Update: Sandy Residents Who Stayed Behind

While Sandy raged on Monday, some East Coast residents waited from the safety of government-provided shelters. Other hunkered down with friends or family in neighboring cities and states, taking officials’ advice to steer clear of the superstorm.

Some, however, decided to stay at home, ignoring mandatory evacuation edicts. And now, some of New York’s stay-behind residents say it wasn’t so bad.

Annie Chambliss and Laz Benitez were interviewed by NBC Today just days before the storm as they duct-taped their windows and holed up inside their Manhattan apartment. While prepared for disaster with canned foods, flashlights, and a bathtub filled with water, Benitez says that the biggest inconvenience Sandy brought was “losing phone connectivity.”

“We never lost power and are shocked we got away virtually unscathed,” Benitez, 41, wrote in an email. “We took a walk [on Tuesday] to the east side and looks a lot worse there. But we lucked out with the whole power thing. Just amazing.”


A block away, parents Claire Wladis and Nicholas Rennie fared much the same. Although their 21-month-old daughter, Iliana, enjoyed sleeping in her parents’ open closet in a makeshift “storm bed,” that was the most excitement they experienced.

“We sort of decided it would probably be safer just to stay where we are,” said Wladis, 34, a university math professor, noting that her relatives lived in other states that were expected to fare even worse during the storm. “We are not that high up and there’s an internal hallway, so we figured if the winds got strong we’d just pull a mattress out there and camp out.”

And after the storm? “If we hadn’t been looking out the windows or paying attention to news we never would have known anything had happened frankly,” said Rennie.