Status Update

The Gotham Gal and I have received countless messages from many of you wishing us well and volunteering all sorts of things. We even were offered use of a 3400 sf apartment on the upper west side! It is very gratifying to know that so many of you are thinking of us and wanting to help.

The past few days have been very strange here in NYC. North of 34th street in Manhattan and in most parts of Brooklyn, everything seems quite normal. But downtown manhattan is eerie. There are no working stop lights. Crossing a major avenue is a life threatening experience. Lower manhattan is a ghost town.

Our apartment building is on the hudson river. The Gotham Gal has a photo of what happened to it on Monday night on her blog. Our basement filled to the brim with part of the Hudson River and possibly a bit of the Atlantic Ocean as well. Happily we've been able to pump all of that water out as of last night. Every building on our street was pumping water out into the street the past two days. The Far West Village is a mess and will be for a while more.

We will be in remediation and repair mode for a while. We don't know how long yet. So we've been focusing on finding a place to live in for the next month or two. We are committed to getting back downtown as soon as power comes back on. All signs indicate that will happen in the next day or two.

In the meantime, we've been staying with friends on the upper west side. They have not one, but two families, camped out with them for the past few days. We are very fortunate to have such good friends.

What comes to my mind most as we struggle through all of this is how others who don't have the resources we have are dealing with things. I have to believe that tens of thousands of NY'ers are homeless or seriously displaced by the hurricane. And I am equally sure that many of them don't have the wherewithal that we have to deal with it. Those are the people that need help in NYC right now, not us.

I would guess this goes without saying, but I am not working this week. I am trying to stay up on my emails and doing a few calls here and there on urgent matters. But if you don't hear from me this week, don't be surprised. My attention is largely elsewhere.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    Sending you best wishes, Fred. May the force be with you..(Not sure what the Disney version will turn out to be.. :-))

    1. Aaron Klein

      It’s so exciting now that Princess Leia is a Disney Princess.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        she kind of was one already (ducks)

  2. kidmercury

    damn. glad you’re doing well. i’m fortunate all the ny’ers i know are doing well.

  3. Jayadev Gopalakrishn

    Hope things get better soon. I shudder to think how people without resources are coping with the situation.India is getting its share of Cyclone Nilam on the east coast as well.

  4. William Mougayar

    Thanks for the update. I still can’t take what you and others must be going through out of my daily thoughts. The survival and rebuilding instincts kick-in. I’m sure that New York will emerge stronger than before. 

    1. 1% Envy

      What a suck up. Keep up the great work.

      1. William Mougayar

        Why are you trolling around attacking commenters here?

        1. fredwilson

          because that is what trolls do. i like to leave their comments up so folks can witness the trolling in all of its ugliness

          1. William Mougayar

            he/she has done it to 4 others, so that is in full display.

          2. ShanaC

            I ended up yelling at him sometime last night. Geesus, it was so wrong. Shana L. Carp.@ShanaCarp <https:”” shanacarp=””>LinkedIn <http:“” in=”” shanacarp=””>I never look back darling, it distracts from the now – Edna “E” Mode, The Incredibles

  5. karen_e

    Thanks for reminding AVC-ers that other people need our help. We are so fortunate to have your generous spirit with us in these times.

  6. Matt A. Myers

    Said it in other thread this morning, glad everyone’s okay and relatively small casualties considering.. I wonder if you or anyone else has had thoughts of spending money to prevent the same kind of destruction in the future from occurring. I heard estimates of $20 billion damage done? Not sure how much implementing prevention would cost mind you..

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Fair enough. It’s too bad all that money didn’t go into infrastructure locally..

      2. 1% Envy

        Lame. Is that the best you can do?

  7. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Thoughts are with you all. C and H x.

  8. laurie kalmanson

    Glad you are all ok though facing major disruption stress and hasslesThank u for mentioning those who have lessLost jobs lost wages lost homes lost possessions will be devastating for many — I think there are private slash public partnership opportunities here for helping

  9. takingpitches

    Fred,Godspeed on getting things back together at your place.We are very lucky to have loving friends and families.At Columbus Circle, other than the traffic, you can barely tell anything happened on our block. My brother had to leave his place in the east village and crash with my sister; my wife’s cousin had to leave Tribeca and is staying with us. Very different stories down there.It really is a tale of two cities, above and below 39th Street.Perhaps, never too early for humor, Jon Stewart and Jon Oliver are funny on this “tale of two cities” point last night (first ten minutes, linked below) and also, and in particular, in giving big ups to our local leaders (Bloomberg, Christie, Cuomo) and national leaders (Obama) who prepped us and have responded as well as can be imagined given the circumstances.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      it was like that very much after 911, too; uptown was close to normal while downtown, well … yeah.

      1. awaldstein

        Yup….Say what you will but 911 hit home nowhere like it did downtown.And honestly, the world today is very much on stride. Downtown is in the dark.

