“New York’s Looming Food Disaster
SIDDHARTHA MAHANTA. Oct 21, 2013
In New York City, locating a bite to eat is rarely a difficult task. The city is a food paradise or, depending on your mood, a place of overwhelming glut.
But when Superstorm Sandy pummeled New York last fall, it revealed the terrifying potential for sudden food shortages. Flooded stores like Red Hook’s Fairway Market were forced to haul off loads of ruined produce, while persistent power outages and scant fuel supplies turned the banality of restocking into a nightmare for stores across the city. For markets nestled in lower Manhattan, the physical challenges were most grave. One bridge or tunnel shutdown might delay countless deliveries—amid disaster, a terrifying notion for stores like Met FoodMarkets in SoHo. “They only can get here if they can get here,” says Met manager Franklin Fernandez.
Smaller stores like Met have limited storage capacity, and often get cleared out in the days before an event like Sandy. Disturbingly, that supply headache can extend long past the immediate post-storm period. For Met, it took nearly two weeks to restore a working supply chain, Fernandez says.
Sandy is not New Yorkers’ first glimpse of potential disaster. The massive blackout of 1977 (and the subsequent looting), the great northeastern blackout of 2003, and Hurricane Irene in 2011 all caused similar crises.”