1. People here didn't believe we would lose power.
My area of Manhattan isn't notably special but we were smug enough to think the city would do anything to keep our power on. Hence, the scramble for hurricane-unfriendly foods at my supermarket. While I was stocking up on water and granola, my fellow shoppers decimated shelves of eggs, raw chicken, and ice cream. I'm all for a pitch black ice cream binge but I'll pass on the salmonella. My hypothesis? The impeding lack of delivery food was a much more convincing threat than possible powerlessness.
Even when Sandy was whistling outside, the hum of our elevator continued. First thing I did when the power went out was take my flashlight into our horror movie of a hallway and knock on the elevator door to check if anyone was stuck on our floor. (No one was.) Additional fun: my building has two stairwells but only one goes to the lobby. The other leads its victims into a labyrinth of other stairwells. Wonder how many of my poor neighbors learned that the hard way...Should I go check down there?
3. Plumbing does strange things during hurricanes.
When power went out at my apartment (I was one of the neighborhoods affected by the blown transformer at 14th Street) my roommate and I turned our attention to the sounds of the hurricane...coming from our sink. It gurgled and howled throughout the night and we have no clue why. Also, the water in the toilet bowel swayed. My subsequent Googling has offered no explanations.
As I migrated to my first refuge in the West Side, I noticed a strange abundance of people gathered around closed Starbucks. (Starbuckses???) These people were always pressed right up against the windows and while using their phones. Only later did someone explain to me that these people were scavenging internet from our well-known Grand Poobah of free wi-fi.
5. Get a power strip and go to an ATM vestibule.
For some reason, many vestibules have easily accessible power outlets in them. Add that to the geniuses carrying around power strips and you get: everyone's BFF.