Funny thing about New Yorkers: While the world writes about the city's action and reaction during the serious threat of Hurricane Irene, the storm on track to make a rare direct hit with potentially significant impact, most every New Yorker is going about it by late Friday night with calm and resolve.
The reality is, New Yorkers have seen it all, and in the face of difficult conditions and threat, they are the calmest and most resolved of all. So it was late Friday as Mayor Michael Bloomberg began issuing evacuation orders and notifying that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority -- including bus and subway lines -- would shut down on Saturday.
Some pundits mistakingly wrote saying that New Yorkers were scurrying around, trying best as they could to manage the emergency in the eye of the potential storm as forecasts suggest Irene might make a direct hit on Sunday.
All indications are, the strike is going to happen and the damage could be high. But the reality is and was that most were were laughing, smiling and making their way home or out of town -- heeding advice, but doing so without any overreaction at all.
They might have hurried more, but traffic was so heavy getting out of town a snail's pace was the best they could do anyway as hundreds of thousands sought shelter outside of the city. Eventually, they made their way without much complaint, since traffic is one thing every New Yorker has long been used to.
Remember that New York showed its mettle in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Osama bin Laden wanted to break the spirit of the city and the nation but that didn't happen. In fact, the opposite happened. Tourists flock to the World Trade Center site daily in memory, but New Yorkers walk by it without even a glance even though some lost friends in family in the tragedy.
It's just that pain settled deep -- very -- but they understand when warnings sound that calm and resolve is the best measure. So while many pundits sounded off that New York was in a state of chaos before the storm even arrived, the truth tells a very different story.
New Yorkers were at their very best on Friday, as Bloomberg barked in sound preparedness the order of action, including mandatory evacuations and a shutdown of the transportation system Saturday at night. The threat from Hurricane Irene is serious, and most everybody took it as such. Most understood the storm poses a serious threat. But they've seen serious before.
Somehow, again, they'll get through it. Making a furious scene beforehand won't do any good. That's one thing they know. They've been bombed with jet planes, and bombarded by devastating blizzards. This week, even, New York was shaken by an earthquake. But while some media types said the quake rattled New York, the reality is it barely caused a bump at all.
Same with evacuation notices and talks of threat from a once-in-a-lifetime storm for New York.
Most residents made made their way home or out of the city Friday like it was nothing at all. Just another Friday clogged with traffic heading north or south out of the city. The biggest issue most faced Friday was high humidity preceding the storm. Winds that blew mid-week died down on Friday, and the air was warm and heavy before Irene's dampening churn arrives.
Yet the people were happy, methodical, and quite unconcerned. They knew that they, and the city, will survive Hurricane Irene, somehow, someway. And, they knew there will be other days to be in a hurry, like Monday, when Irene is gone and the time has come to pick up, clean up, and go back to work.