours hasn’t been tested fully (by nature, that is) as yet but fingers crossed we are ready when – when, not if – it happens over here…

  63. laurie kalmanson

    safety first. glad you are ok.twitter has been amazing thru thisthe sea and the harbor are what made nyc possible; technology and engineering can prevent the sea from destroying the city. but it will take a lot of work and a lot of moneya true strategic defense would invest in the technology and science to keep nyc from being destroyed by water.there are moveable seawalls on the thames and in holland and japan

    1. fredwilson

      Sounds like a mayoral platform but not one likely to be put forth by our current candidates

      1. laurie kalmanson

        investments for the futurealso, renewable energy: if the govt invests in renewables like it invested in the space program, and invested in infrastructure like it’s a national security issue — well, darpanet was a govt program and here we all are today

      2. LE

        “but not one likely to be put forth by our current candidates”The other thing is that the “iron” will not be hot forever. People will forget this, and any momentum that can mustered now because of people’s emotional state, will loose steam and quickly reach half life. Rahm Emmanuel knows this which is why he made his comment about never letting a serious crisis go to waste. (I’ve done this in the past myself it works like a charm.)@lauriekalmanson:disqus is correct of course. They can and should protect against this. Sounds like something federal money should be used for (after all look what they did for New Orleans).

        1. Donna Brewington White

          “Sounds like something federal money should be used for…”Recognizing that NYC is more a city within a nation than a city within a state. What happens to NYC affects us all.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            people said that for a little while after 9.11 but that passed quickly

        2. laurie kalmanson

          thank you, yes, yes yes yes

    2. LE

      Great comment.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        thank you. i remember sputnik days and the political will to fund math and science: basic research plus a lot of investment built the aerospace industry, and built the computer’s past time to build the renewables industry, to build infrastructure, and to fund education to make people capable of working in those industries.if this is what it takes to fund public works, to fund investment in mass transit — new york city’s subways have been underfunded for decades — well, maybe there’s no other way to make massive public programs happenbut to wait for disaster and then gather the will to build smarter for the future9.11 begat the security theater industry, which is as pointless as the endless warsif sandy begets something better, i’m all for itsend the national guard, send the army corps of engineers. keep the military as a jobs program, but send them to build things that we need here. double the employment, slash the artillery and weapons.instead of spending 2 billion dollars a week on pointless wars, spend half of that hiring and training people to build infrastructure herethe loyalty and honor of the people in our military have been misdirected to pointless missions for too long. give them the chance to build things here.

    3. ShanaC

      we really should build some awesome seawall. Probably the reason we don’t has to do with the way the harbors are here….

      1. laurie kalmanson

        money and will is what it would take. we’ve spent 2 billion a week on pointless wars for a decade …

  64. andyidsinga

    I saw Gotham Gal’s post with the pic. yikes! Good that you evacuated – 5 feet of moving water in a place not meant for it – with all the debris etc can be dangerous.

  65. Tracey Jackson

    My best thoughts to you all. So sorry you are yet again tossed out of your home.

  66. Ricardo Silva

    Great to read all is fine. Hope you get things sorted soon. Best wishes from Portugal.

  67. Dave Pinsen

    Late to this, as I was without power or reliable Internet access after the storm up until now (writing this from a hotel in Midtown). Glad to hear you and your family got out before the deluge.It was a big mess in Northern NJ — I took this photo in a town near where I live on Tuesday. But fortunately, the loss of life appears to have been relatively low so far. Everything else can be fixed with money and time.

  68. Jayadev Gopalakrishn

    Fred, getting back to normalcy is tough, but knowing you guys are safe is all that matters. Here’s wishing you and family the strength to plough through it.

  69. Techman

    @fredwilson:disqus You are not alone. I suffered some virtual damage. While I used to be in the north, and I still have lots of family up there, people using Verizon Wireless hotspots and phones for web browsing could have their internet gone for a short period of time. I wrote an article on that if you are interested.…But in all seriousness, I am glad that you and your family are okay. Belongings can be replaced, but lives can’t.

  70. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Apt blog by Seth, today:…I shall be blogging in a similar vein later tonight.Hope clean-up is going as well as it is possible for everyone.

  71. awaldstein

    Fred….Sitting at my desk, with power this AM realized how lucky I am. Like an island with darkness all around.If there is anything I can do to help you or any in the community who are still inconvenienced, let me know,I spent some yesterday running around to buildings checking for various people on their buildings. Glad to do what I can,

    1. fredwilson

      You have power in lower Manhattan?

      1. awaldstein

        Yes, there are a few buildings that do, one is mine. Not complaining.

  72. Jon Knight

    Glad you guys are okay, Fred!

  73. Irving Fain

    You guys are lucky that you left and that you had a place to go. Sad to see how many people didn’t heed the warnings. It’s understandable since so frequently we’re overly cautious, but it’s all for times like these.I worry about what’s ahead for NYC with so many low-lying areas and all the climate change that’s affecting the ocean in so many different ways.

  74. Howard Greenstein

    I’m late here, but stay safe and dry and I hope Joann’s stuff survived the flood!

