WWHL's Research Associate Producer reflects on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Hey again, y’all! It’s Christie, Research Associate Producer, Interactive AP, and fellow Bravo-fanatic! What a crazy couple of weeks it’s been. Hurricane Sandy surprised us all with her franken-strength, leaving many of us without power for 5-6 days and the Clubhouse in the dark. Still, we were very lucky compared to many others whose towns and homes were devastated. Sadly, I’m not sure the pictures on the news are really even capturing the extent of the damage. The victims of Hurricane Sandy have been on the Watch What Happens Live team’s mind since the storm hit. Just a reminder to take a moment and Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
My apartment lost power Monday night, and the Clubhouse lost it shortly after. Being cold in a very dark Manhattan is not anything I ever want to experience again. When I went to bed on Monday I thought, “no big deal, it will be on by morning.” Being from the South I’m used to the power going out during bad storms or hurricane-like conditions. The next morning, though, there was still no power. The streets were completely quiet with tree limbs and trash scattered about. One of the deli owners on my block pulled his car up to his storefront to light the place and serve stale rolls and bitter coffee. No one could find cell service to let their families and friends know they were OK, but still, we were lucky to be safe in our homes with little to no damage. Tuesday we cancelled our show.
Wednesday when we woke up, we were unsure if we would even have a show (the Clubhouse was still without power), or be able to get an audience. But WWHL’s staff and fans are fearless and devoted. We had a huge audience show up in good spirits and in costume no less, for our Halloween show! When I saw them all standing outside the studio waiting to get in, it gave me chills. It made me feel like our show was serving a purpose. We entertained some stranded New Yorkers, while getting the word out about helping those who were affected more severely by the storm. Every single caller we spoke with that night thanked us for doing the show--oh, and the tweets--so many thoughtful tweets! I have never experienced anything like that. Thank you to all of those wonderful callers and tweeters for your kindness, it definitely put a little more pep in my unshowered-couch-crashing-with-a-friend-who-has-electricity-and-only-eating-nonperishable-carbohydrates-step! We were definitely the lucky ones.
Early this week we were finally back in our Clubhouse. It felt so great to be where we belong: SoHo. On Tuesday (election day) we decided to volunteer for victims of Hurricane Sandy instead of going into the office. We headed to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with our donations of batteries, blankets, coats, and water, where we spent the day at two churches organizing and cooking. Here we all are after a long and rewarding day of volunteering:
It was such a great team-building experience, and highly amusing to see where my co-workers shined the most. Deirdre, our executive producer, was laying down the law in the basement of one of the churches. Quickly separating essentials (like coats, hats, scarves and gloves) from non-essentials (prom dresses, crop tops, ties). Anthony (audience coordinator) and Caroline (hair and makeup) were busting a serious move in canned goods. Megan (my research partner in crime) became the Henry Ford of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, along with her assembly line of Tori (PA), Zara (segment producer) and Sarah (coordinating producer). They were completely unfazed after making over 1,000 of those bad boys.
Poor Courtney (digital associate producer) volunteered for tuna fish draining and mixing duty. I’m not sure if she knew what she was getting into when she volunteered for that position, but she did it all with a huge smile on her face (I think that was a smile...).
And John (writer/producer extraordinaire), well he stood outside and bossed lost-looking people around, and told them where to go. It’s the job he was born to do! I, on the other hand, can wrap a mean Christmas present, so I was in charge of sandwich wrapping/packaging. I didn’t get to participate creatively the way the other sandwich artists did, but hey, I tried to make each one special. I’m almost to ‘origami crane in foil’ status. It truly felt like we were in a Top Chef quickfire challenge, with one goal: feed as many people as possible. On top of all of that, I got to wear a fanny pack. A FANNY PACK! I’ve never seen Tom Colicchio in a fanny pack! His loss, I hear they are making a come back.
Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, but the past two weeks have been a great reminder of how easy it is to take simple things for granted. Today, be grateful for little things you don’t think about until they are gone. I am thankful for my warm home, my Chinese takeout, my (now) working television to enjoy all of my favorite Bravo shows, and our amazing Watch What Happens Live staff and fans. Thanks for your support and concern over the past two weeks. Speaking of support: a reminder to make sure you Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief! DO IT! And if you can’t do that, donate your time and help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.