It’s official, folks: Irene has left the building.

Things in my part of the world, Red Hook, Brooklyn, are back to normal and like many New Yorkers, I’m counting my lucky stars (and wondering what in the world to do with all the surplus bottled water, bread, peanut butter, and chips … Smart Water and carbo-load party, anyone?) that Hurricane Irene opted for a quick title change, tropical storm, before making landfall in the Big Apple and then left in a hurry. The damage in the city itself, aside from some extensive tree carnage, was minimal.

Red Hook, a historic neighborhood surrounded on all sides by the Lower New York Bay, was a Zone A mandatory evacuation area which meant I spent all of Saturday through Sunday afternoon camped out at a most gracious (and patient … this first-time evacuee was pretty wound-up all weekend) pal's apartment on higher ground, Park Slope, Brooklyn, until returning home after Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave evacuees the heads up that it was safe to do so. Irene blew through Red Hook with some street flooding, downed trees, and misplaced garbage cans (see photo below). Aside from a flooded basement (which is really nothing new), my apartment building and fourth-floor apartment itself survived the storm, safe and secure.

Fatigue, frazzled nerves, and the terror/inconvenience of having to flee my home aside, I dodged one wet and wild bullet. My thoughts go out to those not just in New York but across the entire Eastern Seaboard who are starting out this workweek having been more direly impacted by Irene and her formidable floodwaters and wind whether through loss of life or property. No matter how underwhelming when she reached New York City, Irene was sure a (insert a word that starts with “B” and rhymes with “itch” here) in the first degree.

How, if at all, were you impacted by Irene? Did you ride it out at home or did you seek shelter elsewhere? How did you ready your home for the storm? Did you experience any damage or emerge unscathed like much of NYC? Tell me about your own experiences with big, not-as-bad-as-feared Irene in the comments section. And below, you'll find a few photos taken around my home before and after Irene reared her soggy head in Brooklyn. All photos by yours truly unless otherwise noted.

The great Park Slope peanut butter shortage. Park Slope, Brooklyn.
... services suspended. Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Riding out Irene in style. Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Point taken. Red Hook, Brooklyn. Photo by aur2899/Flickr.
She's heeere! Park Slope, Brooklyn.
A tree gives up and throws in the towel ... several hours before the storm hits in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Photo by my buddy Chris Bowers who scored a nice placement in the NYT.
EPA Superfund site, the Gowanus Canal: Mercifully not flooded. Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Rooftop swimming pool. Red Hook, Brooklyn
Rooftop trash cans. Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Imlay Street underwater. Red Hook, Brooklyn. Photo: James Spahr/Flickr
Adios, Irene! Red Hook, Brooklyn.

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