        1. laurie kalmanson

          exactly. “the frozen zone,” etc. i did volunteer shifts on a relief boat in the harbor set up for rescue workers and food prep for donated meals at the old bouley bakery … midtown had people going to work in office buildings while downtown had barricades and id checks. i had worked downtown on and off for years — in the woolworth building with two companies, in the municipal building for an internship; visited my dad’s law offices …friends uptown now are mostly fine; troubles are of the getting to work is hard kind, not the not having a place to live kind

      2. fredwilson

        i can’t wait to get back downtown. for all its vulnerabilities, it is home and i am more comfortable there

        1. laurie kalmanson

          i hear you. i’ve lived all over the city and in westchester and downtown is in my heart the most. i’m a native nyer, lived in the east village, grew up in bklyn; played in my father’s office next to the woolworth bldg; early memories of looking out the window coming over the bridge

      3. Dave Pinsen

        In this case, the difference seems to be mainly topography.

        1. laurie kalmanson

          yes; geography and topography.this could help…

  10. jason wright

    it reminds us of where we fit in the great scheme of thingsour civilization is strong, our species is stronger, but nature is the strongestwe’ve largely forgotten that, and this is a reminderSpare a thought for Haiti

    1. Aaron Klein

      +1 on Haiti. Doesn’t get the attention but yet another blow to a place that has already had its share.

      1. Cam MacRae

        ^10The Haitians can’t get a break, can they? It’s just horrible.About a 6th of New Yorkers live in strict poverty, so I imagine their hurricane experience isn’t too flash either.

        1. Aaron Klein

          Hopefully they are not downtown though I’m sure some are.

          1. Cam MacRae

            Plenty in BK and Queens.

        2. jason wright

          “a 6th of New Yorkers live in strict poverty”in the richest country on the planet? That is a disgrace

          1. kidmercury

            as the saying goes, it takes a hundred poor people to make one rich person.

          2. Aaron Klein

            It’s all relative.Put that sixth of New Yorkers into the village where our school project is in Ethiopia, and they would be the 1%!

          3. jason wright

            Is this a reality tv concept?

          4. Aaron Klein

            That would be funny.

          5. Cam MacRae

            Yes, even strict poverty is cross-border relative.

          6. Cam MacRae

            Richest country on the planet depends on your measure. Largest economy is uncontested. Either way, it’s a failure.

    2. Pete Griffiths

      “Nature shrugs and all is in ruins.”

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        “As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.”

    3. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Indeed, Jason – finding my inspiration for a blog topic this week was pretty much a no-brainer, for all the wrong reasons…http://carl-rahn-griffith.t

  11. awaldstein

    Hi Fred.Nothing brings people together like a sense of collective pain and inconvenience. And Sandy brought a lot of that.And your family has more than its fare share of this.Been thinking a lot about small businesses around my theLocalSip wine community. A week of closing is really painful for lots of them especially in the food and hospitality business.Big shout out to everyone to support your local shops. Many are selling cash only and with flashlights. For my wine community, we’ve been posting updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages on openings. UWS, UES and Williamsburg are basically normal, downtown a nightmare.And of course….anything I can do to help. Just ask.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      The few local restaurants / coffee places in Bergen County, NJ with generators have been packed. Haven’t seen any wine shops or liquor stores open.

      1. awaldstein

        Just writing a community blog post update.Basically shops in UWS, UES, Williamsburg and Brooklyn Heights are open.Everyone else is kinda toast. Flashlights. Cash. Was fun yesterday as the local ones that were open did cider and candy trick-or-treating for the neighborhood kids in the afternoon.Sense of community with people coming by with food, cookies, whatever.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          That was nice of them. Saw a few folks trick-or-treating in Hell’s Kitchen on my drive home last night. Nothing in NJ. The governor postponed Halloween by executive order.

    2. LE

      “A week of closing is really painful for lots of them”Definitely one thing that people who are salaried and getting a paycheck probably don’t realize (not talking about hourly people here). You still have your expenses and then you have extra expenses and employees not showing up (even if you are open) and lack of supplies. It’s not like those businesses operate with a large cushion or anything. It’s really really painful. I’ve been through that. Big job due. Snowstorm comes. Might loose big customer if you can’t deliver. Don’t wait until the last minute, get things done in advance so you have a work cushion etc.One thing locally here that was obvious was the difference between the small businesses and the chains. The chains (starbucks, the chain restaurants) closed. Starbucks didn’t open until noon. So I went to dunkin donuts (run by the Indian franchisees) and they were doing great business. The local chinese restaurant was open also as was the local deli (which was packed). They had to open because there was nowhere to pass the buck and it was coming out of their pocket. So you think ahead and you make sure your employees have a way to get to work and everything is in order (to the best of your ability obviously). When I had the printing company, before a storm, we used to make sure everybody had alternate transportation in the event the public transportation was not available. We thought about it in advance. That’s the difference between small entrepreneur business and corporations (who actually have much much more resources ironically both money and people to think things through).

      1. awaldstein

        True in general.Depends on the neighborhood dynamic.Whole Foods giving away all frozen food and vegies yesterday was both smart, practical and I think community minded. And they are a big corporation for certain.And of course every local business from cookie shop onwards did the same.

        1. LE

          Interesting. Whole Foods in our area bailed out early and was doing no such thing (just pointing out for comparison not denigrating WF and what they did in NYC). Mindset was “keeping out employees safe and avoiding potential legal problems”. Entrepreneur thinks different. First they aren’t a big juicy target for lawsuits and second they have a closer relationship sometimes to their employees and if they treat them well they are less likely to stir up trouble with a lawsuit if something happens. Just my guess. (Doctors are doing this now to reduce lawsuits as well. They are taught to be nicer to patients which lessens the chance of being sued.) As an entrepreneur also you don’t have someone second guessing your decisions. So the “CYA” factor is much much lower.That’s tremendously freeing and allows you to follow a different type of decision process.If I was the manager (store, regional, vp) of a business I would also totally take the safe route. What would I gain vs. what would I (personally) loose? It’s an easy call. Same reason people bought IBM all those years.

