Escape From New York: A Doomsday Preppers Event

In this special Doomsday Preppers event, we follow three New Yorkers as they plot their routes out of the city, literally escaping the grid to reach safety. While each has a different fear, all three are determined to get off the island before it’s too late. In Harlem, we profile Margaret Ling, who fears that a catastrophic hurricane will devastate the city (this was filmed before her fear came true when super-storm Sandy struck). She plans to walk hundreds of miles in order to get as far away from the city as possible. Out in Brooklyn, we meet Cameron Moore, a college student on his way to medical school. Cameron is preparing for the meltdown of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which he fears will lead to detrimental changes in the environment. He plans to paddle across the Hudson River to reach New Jersey. And downtown, we follow stock trader and family man, Jay. He fears that a terrorist attack in the form of a dirty bomb is inevitable and plans to race uptown to his family so they can flee to their safe house in the Hamptons.

Margaret Ling moved from Florida to Harlem after witnessing the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. A few years later, when Hurricane Irene hit the city, she realized that natural disasters were on the rise and that she needed to prepare herself for the big one. In this episode, she teams up with a Krav Maga expert to learn self-defense tactics that will keep her alert as she treks through the city. We join her as she perfects her escape route across Central Park and over the George Washington Bridge. Along the way, the expert teaches her the importance of a lightweight go-bag with versatile items. He puts her through various drills, surprising her with a simulated attack and showing her how she can use a simple candy lollipop as a weapon.

Cameron Moore is a laid back college student preparing for medical school. He is also preparing for the meltdown of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, less than 40 miles from New York City. He fears that radioactive fallout will cause irreversible harm to people living in the city. He plans to make his way from Brooklyn to the Hudson River, where he will paddle in his inflatable raft to New Jersey. We pair Cameron with a preparedness expert who takes him on a practice-run to test out his escape route. The expert shows Cameron that he might need to resort to questionably immoral actions, like stealing a bike or spraying mace on attackers, in order to survive. We follow an exhausted Cameron as he makes his way through the city to get off the island.

Jay was only blocks from the World Trade Center on 9/11 when he witnessed the collapse of the towers and the pandemonium that broke out on the city streets. He is preparing for another terrorist attack and wants to ensure that he will be able to get his family to safety. He runs through his plan with a preparedness expert who teaches him how to assess wind direction so he can avoid toxic debris and how to filter water from the fountain in Washington Square Park. Jay’s main priority is making his way uptown to reunite with his family. They have set up a safe house in the Hamptons, where they plan to bug out following an attack.

Don’t Miss Doomsday Preppers: Escape From New York Tuesday at 9P


  1. […] Escape From New York – Tuesday, December 19, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET/PT […]

  2. s chester
    December 15, 2012, 8:07 pm

    From all the blogs and other writingsI have read I get the impression that most people don’t have a complete understanding of range of catastrophes we all face so I composed a list. All items on the list are whens not ifs:
    1. Extreme Weather (blizzards – floods – ice storms – large hail – tornadoes – very deep snow – lightening – prolonged drought – very high winds – extreme cold – extreme heat – tsunami – hurricanes) With the warming of the planet is weather is going to become more and more violent.
    2. Wild Fires (forest and brush fires) If you are planing to live in the forest and underground remember that a forest fire needs oxygen and will pull all the oxygen out of your bunker.
    3. Earthquakes Please keep in mind that earthquakes can happen anywhere so build with that in mind.
    Electromagnetic Pulse, Geomagnetic Storms and Cosmic Radiation Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and Geomagnetic Storms mainly effect long runs of electrical lines like power lines and will induce enough power into the lines to blow out transformers. If the pulse is strong enough it can effect electronics. The only way to protect your electronics is with a Faraday Box. Cosmic Radiation comes from outer space and usually from an exploding star. If the star is within 100 lightyears we might have a problem. As far as I know there are no close stars ready to explode.
    Super Volcano or Asteroid Impact Winter Lasting Three Years or More
    Yes, Yellowstone is a super volcano but it is growing at only about 2.8 inches per year and still has a long way to go before erupting. A more dangerous one is Mt. Toba on the island of Sumatra. It blew about 74,000 years ago and created a 6 to 10 year winter that reduced the human population to less than 15,000. There is about a 1 in 20,000 chance of an Asteroid Impact which is about the same as dying in a plane crash. The next near miss that we know of happens in 2040.
    6. Terrorism, Pandemic and/or Societal Breakdown
    I think that these are the ones that bother people the most. Our country is so large that terrorism will never physically effect more that a small area at a time. Due to our mobility a Pandemic is something that could effect the whole country or for that matter the whole world. If the ebola virus ever escaped from the wilds of Africa the airplane connected world would be in danger. Being highly contagious, with no cure and a kill rate of 50% to 90% very few would survive. More than likely a pandemic will come from a common pathogen that has become resistant to all current drugs. The only thing that keeps Societal Breakdown in check is the large middle class. It balances the adverse effects of the poor and the rich and tends to suppress the ideological and religious extremes. In resent times the poor and rich classes have been growing while the middle is shrinking in size. If the middle class gets too small our society will become unbalanced and be thrown into chaos.

