Heartwarming Pictures

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there have been some really heartwarming pictures and stories showing the various ways New York city residents (and others) are coping with the aftermath. They can be boiled down to one phrase: caring and sharing.

So we see pictures like the one of a house where residents have run extension cords to the street and posted a sign: “We still have power. Feel free to charge your phones.” In darkened neighborhoods, there are pictures of neighbors checking on each other, sharing flashlights and the occasional home generator, helping each other with food and blankets. My own son, whose midtown apartment never lost electrical service, has told friends to come over to “shower and power”–and tells me that many other residents of his building are doing the same. Mayor Bloomberg noted this morning that there hasn’t been a murder in the City for the past three days.

While first responders are evidently doing their usual great job, they can’t be everywhere. So New Yorkers are–as usual–depending on the kindness of neighbors and strangers. And those strangers are responding.

This should not be a surprise. New Yorkers–routinely maligned by folks who don’t like cities and fear people who don’t look like them–has a history of coping well with challenges. I recall stories from the blackout several years ago, where people who owned small restaurants opted to empty their refrigerators and cook up the contents–throwing impromptu dinner parties for passersby, choosing to do something for others rather than simply letting the food spoil.

It’s too bad it takes adversity to remind us that we are part of a human family, and we ought to act like it.

For that matter, it sometimes takes an event of this magnitude to remind us why government is important–and that, properly run, it works.