VETERANS of dorm life are familiar with the ‘freshman 15,’ the proverbial dozen-plus pounds that new college students pack on as they adjust to campus life.
After a week of Chips Ahoy!-foraging and stress-bingeing in darkened apartments, downtowners who finally caught a glimpse of themselves in the mirror after the lights went on realized that they had succumbed to a highly localized version: the ‘Sandy Five.’
‘I can’t even talk about it — my jeans do not button,’ said Emily Marnell, 31, a publicist who cited both boredom and anxiety as a reason she fell victim to odd, middle-school-kid cravings for junk food after her Gramercy Park apartment went dark.
‘I went through Duane Reade and was grabbing Double Stuf Oreos, whole milk, Twix, Twizzlers, Sour Patch Kids,’ she recalled in horror.
A tightening of the waistband hardly counts as a crisis in a region where so many have endured actual devastation. Indeed, few people who lived in the part of the city that some were calling ‘SoPo’ (south of power) would have dared complain about tilting the scales after surviving the fury of a Category 1 hurricane that buffeted a large swath of the eastern United States.
Still, the extra pounds provided evidence of a disaster-psychology mind-set that took hold during Sandy: in times of crisis, New Yorkers discovered, food fills an emotional need, not just a physical one.
Blame a sense of desperation. Downtown residents, who escaped to the City of Light of Midtown and above, often gorged as if they did not know where their next meal was coming from. Many, in fact, did not.
Amber Katz, a beauty writer who lives on East 23rd Street and made daily forays north for a shower and a hot meal, said: ‘I have never eaten more fries in my life than I have during this week. It was every day.’
Totally not from The Onion.