    So, if you are planing to survive for the long term you need to build your bunker taking all of the above into consideration. Surviving a volcanic winter of just a year requires special additions to your accommodations. You will need a continuous supply of fresh filtered air and clean drinking water. You need a method for taking care of the waste you generate and remember everything outside will be frozen at least down 12 inches or more. If you want electricity you will need a generator and fuel for a year. Don’t count on having TV or radio to entertain you, you will need books and other non electric things to keep you occupied. Look up Biosphere 2 located close to Tucson, Arizona. The first crew of 8 lasted 2 years sealed in a facility that is the size of two and a half football fields.

  3. Gary McNaney
    Chicago, Il.
    December 17, 2012, 6:11 am

    My wife and I have watched this show and have always thought that these people were both paranoid and frightening. But for the venerable National Geographic to take part in adding to the divisiveness in our nation and the “ME” rather than “WE” definition of America and to the national paranoia is unconscionable . In the light of the information that the Newton killer and his mother were “prepares” further shows that the paranoia and violent culture bred by this type of show can glorify these nut bags. What are you thinking about when you air this crap? Where I’d Nat Geo’s responsibility to try and not feed into this national hysteria. END THIS SHOW NOW…PLEASE

  4. Steve Gaitten
    Hamilton, VA
    December 17, 2012, 2:07 pm

    In the wake of the tragic shooting in Newton, Connecticut, I strongly agree with Gary’s comments. Nat Geo should take this show off the air immediately. This show glorifies, legitimizes and celebrates behavior that leads to arming a segment of our population that is pathologically paranoid. Please shut down this show immediately. We don’t need to inspire the next Nancy or Adam Lanza.

  5. Chrissy
    Cleveland, OH
    December 18, 2012, 1:59 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this show. Probably the best reality show on TV. These people amaze me in the lengths they go to in order to ensure their survival. I always wonder what they will do if a different type of disaster occurs than what they are “prepping” for. Or why if the world is ending would they want to live? If something were to wipe out the US take me with the first wave of people. I have no desire to stick around for the aftermath. This show has some valuable messages though, such as ensuring you have extra water at home and non-perishables on hand (not the extent of the preppers necessarily) but enough that should you be snowed in or unable to leave home for a bit you will be able to get by with no issue. I think if people take this show at face value that these individuals whom are profiled are extremists there will be no national hysteria. Obviously these people are paranoid for one reason or another and many of them have the bank accounts to fund their prepping but watching the show religiously has not affected me in any way that I believe others would be lead into 24/7 crisis mode.

  6. Tara
    New York
    December 18, 2012, 11:45 pm

    The Escape from New York episode is down right criminal. Advocating that 1 of the people trying to escape steal a bike?
    That is called “Looting” and the national guard will shoot you dead for that.
    It is a terrible survival strategy. Aton should be arrested for “training” preppers to loot and steal. NatGeo, You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  7. george miloshev
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    December 19, 2012, 5:23 am

    I really don’t know what the people from the National Geographic Chanel think. Or, have they think at all? What are they doing?
    Why is that sequence of programs about the so called “End of the world’? And this advertisement about apocalipto program of a kid telling how he and the family expect the END in the Holly night!! And what is the meaning of the number at the corner of screen “4 days left”??? Is this irony or something?
    With, these programs and adverts NGC only can influence psychically unstable people to commit suicide or to kill others or at least can provoke chaos.
    And if there is the END coming, how these programs are helping us to cope with it?

    I always accepted National Geographic Chanel as an iconic program giving me and to kids a profound and scientific view of our earth, life, universe.
    Well, not anymore!

    If NGC think that by this they are attracting more viewers, I can tell them – No. By this they show only one thing – Big stupidity!

