If you were on the east coast this weekend, most likely you were indoors bracing for the devastation of Hurricane Irene. Luckily by the time Irene reached New York City on Saturday night, the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 and then to a tropical storm.
Many of Chelsea’s blue-chip galleries were within the vicinity of Mayor Bloomberg’s mandatory evacuation Zone A and had to take precautions and necessary steps to protect their art. New York Observer reported that galleries such as Luhring Augustine placed sandbags in front of their doors to prevent flooding and stored artworks on higher ground. Julia Joern of David Zwirner Gallery took further precaution by “moving what art we have in the gallery to higher ground and off-site to a warehouse in Queens.”
With the complete shut-down of mass transit, most NYC museums announced they were closing for the weekend. The Museum of Modern Art even “partially cleared its sculpture garden in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Irene” and moved Pablo Picasso’s She-Goat and Katharina Fritsch’s colorful Group of Figures indoors.
When Irene finally arrived in NYC Saturday evening, winds were gusting from 30-60 mph with heavy rain through out the night. No major flooding and destruction were reported on Sunday and it seems NYC dodged another bullet and escaped with only minor damages.