1 min Read
November 5, 2012

Dumbo recovers with a little help from BioLite

Big Duck

I’m obsessed with gear, particularly of the camping variety. In theory, I could comfortably stand in a freezing rain storm for days on end, whittling a variety of sticks with an array of sharp implements. Sounds pretty awesome right?

Having outdoor gear is great for the obvious reasons (whittling), but it’s also helpful to have when say, a massive hurricane whips up. Oddly enough, none of it got much use this past week. As Sandy plowed through the east coast I was one of the lucky few that had power, water, heat, and (with a tinge of guilt), unencumbered internet access… for the entirety of the storm.

With my super stream of news via New York 1, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, I learned quickly that we were extremely fortunate considering what else was unfolding only a few miles away. The strangest of which was captured in this otherworldly photo of Jane’s Carousel just a few blocks from my office. This is a place where I usually sit and eat lunch.

Two days after the storm, as people flocked to ATM power outlets to get their phone’s working, I stumbled into these guys. They were burning wood scraps in hi-tech stoves, magically converting fire into electricity; obviously wizards of some kind.

The company is BioLite and they make stoves that generate power from biomass; ie. pine cones, twigs, wood. They also make a larger stove meant to replace polluting and dangerous cooking fires in developing countries.  

While boiling water for French press coffee, these guys were charging iPhones for anyone with a need. There were so many things New York about what was happening, my head nearly exploded. Coffee and iPhone charging on the street from wood scraps, yes, but also the device and the gesture all had that familiar vibe: New Yorkers cannot and will not be stopped. We will clean up and rebuild… and drink our damn coffee too. Obviously, I will be buying one.