    I will skip the NG Chanel in the future and will forbid it to my children.
    Good for you!

  8. kevin
    December 19, 2012, 5:25 am

    Gary, you don’t know what your talking about. You expect when a crisis comes that everyone should sing together? Look at what happened in New Orleans. People will kill you for what you have. They’ll kill you even if you have nothing and think you might. This is a good show to tell people that they need to be prepared for problems. If more people prepped, the government would be able to do more. Bringing up the Newton killer is crap! IT did not make him a killer! I’m so sick of people trieing to blame things on shows and items when the clear answer is the people. No where in the show does it say you should go kill people etc. Get a grip!

  9. Mark
    December 21, 2012, 9:23 am

    I too will not be watching the show anymore. I was very put off, by the recommendation and national statement, that it is ok to steal whatever you need to survive. Steal a bike because you haven’t thought about transportation ahead of time??? That would be someone else’s mode of transport. They planned ahead and prepped for the exit of the city. What next.. A show saying it’s okay to loot food, clothes, whatever you didn’t plan ahead for? Yeah, good move Nat Geo…

  10. Kab
    December 26, 2012, 6:54 pm

    I’ve enjoyed watching both seasons of Doomsday Preppers. I don’t always agree with what some of the folks are prepping for or some of the ways they go about it but I learn something from each prepper. If one is serious about prepping for a natural or manmade disaster then they need to do some serious reading and search out the many forums offered online to talk with those who are experenced. I applaud preppers who, for the most part, are simply prepping for what they believe may occur in this country and/or in their region. Most of these folks will be the ones helping the idiots who make fun of them when disaster, in whatever form, strikes.

    Stop and think about it folks. Law enforcement, military, EMTs, etc…do various forms of preparedness training as a part of their respective professions. If you’re not prepping to be self sufficient in case of a natural or manmade disaster then shame on you.

    Look around you. Between weather, economics, war, etc…there’s not a region in a country in any country on the planet that hasn’t had some disaster befall them that could have been handled better if more folks had been prepared.

  11. james vaughan
    Central Connecticut
    December 28, 2012, 2:54 pm

    Great show. Makes you think about your own level of preparadeness and how inadequate it is. For all you holier than thou people who think this is a terrible are losers. You are products of the politically correct band of idiots that needs to go away. Take some personal responsibility and prepare for your own safety…or are you depending on the government (everyone else) to meet your needs? Thou some many of the people showcased here are extreme, yeah that makes people wanna watch it, you can learn a lot from them on taking some basic precautions.

  12. Ian
    January 1, 2013, 6:13 pm

    I’m not a “prepper” in the sense of this show, however I do prepare for disasters (having lived in South Florida for most of my young life, went through many hurricanes).

    I saw this installment today (1 January) and was a little put off by the message that Aton had (steal the bike and other necessities). But the one glaring deficiency I saw was with Margaret Ling’s segment. During her training she broke out an assisted opening pocket knife (looked to have a spring mechanism that allowed one hand opening). While I own one of these and carry it with me most days, I’m pretty sure these are illegal to carry on the streets of NYC. I think Mr. Matan knew that, too, because he too great care to open his knives (and Margaret’s if I’m not mistaken) with both hands. You guys may want to clue Ms. Ling in to this fact before she’s arrested for carrying an illegal weapon.

  13. Comanche TX
    Comanche, TX
    January 1, 2013, 10:03 pm

    We enjoy watching the shows. This episode was frustrating because the power plant shown on the episode was not Indian Point power plant but the one in San Onofre, CA. Maybe it’s a minor point but I believe that the show is going to start to lose credibility if it continues with this behavior.

  14. Stephen
    January 4, 2013, 8:25 pm

    I have seen many of the shows and the #1 element missing is the level of survival fitness. Take the past show where 3 individuals plan their course to escape from NY. What happens when disaster hits in the middle of winter? Not one of those individuals would be physically capable getting out of NY in the dead of winter. Survival Fitness is an ingredient which is not being addressed in the prepper community. I’m not talking about gym strength; I’m speaking of real world strength where one has the ability to execute, perform and physically overcome enviromental obstacles and conditions which are hazardous to one’s well being. Take for instance someone walking from point A to point B, at night, in 8-10 inches of snow, sub freezing temperatures, snow boots, heavy winter coat, gets attacked. The ability to diffuse or eliminate a threat is much different than training in a heated gym with soft padded floors, in your gym clothes after a 20 minute warm up on the life cycle prior to your session. A Survival Conditioning regimen must be trained as much as intelligent preparedness. Training the body as a whole unit, rather than foo-foo isolated exercises on shiney chome machines in the gym, is reality based fitness. The mind set in training is something which must be trained everyday. For many years I have trained civilians, military and first responers on how to physically and mentally prepare for a life threatening situation. This includes physical and mental training as it relates to a crisis scenario. This means to prepare the body, on a daily basis, for immediate action. Learning how to train, perform, execute, solve problems and carry through with a plan under adverse physical conditions will save your life and your family. Knowing this will complete your survival package.