          1. awaldstein

            Logical thinking…But in NYC, in many neighborhoods, you are either part of it or not. Not an option.If Whole Foods doesn’t become part of who we are, do good deeds, support and sell locals goods (which they do), then they loose more people (which they do) to green markets and to a variety of farm to building delivery services.New Yorkers are not slaves to the limitations of our neighborhood culture, we are empowered by it through sheer proximity of people and buying power. Do a good deed and you easily tell a hundred families in the building and around. Do a bad one and….Unique situation possibly,

          2. Wavelengths

            I expect people will remember who “showed up” for the neighborhood, and who didn’t.

      2. Wavelengths

        I wonder about the baristas at Starbucks, the waitresses at the chains, and so on. I’m sure they live paycheck to paycheck, and if their workplaces are shut …Right now it seems better for the folks in the dunkin donuts, the local deli, and the Chinese restaurant.You’re right, it’s best when people in business can plan ahead, but a snowstorm is a fairly commonplace event. This is the manifestation of the unthinkable!

    3. fredwilson

      are small wine stores open downtown?

      1. awaldstein

        To my knowledge for theLocalSip shops:In TriBeCA only Frankly is open. In Flatiron both Flatiron Wine and Bottlerocket are open. In Chelsea, Appelation is open. In NoLiTa Bowery & Vine is open.East Village amd LES were open a bit yesterday, Don’t know about today.Brooklyn varies. Heights near the river depends on the shop. Haven’t heard from Park Slope or Clinton Hill today.UWS, UES, Williamsburg biz as normal. URLs here: “theLocalSip in the aftermath of Sandy!”

        1. jason wright

          bottlerocket? sounds very potent. I wonder what the percentage is?

          1. awaldstein

            Not following. Humor is sub par today.What do you mean?

        2. fredwilson

          So scrappy and resilient!

          1. awaldstein

            Yup.NY is all about small neighborhoods woven together in a big web.When I stopped at Frankly on Halloween–no lights obviously, people buying wine and whiskey for cash, kids in costumes grabbing candy, adults talking about Sandy, cookie shop down the street dropping off boxes of cookies to give away as they were closed.Just cool stuff. Gotta love NY and how community just happens!

          2. William Mougayar

            Drinking wine is part of the recovery therapy 🙂

          3. awaldstein

            Drinking wine is all about socialization and memorializing the event. Creating a taste memory is the key to what wine is all about.Check out Eric Asimov’s (NY Time’s wine writer) new book, How to Love Wine. Probably the most understated, well written, non geeky, influential voice on wine anywhere. And easy good kindle read that touches on the newspaper biz as well.

          4. bsoist

            couldn’t agree more

    4. laurie kalmanson

      painful for the businesses; more painful still for the staff

  12. Rick Bashkoff

    Wishing you only the best Fred

  13. brian trautschold

    heard a great quote from a woman on NPR today, “We’re safe, we’re alive – that’s what matters. It puts things in perspective.”

  14. Roger Ellman

    Understandable and most generous thinking Fred. Even so,wish you and family well and relief from the physical and emotional stress, aswell as a swift return to more acceptable and hoped for daily life. Best, Roger

  15. Tom Evslin

    Partly in gratitude for all the help we received after Tropical Storm Irene, many Vermonters (including my wife Mary as a Red Cross volunteer), our electric utility workers, and others are already in the NY/NJ area to help those in great need. There are many who must stay in shelters at least until power is restored and, in some cases, until much more extensive repair and rebuilding is done.I’m very glad to hear that you guys are on the road to recovery and wish you the very best.

    1. ShanaC

      thank you.

  16. JimHirshfield

    Good luck.

  17. Mark Essel

    New Yorkers are surprisingly resilient. Most of our small startup team has been online periodically and many of those are without power/wifi at home. I only lost power and wifi for a half a day and nearly lost it (Michelle said I play a mean game of magic cards without wifi/light).We’re hoping our office will be operational next week, and I’m hoping LIRR is back in action.Google hangouts and HipChat have been our connection savior this week- even with spotty wireless / wifiThe biggest hit in my circle of friends was the cancellation of a buddy’s reception this Sunday. I’m sure his fiancé is heartbrokenPower is out in most of the neighborhoods around mine, and it’s refreshing to see folks lending a hand, buying each other coffee at Dunkin Donuts which stayed open, lending each other power cables and access to generators.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Over here in the UK we call it the ‘Blitz Spirit’ – for obvious reasons, considering much of the UK was heavily bombed for many years during WW2 (and some folk are still around to recount the memories, first-hand).

      1. Mark Essel

        Great news, my buddy’s reception is back on, he and his fiance are ecstatic (although still dealing with cold showers).

      2. laurie kalmanson

        a friend’s mom lived thru it. i heard about it from her.

    2. ShanaC

      The LIRR now has limited service on the Ronkakama line (i love the spelling of that). I had to take the long, awkward way back to LI. I’m not sure when I will get service back to the city. I can say that parts of my area are clearly devastated.

