It’s not often that you celebrate your birthday during the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, but one Kingston student braved the storm for his birthday pint.

Hurricane Sandy gatecrashes KU student’s birthday party

Alex Sunier

Amir Taghan, a second year film studies student, travelled to New York with his two older brothers to celebrate his 21st birthday in style. However, what Amir didn’t anticipate, was that Hurricane Sandy was coming to the party too.

“My flight was one of the last to arrive in Newark Airport on the Sunday before Sandy hit, the rain was already falling heavily, but as we piled into the closest yellow cab the cabbie told us it was going to get worse as the night went on,” Amir explained.

“The day before the storm hit we decided to go to Times Square, walking around Times Square there was a weird sense that something really bad was going to happen, it’s really hard to describe but everyone was on the edge of their seat if you know what I mean,” he said.

For Amir’s actual birthday on the Monday, they were fortunate enough to be able to stay in their hotel room overnight.

Amir said: “We were staying at the Wellington hotel in Manhattan. We could hear the power of the wind and rain outside and we’re following live updates on our TV of the carnage being caused.”

Sandy ‘Frankenstorm’ Hurricane caused crane disaster

One of the most reported incidents of Hurricane Sandy was the crane that was dangling precariously from 90 stories high in midtown Manhattan. Amir was on the street below it when the crane first began to collapse.

“The crane which partially collapsed was two blocks behind our hotel and I was on the street as it happened. The noise was deafening when it first broke.

“The atmosphere around the crane was a really weird one, obviously people were taking a lot of photos but everyone was expecting something really bad to happen,” he said.

The crane was finally secured six days later after being left to dangle as emergency services struggled to cope with the magnitude of the disaster.

New York bars remained open 

However, the city that never sleeps truly earned its name during Hurricane Sandy – the bars never closed. All the tubes were down for the first time in living memory, and the iconic yellow cab had become a rare sight, but New York’s bars stayed open every night after the storm.

Amir said: “The nightlife was still very much booming. Due to people becoming stranded there was a sense of people coming together, a real community formed.

“Bars were open pretty much all the time, even the bars in lower Manhattan that had lost power still opened their doors. They got live music and used candles to light the place. It was a once and a lifetime experience, I don’t think I’ll ever experience New York like that again.”

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