Updated 08/28/2011 03:19 AM
Lower Manhattan Residents Brace For Irene's Impact
With parts of Lower Manhattan under a mandatory evacuation order in anticipation of Hurricane Irene's arrival, many residents there had mixed feelings about leaving. Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
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With two girls and a guinea pig piled in the back seat, Renee Abiad and her family left Battery Park City Saturday to seek higher, drier ground in Connecticut.
"I think you have to be cautious," Abiad said. "History has shown us sometimes you think it's not going to be that bad and it is, so I think this is the right decision. Better to be safe."
That sentiment was heard over and over again in Lower Manhattan, even if residents didn't feel the mandatory evacuation was entirely necessary.
One resident predicted a "90 percent chance this turns out to be a really bad rain storm, but who really wants to test it and be here if it is a really bad hurricane?"
However, not everyone wanted to heed the mayor's repeated calls. Some residents in Battery Park City were intent on weathering the storm at home. Many had been forced to leave before, namely after the September 11th attacks, and although that was under very different circumstances, the word "evacuation" is eerily reminiscent.
Another resident said, "We felt like our building stood through 9/11 and it's still standing, so we feel pretty safe in it. And we just like being home. I think it will be okay."
Another area of concern in Lower Manhattan is on the East Side, where a storm surge could send the East River spilling over its banks, flooding the streets and potentially wreaking havoc on homes and businesses such as underground parking garages. Even before the rain started, preparations were well underway.
Regardless of whether they're staying or going, most residents agreed the city had done a good job preparing for the storm.