  18. JLM

    . Been thinking of you and yours and sending good vibes. You are safe and sound. Blessed. Tough, resilient. You will adapt and overcome.My Perfect Daughter, on 18th St, is similarly living the dream. I told her she could make a tactical withdrawal back to Texas.She said she is “never coming home”. The NYC graft takes quick.

    1. LE

      Did you ever notice that as you get older you pile up all these “must have” things that you need in order to conduct daily life that don’t exist when you are younger because you haven’t needed them yet? They build up over time. My latest is a pair of industrial ear muffs which came in handy when my office power was out and I had to work from home (I also have molded ear plugs but the muffs are like being in a soundproof room). The sound of the kids, without the muffs, would be totally distracting to me. I bought them simply because the lawn guys at work are always around with their annoying leaf blowers and mowers.One thing I remember very distinctly that my dad told me (that applies to your daughter and her response to you). He was 14 to 16 when he was in the concentration camps. He said if he was older, it would have been a much much worse experience. He said being that age he didn’t even know what to fear or how dangerous of a situation he was in. That’s the difference between being young and being old. I think they call it “baggage”.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Wow. Humbling.

      2. Rohan

        I am listening to Man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankl right now, LE.Learning what it takes to be human…

        1. LE

          I had that book in high school although I don’t remember it.Just to “confuse” you more there is an advantage to not knowing so much (as I see how you are trying to learn about everything you can which on the surface is great and nobody would ever say not to do). Obviously.Point being it’s not bad being young and not having life experiences and lack of knowledge that would prevent you from trying things. I remember that starting my second company was so much harder than the first. The reason is I already knew how difficult doing certain things was (even though I made it through). On the 2nd try you know what the road ahead is. On the first you don’t so you don’t know how concerned you should be. (Like you wouldn’t want to know in advance all the internal problems in medicine or screw ups in the restaurant kitchen..)I remember when I started my first company an older man (in the same business who was successful) told me not to open where I was. He said “no office buildings not a good location”. But it worked out (because we had to do other marketing in order to get business). So was he right or was he wrong? Both. That’s why it’s difficult to learn things by reading. The answer depends on the details and by reading something you are learning broad generalizations and not specifics. And sometimes by not knowing you take a chance and pull it off against conventional wisdom (however most times you fail is what I’ve seen. Go for the low hanging fruit..)”Fork” of the day.

          1. Rohan

            Hehe. Yeah. THere is only so much you can learn from books. That, I agree.But then again, there’ IS so much you can learn from them as well.So, why not? 😀

    2. fredwilson


  19. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    been following the news here and there and was so glad to watch new episodes of the John Stewart and Stephen Colbert shows last night. They were clearly making a statement that NY is coming back! Stay safe

  20. Rita

    Fred,Best wishes to you and your family as you put your life back in order. I’m based in New Orleans so I understand the challenges of putting the pieces back together.Your comment about what happens to those who don’t have the resources to regroup is spot on. I wish I had a solution for that based on my experiences on the Gulf Coast.The churches and non-profit groups have been a great resource for our region. If you know of any doing great things to help the folks in NY/NJ please post and I will retweet to my Gulf Coast followers to drum up support.

  21. Dave Pinsen

    Glad to hear you’re okay and starting to dig out.We came back to NJ from Midtown last night after we heard there was power in our building, but it turns out it’s only partial – elevators out, half the lights out, and refrigerator out. Most businesses are closed. Drove past a mile-long line for gas last night so am trying to conserve fuel.

    1. fredwilson

      the gas lines are scary

      1. Dave Pinsen

        It’s a reminder of how fragile our first world standard of living is. Glad I filled up before the storm.

      2. LE

        As part of disaster planning it wouldn’t kill the government planners to think of some of these things in advance. (Although after this I”m sure they will..)A few things come to mind. One would be roving fuel trucks that can setup anywhere. Another would be roving generator driven light trucks that could have been setup in NYC to provide some light on the streets. (Cell companies already have roving cell towers.)I’m also surprised that traffic lights aren’t wired into a backup system (we spend untold money to keep a 95 year old alive but don’t spend money on other life threatening issues that are easily fixable.).Also a civilian corps that is available to do things like traffic control and other things in the event of a disaster. It shouldn’t be ad hoc. It should be planned out and practiced. Slightly more important to any city than a well executed marathon race or hosting the olympics.And finally, my “storm” invention that I just thought of this morning.An expandable liquid that hardens and can fill a space (like your basement) so that it displaces air and prevents water from coming in 85%. Or maybe air bags. Ok maybe that is not practical in your basement but imagine if they used that in all the sub floor generator rooms. I’m sure the chemists can figure out a substance that can expand, isn’t conductive, doesn’t stick and that can be easily broken down when the threat is gone. (They use something similar in trucks to prevent cargo from shifting in voids).

  22. laurie kalmanson

    posting this with awe and gratitude: fdny twitter use during the storm…

  23. Richard

    I for one think we all need better individual disaster planning. There may be a black swan out there that results in electricity, water and food being unavailable for a week or so. Maybe it’s time we all set aside provisions for one week, along with a water filter and first aid. If disaster doesn’t strike, at the end of each year find a worthy cause and donate it to charity.