  75. kenberger

    East side got hit badly too. (I’m late here to comment, due to no power.)Here’s our pix of wreckage in Alphabet City, near the downed power station, taken the morning after. We witnessed the huge sky light burst and weird hum from blocks away and knew it couldn’t be lightning:

    1. ShanaC

      I drink down in the east village all the time. I took a walk in the area yesterday, it was eery and terrifying. After this, I would love to get together (just to get back to some sense of normalcy)

      1. kenberger

        there were a couple bars defiantly open right thru the peak storm hours, so we joined in, 3 aves away from the flooding. Finished at 8pm or so and walked out with perfect timing to see the sky light up. Happy to meet you there sometime.

  76. Matt A. Myers

    Glad everyone’s okay, and good to hear about very low casualties considering…

  77. Shyam Subramanyan

    Good call to leave for higher ground. Events like these remind us how frail we really are. Best wishes and good luck to all New Yorkers. I will do my part and donate to red cross.

  78. paramendra

    NYC flooding Third World style.

  79. laurie kalmanson

    i hope the avc community and everyone we love is safe, and that the losses are manageablefor nyc, it was a doom foretoldthe deaths and losses: various in their specifics. children, old people; second homes; the meager possessions of a lifetimethe stories: twists of fate, door by doorthe facts: modeled and predicted for years, in simulations, graphs and maps……what are we going to do about it?tell your senator you know the facts and you want action…tell your congress rep…have one of mr. gore’s trained climate project presenters (i am one) come and speak to a group you are part ofhttp://presenters.climatere…join an activist group suggestion?

    1. fredwilson

      i tweeted this out last evening.…there are three approaches a city can take with respect to rising sea levels and increased flooding risk; retreat, mitigation, and adaptation. NYC is not going to retreat so we will have to invest in mitigation and adaptation. and that is now a much greater focus than it has been.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        yes so much

  80. John Revay

    I saw the photo of your apartment building / GothamGal office- very sad.Any news from Amagansett

  81. Prokofy

    It has been a hard week. We had no power until a late this evening and the place we evacuated to didn’t have power or heat or water either, and then when it finally came up Sat. night, the fuses blew within an hour, and then the next day, refugees from upstate who had had it worse for the weak piled in, displacing us and we moved back home in the dark. My son was lucky to find a friend uptown that didn’t mind him staying there for three days but he missed work. Here was the biggest difficulty — when you can’t change clothes or worse, take showers for days, you don’t feel as if you can go to work in an office or anywhere. Then it was very cold here the last few nights in this dark cavern, I started to think truly, we’d be better off in the shelter at Baruch, but I had no idea how crowded that might be. Still no water, but finally heating up a little.I have lots of thoughts which I hope to blog at some point, but here are three relevant to the topic of this blog:a) why aren’t PUBLIC buildings really PUBLIC at a time like this? The power was on the whole time at my daughter’s high school, and it hadn’t been converted to a shelter. But there’s a stage where it could be USEFUL even if not with school in session and not a full-fledged shelter.Would it really kill the unions to open up the building and let us shower and use the bathrooms even for a few hours in the day?! Or gasp, here’s a thought, let those kids who can come in and at least use the library and computers and gym! The parents could have volunteered to watch.There was the mystery of Cabrini hospital — closed due to lack of money, but still functioning — with a generator, with lights on every floor while every other building was dark on 20th St! Couldn’t it have helped out with Bellevue’s evacuation? There it was, with power, a hospital! Yet closed.b) The coworking fad is pretty much an inch deep and a mile wild. I had an argument with Anil Dash about this on Twitter. I was desperately looking for workspace because I can’t live without working every single day or I lose cash. People kept posting lists of places thinking they were helpful, but if you actually looked at them, a lot of the references were ads for *paid* business centers. And the rest were small spaces and you really felt as if you had to “fit in” to the type of things they were doing, i.e. coding. And many coworking spaces often only have charge-ups, not work stations for those who don’t have laptops. I ended up paying $12/hour at FEDEX or Staples because we only had one laptop and I needed to use the computer and leave the laptop to my daughter to do college applications and homework.c) Twitter aggravated me enormously once again. Everything you say is true, Fred, except…you must have some app you view it through. Viewing Twitter on a desktop on the website, or through my cell phone, I was vexed at the constant hogging of the hashtag #sandy by things that were not news and not relevant. I didn’t need to see “Romney Storm Tips” with parodies of Romney when my building was flooding up several floors and I was fleeing to another place merely to sit in the dark, truly I didn’ fact, it’s one of the greatest vexations of Twitter that whoever gets first on a hashtag, is a “thought leader” with lots of followers, then remains solidly hogging that spot because Twitter algorithms reward that spot to anyone who is the most retweeted. They don’t refresh this so that throughout an emergency — sometimes for several days running! — that first entry under a search for the hashtag is whoever has gadzillion followers and puts up some stupid thing that gets retweeted. More over than notWhy can’t Twitter gives us a CHOICE to sort by NEWEST and MOST RETWEETED instead of imposing MOST RETWEETED. In an emergency, you need new news, not whatever idiot got himself retweeted a zillion times by mindless myrmidons.

    1. fredwilson

      your point about your daughter’s school is a really good one

  82. fredwilson

    Actually everyone else road out the storm in our building.