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Storm Watchers Court Thrills Despite Warnings at East River

By Jeff Mays | October 29, 2012 5:19pm

HARLEM — At the esplanade at East 96th Street, dozens of people came to watch the raging waters of the East River despite the entrance being taped taped off and a police officer stationed at the entrance off the FDR Drive trying to convince people to leave.

"Go home. Go home. You are putting yourself in danger," the officer said on his loudspeaker.

The thrill-seekers ignored him.

"We wanted to get pictures of the water. I'm excited because this is my first hurricane in the Northeast," said Sarah Caldwell, 19, a student at Marymount Manhattan College.

Caldwell came to look at the East River with friends and fellow students Victoria Inguanta, 21 and  Andrea Wilkinson, 20.

Caldwell said her parents in Knoxville wanted to buy her and her friends bus tickets to Tennessee but she refused. "I told them I'm just going to ride it out."

Inguanta, who is from Long Island, called  herself "jaded" about the storm. "I don't watch the news. There's nothing we can do until it hits," she said. "But watching the water is cool."

Wilkinson said she felt the news was trying to scare people.

"I feel like it's fearmongering at this point," said Wilkinson.

Colleen Collins, 28, a teacher, and Marlowe Doman, 28, a lawyer, said they came to take pictures of the water.

"It's boring in the apartment," said Doman. "Considering the history with Irene last year when they made a big deal and nothing happened, it's hard to get nervous."

Collins said she was taking more of a wait-and-see approach.

"You never know until something happens. I was super nervous last year," said Collins.

The pair said they normally jog along the esplanade and were amazed because the water seemed to be at least a foot higher than normal.

"The water is never this high. I hope no one gets hurt," said Collins.