    1. LE

      Also a suitcase with essentials and clothing ready to go (like a “crash cart” at a hospital).Another thing I had on my list (which I hadn’t done) from before this event was a list printed of all the hotels within a several hour range as well as paper maps (remember those?).

      1. Wavelengths

        Print. And a personal notepad. And a pen. And a flashlight. Tech is amazing and marvelous, and sometimes doesn’t work.Take a raft trip down a river and be reminded. Or deal with the chaos of the aftermath of this storm.Sometimes a little bit of the Luddite view can help. Keep some matches on you. Write down the phone numbers and emails of those you love, or those who can talk to those you love.And speaking of love, lots of that stuff going to those of you dealing with this now. Talked to my Dad tonight. The house he was born in is gone. His grandparents’ house in Margate is gone. I don’t know if Lucy the elephant still exists. Dad is in Colorado and happy to be far above high tide, but I hear the sorrow in his voice.Best to all.

        1. LE

          Where in Margate is your grandparents house? Near Starbucks/Casels/Downbeach Deli or Two Cents Plain/Wawa or The Greenhouse/Lucy?Where down the shore did your dad grow up?Sorry to hear all of this. My place is in Ventnor but it’s on the 9th floor. The building phone doesn’t answer so I’m sure the lobby is flooded and there is other damage.Where are your grandparents living now that they are displaced?

          1. Wavelengths

            Thank you for your kind thoughts. Dad was born in Ventnor. His parents were “courting” and strolling the boardwalk in Atlantic City when Nucky Johnson was in power, so that part of the family is now gone. But I remember the taste of the sea air, and the distinctive smell of cigars that hung over the boardwalk from the times we went to visit family when I was growing up. I took my daughter to see Lucy when she was 5. She didn’t really comprehend the Atlantic Ocean, but Lucy and the boardwalk pigeons made a huge impression.Stay safe. My heart goes out to all of you who are in the middle of this now.

          2. laurie kalmanson

            “down the shore”

    2. fredwilson

      generators seem to be the thing everyone is buying these days

      1. Dave Pinsen

        My mother got one for her farm after Hurricane Irene. It runs on propane, which she uses for heat anyway. It’s been a huge help for her this time.

        1. Techman

          The additional use of solar panels are good too. As they are becoming cheaper and cheaper to buy and deploy, can soon see decent looking solar panels on every single roof of houses in the US. Think of the amount of power that we could be saving.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            If solar panels are so great, why do the manufacturers of them keep going out of business, despite government subsidies?

          2. Techman

            1) They are ugly2) They are too expensive3) People just don’t get the big picture

          3. Dave Pinsen

            1) I think isn’t an issue. I don’t know that many conventional energy sources would win any beauty pageant. 3) I think is weak too. No one’s averse to saving money. 2) Is a killer though.Incidentally, my city installed a bunch of solar panels in the last year or two — on utility polls, on the roof of a county parking garage, and in an otherwise vacant lot. I would be interesting to see what the payoff of them has been in terms of reduced energy costs, compared to the amortized costs of the panels. I wonder if anyone is keeping track of that. I doubt it.

          4. Wavelengths

            I know of a company that would finance large-scale green energy sources into a new-build or major remodel. Using a combination of factors, including tax incentives, they would calculate the project so the client paid monthly just as a utility cost. After the energy components were paid for, the financing company owned the energy sources, but continued to get the monthly payments. Overall, the utility costs were lower, and the client company got the use of the green power without having to front the cost.

          5. CJ

            My suburb runs parking garages entirely on Solar (I think), in a few spots. I’ll doublecheck and post back.

          6. Wavelengths

            Too expensive for the power they give. Great as backup, but horrendously expensive as an ongoing power source. My son tried to go off the grid. Solar panels and generator, with lots of super-efficient electronic equipment. The cost of gas for the generator alone was nearly $500/mo at not-great gas prices. He could have been on the grid in town with a more expensive apartment for less.He only wanted the solar panels for computer power, but they didn’t suffice. We have a ways to go.I understand there might be subsidies for power generators who help de-centralize the current grid. Maybe that would help the solar guys.

          7. CJ

            Scale. They aren’t *there* yet. They will be eventually, but they are cleaner burning and don’t suffer from supply constraints in the event of a disaster short of nuclear fallout.

          8. Liane

            US manufacturers are going out of business because the Chinese government is subsidizing their manufacturers to the point where those manufacturers can sell panels below the cost of manufacture. They’ve undercut the world markets and are trying to drive all non-Chinese manufacturers out of business. Both the US and EU are imposing anti-dumping tariffs, but unless we massively increase our subsidies, tariffs will do little to counter the effect of China’s massive subsidies.

      2. Richard

        No electricity for a week, generators of little value. Think Food (one lb of lentils and rice per person per day) and Water (1 gallon per person, per day). and a get out of town quickly kit, water filter, first aid kit.

      3. PhilipSugar

        Us rural people have had them for decades. The lead story of the local paper was NY and NJ residents coming to buy them here:…There are three ways to do this:Cheapest: Generator and extension cordsMost Expensive: Buy a Generac unit that powers the whole house does everything automatically.Most Cost effective: Buy a large portable contractor generator on wheels. Have an electrical contractor put in a sub panel for the critical items, and a line outside. When power goes out wheel the generator outside fire it up plug it into the outside line. Switch over critical items via sub-panel. Literally I don’t have a neighbor that doesn’t have this setup.

