5

A Democratic Hurricane

NEW YORK – Nothing concentrates the mind like a full-blown crisis. Like millions of other people in New York City, I heard Hurricane Sandy rattling my windows and battering my doors. I was luckier than many. Rattling is all it did.

For many years, experts have been warning that such storms would overwhelm the city’s antiquated urban infrastructure. Salt water came streaming into open subways. Damage to the power supply reduced a third of Manhattan to a pre-modern state of darkness. And that was just New York. In parts of New Jersey, many people fortunate enough still to have a house are cut off by rivers of raw sewage lapping at their doors.