This is a scene from this morning after Hurricane Irene (or Tropical Storm Irene, depending on who is reporting) made landfall at Coney Island. This is North Cove Marina featuring the World Financial Center in the background. Our apartment complex is just off screen to the right, and on slightly higher ground. The water here is quite high, it’s run over the walkways around the cove and, somehow, buried the docks that are around the boats… and of course the water shouldn’t be flowing where that person is walking.

No, we didn’t take that picture. Once we ended up in a declared evacuation zone, along with the other low lying areas in the five boroughs, we got out… all the way down to see my mom in Alabama. Ultimately, given how little damage the storm caused, the impulsive move to get out of the state may seem overkill. However, having watched WABC’s coverage of the storm Saturday night (thanks to their great iPad app), I’m glad I wasn’t there.

We had evacuation options in New Jersey (thanks, Brian) and in Manhattan (thanks to Matt, John & Alex, Adrian, Neil, Ken and Vanessa for the housing options). However, in talking about it once the evacuation order came, there seemed no good solution. Almost anything bad that could happen to us in our apartment, well above the flood area at 11 stories, could happen at any of our evacuation areas… windows good break, flooding could happen, getting back afterwards difficult. Hence the decision to leave the area entirely. Within minutes we had plane tickets and a car lined up. Plus, my mom was ecstatic for the impromptu visit.

It was stressful pulling us away from home in the middle of all that, but in the end worth it I think. We didn’t have to endure the hours of wind and rain, which, honestly, I think would’ve freaked me out. I don’t like it when the windows rattle with the wind in the winter and I’m sure I wouldn’t have liked this even more. Plus, it was fun to come down and see mom, see Cheryl and Angela, eat some yummy (but oh so not healthy) Southern food. We also got to see a super cheap movie–ticket prices here are only $7.50 for matinees and only $9.50 for primetime. So we saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes for the price a single ticket would’ve cost at home (score!).

We got in some good shopping too. Will has wanted to hit a good used book store for sometime now, and Cheryl introduced us to 2nd & Charles. It’s an amazing place where we spent two hours! Plus we got some deals at the Gap and wandered around the Riverchase Galleria (a place I’ve not been in about 15 years) .

One of our shopping decadences came at the grocery store of all places. When I come here I usually grab a couple boxes of Hamburger Helper. The stores we shop in NYC have little or no selection, which is sad since we do like it–a lot! It’s simple and yummy. For the first time I had Will with me at the store looking at the selection and we went kind of crazy (as you can see at the right) with 12 boxes in all different flavors no less. In the morning this bounty, along with the books we picked up, will all get mailed home. I’m not sure how we’ll explain this to the UPS Store clerk when we show up to pack up this odd assortment. But, whatever, we’ll have some good books and tasty food.

We’re ticketed to go home early Tuesday morning, but we’re going to try to get out tomorrow night if we can.

All-in-all, it’s been a pretty decent evacuee experience!