    3. Dave Pinsen

      Good advice. There are limits to what you can do in urban areas though, which is unfortunate. E.g., I don’t think I can legally keep a generator in my apartment or on my terrace, but we did stock up on non-perishable food and water before the storm.

      1. ShanaC

        I’m glad you weathered this out ok.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Thanks, glad you seem to have weathered it out OK so far too.

      2. LE

        “I don’t think I can legally keep a generator in my apartment or on my terrace”You can definitely keep a un-gassed generator at your place.The only issue is when you gas it up.Simply cover the box when you move it in so nobody knows what it is.At the point there is a disaster if it is on your porch (where it will need to be obviously for CO exhaust) you could will get hassled about it though. If you can barbecue you can run a generator. But I would think your neighbors would complain more than breaking the rules.That said I don’t thing this is a practical solution they are noisy etc.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          I think they banned barbecues in this building a few years back. Probably a better solution would be to have one big generator for the whole building and put it on the roof.

          1. LE

            Execution of generator systems is not trivial. Most buildings will get bids and have no clue as far as whether the system is done correctly (It’s the “computer guy knows everything about computers syndrome” where people tend to trust others about things they have no clue about).Forgetting for a second what happened with a few cases in NYC where generators failed (at least 3 hospitals as well as colo facilities) I’ve had experience with failed generator setups.One was at a condo down the shore over the summer (in Ventnor NJ). Storm over night, lighting (took out much of Atlantic county) and in our building on the roof was the generator. Bad design (I’m guessing) caused electricity to backfeed into the battery that starts the generator. So the maintenance crew had to drive out of the city some 30 miles to find a place to buy a battery. All the emergency lighting was gone. It was pitch black in the hallways and in the fire escapes. (I’m talking during daylight since there are no windows in the hallways or the fire escapes). The maintenance crew was speaking as if it was a freak event. And I’m sure the board members bought that line as if it couldn’t have been prevented. As if lightning hitting a roof area is unusual or something.Second case, and this has happened already a few times is at a colo facility we use. One time a bird shorted out some transformer and something went wrong with the generator. Another time there was a problem with a circuit breaker (and this was on generator equipment that was like 2 years old). One of the selling points of the facility was that they were next to an airport so they were on the priority power grid. But that doesn’t protect bad design or the last 500 feet.Now on the other hand I “engineered” a backup array of 6 heavy duty industrial batterys (about 800 lbs weight) with an inverter and line conditioner at my old office (back when we racked the equipment). I tested it, tweaked it etc. and it was able to last 24 hours for the equipment load we had. Hooked up the batteries with truck cables from radio shack pep boys. At a cost that was maybe a 10th of what a professional APC system would cost. And I also had a spare 1 battery inverter system that I could put into play in case the main system needed maintenance. I also built skids to keep the batterys off the floor and a dolly to be able to wheel the batteries around. It was actually a fun project (this was back in the 90’s by the way). And it worked from 1996 until maybe 2003 iirc. Never had a power outage that exceeded the batteries. And I could have increased the battery to more than 6 easily.My point is, unless you are willing to get involved in vetting the details of how it is done you might end up with a false sense of security.(That said of course it is a good idea obviously.)

      3. Techman

        You can’t keep a generator in your apartment, turned off and completely sealed so gasoline fumes can’t escape? I guess that is one disadvantage to living in an apartment.

        1. Wavelengths

          Or a high-rise. So what else is NYC?

    4. JamesHRH

      Good point Rich.Most of us prefer to be optimistically unprepared, when we should be confidently over prepared.

  24. Pete Griffiths

    It looks appalling. Good luck Fred.

    1. 1% Envy

      Yeah. I think Freddie will be ok.

      1. ShanaC

        I don’t know nor do not care who you are. Right now I’ve spent a day having tons of people walk in and out of my house because they don’t have power, or their houses are flooded. 80+% of my neighborhood on Long Island is without power. I could lose power any minute (there is a tree leaning on the lines about 2 blocks from here, if that tree falls, power goes) Within a 20 mile radius of where I am is Far Rockaway (which includes Breezy Point at the far tip). Also Long Beach and Lido Beach. Within a mile of where I am is a street that is BROKEN and SUNK IN because the water table below it flooded at the same time that the bay came in onto land.There are some super wealthy people here. There are also some extremely poor people here (it is a very orthodox Jewish community for the most part, both the really wealthy and the poor live on top of each other somehow). The water hit everyone. There are plenty of people here who basically have just the clothing on their backs and no where to go despite owning multimillion dollar homes. Or renting small cheap ones. The Hurricane didn’t care.Fred will be lucky and ok because he left early, is currently in an area where it is easy to put together resources. here, not nearly the case. And here is a much more typical situation.Instead of being a dick about Fred (losing a home is difficult, I’ve seen people’s faces all through this last night and today, and I would be not surprised if Fred or his neighbors looked like they aged 10 years overnight), go donate blood or old clothing or some canned goods.Even though I am a moderator here, I’m way too burnt out to deal with this sort of crap. I have people to serve tea to, to make sure they get power, to deal with, while also resuscitating my own business dealings. While being trapped.PS to anyone seeing this: If you are part of the red cross and on Long Island, the people in the community I am in who have power are putting together shabbos meals for tomorrow night for those who don’t/have been flooded out. I will find a way to put you in contact with whomever you need to make those meals happier, whether you come as a guest or with food (kosher, this is a mostly orthodox community).

