>"Once Yellowstone blew, New York City was fucked. Frankly, it was fucked even before the first Gray Winter, before the first crop failures, before 'The Storm'. The East Coast didn't get buried in ash like the Midwest did, but we still got enough. We used to provide most of the electricity for them up here, you know? Right from the hydro plant on the river. The ash blew transformers from here all the way downstate, just shorted them right out." >"The pre-Ashfall population of NYC alone, not including Long Island or the surrounding counties, was something like 9 million people. There were entire countries that didn't have 9 million people in them, and they had just lost the ability to keep the shadows away at night, to cook or refrigerate food, to even keep in touch with the outside world. And the collapse of the national transportation system meant that no more food would be coming in." >"I've heard stories, you know, from people that made it out, about how bad it got in there. Shit to give you nightmares even if you've never seen it. Within a week of the lights going out, NYC had gone full 'Lord of the Flies'. Most people only had a week's worth of food, even less water. Once they ran out..."

>"People eating their pets. People eating rats. People eating garbage. When they got hungry enough, desperate enough, people eating other people. Street gangs turning Manhattan and the boroughs into a warzone right out of the Middle East, or Mogadishu, back when it existed. It might not be all that shocking nowadays, but you have to understand that back then this was horrifying. Maybe the National Guard or the Army could have brought in some form of stability, but with half the fucking country on fire and the rest being buried under mountains of ash, there just wasn't enough beans and band-aids to go around." >"9 million people. More like 14 million if you include Long Island and the surrounding counties. Try to picture that many people, and I guarantee that you simply can't. It's a force of nature more than a mob. A hungry, scared, desperate force of nature. Emergency services were completely swallowed up, or else they were running with the rest. Those people that weren't dead or dying or fighting over the scraps of Manhattan tried to flee. Just this mass fucking Exodus. No direction, no leadership, no destination, just anywhere. Into New Jersey, or into Pennsylvania, or into Massachusetts. But of most of them just fled upstate." >"How could we turn them back? I'm not talking on moral grounds of 'helping our fellow man', I mean how do you physically turn that many people back? People whose choices are certain death in the city or possible survival up north? I know that some people tried to turn the evacuees back by force. I guarantee you that most of them died in the process. That old adage of 'One man with a gun can control a hundred men without one' doesn't work so well when there's two or three hundred men, many of who were armed despite decades of effort by liberal policymaking."

>"It almost did us in. It was the first Gray Winter, the worst weather I'd seen since the '98 Ice Storm, and suddenly there were literally millions of extra mouths to feed. Millions of extra bodies to shelter. I don't know how many froze to death during those long months, how many starved, how many were buried under these huge fucking drifts of dirty snow. Entire towns just wiped off the map. They're still digging bodies out of the Adirondacks." >"We couldn't survive another winter like that. We couldn't survive the sheer influx. Something had to be done. By this point the Federal government had more or less collapsed. If there was anyone giving orders, no one was really listening to them. The amount of ash in the air shot any cell or radio signals. A lot of information was simply passed by word of mouth, and a lot of the first efforts at preparing for next winter were organized at the individual level or town level. Putting the refugees to work clearing wet ash from the roads, chopping trees for lumber, tilling soil and planting crops, digging graves, that kind of shit.” >“One thing I will give to you about Manhattan, a lot of people means a lot of blue collar workers. Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, truck drivers, garbage collectors... People who could get their hands dirty without complaints. Sure there were too fucking many cubicle workers, who had never seen hardship outside of someone pronouncing their name wrong at Starbucks, but there were millions more who were willing to work for their keep.”

>“It was brutally simple - you don't work, you don't eat. And that rule went for the locals as well. I earned my meals by being a bike messenger between Malone and Ogdensburg. The amount of weight I must have shed off in that year alone... Still, even with the extra farmland and newly built homes, that second Gray Winter probably culled off another couple hundred thousand or more."

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