When Hurricane Sandy came through our region and lay waste to entire communities, displaced families, and even tragically took the lives of dozens, we all paused to remember how much we take for granted. The luckier among us began donating money, clothing, supplies and food, and banding together to volunteer and help the folks out in the most ravaged regions return to something resembling normalcy. But there was another group of people that we all heartlessly forgot about, letting them fend for themselves.
People who gained a couple of pounds because they like, couldn’t stop eating Oreos and stuff, you know?
The New York Times went out to give a voice to those whose waistlines slightly ballooned over the last couple of weeks, as they were bored, and the Chips Ahoy were right there, and what else were they going to do?
Amber Katz, a beauty writer who lives on East 23rd Street and made daily forays north for a shower and a hot meal, said: “I have never eaten more fries in my life than I have during this week. It was every day.”
“I was totally stress-eating,” added Ms. Katz, 32, who wearied of her subsistence diet of peanut butter and bananas while at home. “I had places to go during the day, but my friends uptown weren’t forthcoming with invites to stay overnight, even for one night. I was looking for comfort.”
Ms. Katz, whose life was cursed with having nothing to eat except for peanut butter, bananas, and hot, fried foods, was so consumed with desperation for a hearty, nutritious meal, she couldn’t even focus when she went to all those places she had available to go to during the day and pick one up, no. Life was hard, you see, and she was lost without options available within 5 minutes’ walking distance from her home.
“I can’t even talk about it — my jeans do not button,” said Emily Marnell, 31, a publicist who cited both boredom and anxiety as a reason she fell victim to odd, middle-school-kid cravings for junk food after her Gramercy Park apartment went dark.
“I went through Duane Reade and was grabbing Double Stuf Oreos, whole milk, Twix, Twizzlers, Sour Patch Kids,” she recalled in horror.
You can go on and on about how there are people in Breezy Point who no longer have a place to call home, and people in the Far Rockaways who are struggling to find warmth at night during an unseasonably cold week, but that’s not horror. Going to Duane Reade, what with its running electricity and heat, and going up and down its aisles completely blind to 1% milk and cans of nuts and tuna fish, only able to see the Twix and Twizzlers in stock? Crying at the register when you realize you forgot your rewards card at home? Going home to spend another night with nothing but your thoughts and a mountain of candy? Going almost 3, 4 days without power, and having to schlep one, maybe two miles north to find hot foot and working lights? THAT’s horror.
So stop feeding me your bullshit story, residents of the Far Rockaways. It’s about time we pause yet again and realize that the people living in what was previously (because the power’s back and it’s all good now, guys) known as SoPo (South of Power) were living in sugar-fueled, deep fried squalor.
I leave you with one more quote from the much-needed, timely, and frankly crucial New York Times piece, without further comment. Grab your tissues. This one’s a doozy.
“Waiting for the storm seemed to make everyone want to do three things: watch ‘Homeland,’ eat and tweet,” Ms. Lavinthal said. “Once the power went out downtown, the only thing left to do was eat — and eat.”
Suddenly, the svelte editor was gorging like Falstaff, whipping up (on her gas range) five-egg omelet breakfasts or roast-chicken-with-every-vegetable-in-the-crisper dinners.
I hope, and pray, that any Seamless orders made by these people during last night’s nor’easter weren’t delayed by 5 minutes. Or, dear God… 10 minutes. That would be the truest and most sobering tragedy. of them all.
Look, stress eating can be a serious problem, something I wouldn’t ever minimize. For some people, they can run into terrible health problems when they seek comfort in foods that do nothing but hurt them, over a long period of time. They need to seek help. This particular story, though? Absolutely terrible.
Hat tip to Anthony De Rosa for posting this story on Twitter. Click the source for the tweet.