  25. John Revay

    “And I am equally sure that many of them don’t have the wherewithal that we have to deal with it.”Well stated

    1. 1% Envy

      What does that mean? You are pathetic. “We’ll stated.” You snob. See you Sunday for polo.

  26. Nisarg Shah

    Thoughts with everyone impacted. Godspeed & good luck Fred !!

  27. Jan Schultink

    I heard the NYC marathon is still on Sunday, that’s a show case of resilience

    1. fredwilson

      the knicks play miami on friday night at MSG. josh and i will be there. can’t wait.

      1. kidmercury

        i’m envious! nba basketball is my favorite live sporting event by a wide margin. hope the knicks can bring down the heat!

    2. takingpitches

      That’s how I interpreted it too. Then today I read about the situation on Staten Island, and how the political leaders who represent SI interpreted going forward with the Marathon and now I am not sure. This is the excerpt. It is heart-breaking:Several other local officials agreed with Mr. Molinaro’s rage over Staten Island’s situation, although they did not call out the Red Cross specifically.“It is as the borough president, Jim Molinaro, said, it’s disgusting, it really is,” State Senator Andy Lanza said, criticizing the city for giving the go-ahead to the New York City Marathon this weekend and the focus on pumping the water out of the East River tunnels. “We’re talking about getting water of the tunnel. Let’s get the water out of the tunnel tomorrow, let’s get the people out of the water today. There’ve been thousands of people who have been displaced. There are people who are cold, who are hungry, who are without a place to go, and looking for warmth. There are people still trapped. Yet we’re talking about marathons and tunnels. I walked on the rooftop of a house yesterday, I stepped on it because the debris that surrounded it was level with the rooftop. That’s what happened here on Staten Island.”Congressman Michael Grimm concurred.“I think this is an example of what infuriates people here on Staten Island,” he said. “Like Senator Lanza just said, we have people, people still in water. Families displaced, families wondering where their grandparents are. Are they at a shelter? Are they at a hospital? Or are they gone? That’s what we should be focusing on. I think it would be very misguided to have this marathon. I think that the people of Staten Island will see this, unfortunately…as another shot against them, that the City Hall is more worried about getting everything running again for Manhattan and making everything look like it’s back to normal. We’re not back to normal and we’re not going to be back to normal for a long time.”

  28. matthughes

    Hang tough Fred and the rest of the NY crew.

  29. ShanaC

    🙁 I’m finding the aftermath stressful. And oy, the house.1) Does anyone know of startups/coworking spaces north of 40th on the east side/north of 28th (midtown) on the west side that have power and would like to be nice? I’m trying to plan a blood drive, but a lot of typical spaces for the NYTech community are out of commission due to power losses.2) The storm’s aftermath is making me angsty over NY-ness. I want to (at the very minimum) throw myself something that celebrates the essence of NY when things get mostly back to normal. I’m looking for ideas, anything. If you want to come with, tell me!

    1. kenberger

      COWORKING SPACE for free in a few spots around town. Go to twitter and search #sandycoworking. Ceonyc set it up.

      1. ShanaC

        thank you!

    2. Techman

      You were planning a Blood Drive before the storm?

      1. ShanaC


    3. fredwilson

      I can’t imagine this is for you but my son and I are going to celebrate our NYness at the Garden tonight watching the Knicks open the season against the world champs

      1. ShanaC

        Enjoy. Seriously.What is your favorite restaurant downtown. Maybe I will make a trip and go just to support them.I’m seriously contemplating ballet tickets though 🙂

  30. kenberger

    Here’s my report from the East Village (which I just left):No power or hot water in the old buildings. But plenty of people around. Some shops are open, flashlights are handy. There are makeshift pizza table setups. Cell is emergency only, no data. If we walk to the FDR we can get 4g service from the Brooklyn towers. Yesterday we camped out at a hotel on 42nd st and worked from laptops. Much of downtown’s population is doing the same.Bad as it sounds, we’ve had fun making candlelit dinners and pretending its burning man. For 2 nights anyway.I co-run a global business and cant afford to stick around. I happened to have had a flight from LGA to denver and then sf today that was cancelled but miraculously now rescheduled for 4pm. I stayed in brooklyn last night and the trick is finding a cab or car service to the airport– nobody has any gas!!Here’s some pix we shot in Alphabet City on the morning after the flood and explosion: to all, @kenberger

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Rootless is helping people find car shares luck getting out west!

      1. kenberger

        Just barely made it. 1 in 8 cabs in brooklyn had enough gas to make the trip. 0 in 8 cabs in Manhattan have enough or willing to leave. Uber was no better. The gas stations that were open had cops supervising. It’s ugly (although deep Brooklyn often is!) -sent from Android Galaxy Note II——– Original message ——–

  31. Kyle Van Pelt

    A hurricane can be one of the most life altering events for an individual. In addition to @fredwilson:disqus story, I have heard numerous others.One of my cousins helps out at a school in Staten Island. One of the 8 year old kids she’s worked with was tragically killed from the storm and the father is missing. I want to help this family. For far too long, I have sat back when things like this happen. Well, not any more!Since I’m not in New York, I wanted to help. So I created a relief effort called Storm of Hope. I would be eternally grateful if this amazing community would share the effort. Please tweet, e-mail and share the link directly below this; technology like Rally, our ability to get the word out and share. We should be able to raise millions in little chunks at a time to give away to those who need help in the northeast.If you have any questions, they can be sent to me at [email protected] in advance everyone!

  32. DaveGoulden

    How about you give us something to do while you are in repair mode and set-up an fundraiser for all the folks you mention who are not in as good a shape.No doubt there will be local groups focusing on this issue to give the money to and I’m sure you’ll get lots of support from this community.

  33. Prokofy

    Hi, sorry to hear about your damage and forced departure, hope you get back to speed soon. Lots of entrepreneurial spirit alive in our neighbourhood so come back soon!Wwell they forcibly evacuated us out of Waterside, which had two floors under water and broken cars and downed trees floating everywhere. But we evacuated to my aunt’s on 2nd Avenue which lost power and water as well. So we’re just roaming around like power nomads uptown now, trying to find places to charge phones and bathrooms. We’ll try to stay until closing as we’ve done the last few days, then try to make our way back in the dark with flashlights. Church service today by candlelight!The Water Club is just matchsticks. Out where our babushka lives — devastation in Seagate, just a wreck. Wish we could get out there to help, subway not reaching out there yet. Well, think of the people in Syria!

    1. ShanaC

      I want to avoid thinking about too much sorrow. I want to see more joy in the world at this point.

    2. Wavelengths

      Brave you! Keep your spirits up!!! Keep those phones and laptops charged and don’t admit the reality to anyone except your dearest friends. Ask me and I’ll tell you how to stay in touch. No one who hasn’t been through this extremity has a clue as to how deeply this touches you and those who love you and count on you.Courage. Know that you are a hero just by taking the next step, and the next step. Keep the communication devices charged. We live in a world that judges people by the virtual reality. Admit your own fragility to those you truly trust. [email protected] No need to get in touch, just know I’m real, and I’ve been through some things that help me understand.

  34. Wavelengths

    From personal experience, I encourage you to get settled in some place with your family as soon as possible. No matter how wonderful your friends are, the subtle wear-and-tear of being displaced is incalculably damaging. (Is this my toothbrush? Where are my socks? Where’s the other half of my charger? Whose towel is this?)The longer it goes on, the more destabilized everyone becomes. Your whole mode of thinking takes a huge hit. As you’ve already pointed out, you are distracted this week. For your sake, and the sake of everyone who counts on you, take advantage of one of those generous offers and get your feet under you. Now is a great time to say thank you to someone who is doing for you what you already know you would do for them if the situation was reversed.Of course you’ll work on getting the apartment squared around, but you know that will take longer than even your most pessimistic estimates. (Construction always does.)I spent a week or so in south Louisiana a couple of years ago, and heard stories about recovery. One young man said that for a month he had 21 people living in his 1-bedroom apartment, including an infant. “You do what you have to,” he said.My thoughts are with all of you who are struggling through this.

    1. fredwilson

      I totally agree. We hope to be in our own temporary home this weekend

  35. JamesHRH

    My guess is that, regardless of resources, people get by because they have friends that help out.Let’s hope so.

  36. Trish Fontanilla

    Glad to hear you and the family are safe. No damage for my family in NYC/NJ, but everyone lost power and is still without. This week we’ve been just piling on the blankets and huddling around candles (safely of course). Had an Amtrak ticket to come back to Boston on Monday but ended up flying this afternoon because who knows when Amtrak will be able to go through NYC.By the way, New York Tech Meetup and New Work City are putting together a database of tech folks to help out any businesses that are in need if anyone here wants to pass along!

  37. markslater

    My 8 year old niece is trapped with her mother in the battery park area. I tried to get them in to the ritz – the hotel is a disaster. The biggest fear for them is going outside right now. They are huddled up with three other families with young children and sharing resources. they are ‘fine’ but i have to believe its very scary for little sophie.

    1. LE

      Why not get them out of the city? There are hotels, not across the river, but if you go 40 to 60 miles there are plenty of places to get a room. Unless of course your (sister?) has a compelling reason to stay in NYC.

    2. fredwilson

      Shit. Any update on them?

  38. johndodds

    As ever, you are admirably concerned for those less fortunate than yourself. But I would suggest the fact that your family’s misfortune is only partially mitigated by your personal and social resources should also be to the fore of people’s thoughts in coming months. Particularly in respect of the fragility, communality and financing of infrastructure. Individual disaster planning may be essential but it’s never going to be sufficient.May your family’s return to normality be as swift and painless as possible.

  39. diane kaston

    HI all i live on the UWS and so was not effected, on wednesday i walked to the senior center a block from my house and served lunch there and will be doing so as long as i am needed, please remember to check on your elderly neighbors and in your buildings, they may not have the resources or family to help themselves. hope and blessings to all.

  40. Daniel Wright

    The first solution proposed to rising sea levels in NYC is a barrier, which is going to cost $7 billion not to mention the other “climate change resilience” strategies the state unveiled on the 30th ->…There are clearly some workable solutions (see the Dutch) but shouldn’t there also be a strategy to not just mitigate the effects of climate change but tackle the cause? Just sayin’

    1. fredwilson


  41. cameron

    I hope the clean up is going well, our bst to all from down under! and to a fast recovery and best wished to all