  15. William -Bon -clay doff
    New York NY
    February 20, 2013, 3:21 pm

    I love the show and who ever thinks preparing is stupid I hope no one takes you in .

  16. Laurie
    United States
    March 1, 2013, 1:18 am

    On the “Close the Door, Load the Shotgun” episode, one of the concerns addressed was that of dirty bombs…but the only pictures shown while it was first discussed were of ocean containers that arrive at shipping ports. That is most likely not the location they can attack. My father is an engineer that developed a portable device 10 years ago, to detect radioactivity for the purpose of preventing dirty bomb attacks via our shipping ports and other places. The attack is more likely to occur just across the northern or southern border of the U.S. So the border towns are the most at risk. JFYI.

  17. The Crimson Avengers Left Nut
    March 9, 2013, 10:11 pm

    Prepping is going from a cottage industry to big business! Pranoia indeed, and a lot of people are capitalizing on it, from gun and ammo makers to magazine publishers to food makers and seed retailers ! This is most likely a billion plus dollar a year industry. However, it would be prudent to have some food stuffs beyond 72 hours.BTW, If you want to survive, don’t live in the human cesspool known as New York! I bet even Mayor Bloomberg has an escape plan! He will simply fly away in his private aircraft while being protected by his armed security staff! He will not be left behind with the rest of the turds floating in the human cesspool…

  18. Mooky
    May 30, 2013, 11:43 pm

    I actually love the show. While i think the people they put on the show go to the extreme, we are living in a time where we each do need to give thought to preparedness in the event of a disaster of one kind or another. As evidenced by Hurricane Sandy. Look at how many people were unprepared or just didnt heed the warnings of officials. How many people do you know were without food, water, gas, etc.
    Fortunately i worked upstate, so i was not affected as much as those who don’t. I was able to make daily trips back and forth to bring down gas and other supplies to my family and any friends that let me know they were in need. No one who contacted me had to stand on multiple block long lines waiting for gas. Those that needed asistance, got it. Mostly becuase i had prepared a long time ago. I make it a habit to NEVER let my tank go below 1/4. I also had four 5 gal gas cans sitting at my house. Every car at my house runs and i do my best to keep them all in good condition. The majority of them all are sitting at the house with a full to half full tank.

    That was something i learned from the show. A side effcet of the show that came in handy was power. My house lost power, but in my trucks, i had two power converters and i was able to run power inside my house for several days. I could not power everything in the house and all the generators in all the neighboring hardware stores were taken. I used one truck to run the deep freezer and the oven. I used the other truck to run lights and the computer and the water in the house. but all this was thanks to watching these shows and giving thought to what would happen to me and my family in the event that something did happen. 9-11 taught me that.
    9-11 should have been a wake up call to us all that, if something like that could happen here, what would you do? Are you and your family prepared in the event that something unexpected happens? What do you do? Do you have a plan? The government for years has been telling you to get prepared, but we as Americans believe that nothing bad can ever happen to us.

    That is why other countries take advantage of us. We are naive and that may one day be our downfall. I don’t want my kids to fall prey to that. The one thing a Boy Scout is always told is to be prepared. The military says expect the best, but plan for the worst. These are motto’s that those people live by, but they just take it to the next level. We all should live by their example and have some degree of preparedness. Besides, HOW CAN YOU GIVE SOMEONE A HELPING HAND IF YOU AT FIRST DO NOT HAVE IT YOURSELF. “An empty well quinches no thirst.”

  19. Joe Merica
    New York, NY
    March 26, 2015, 12:29 pm

    What a load of crap!!!! Just because Nat Geo says you should steal other peoples stuff in a time of crisis does not mean that this is what you should actually do. It’s television and what do you think a lawless person with no morals would fo? Obviously stesl! But if you think that stealing someones stuff during a time of crisis would make anything better for you then you are no better than all of those guys who because they are poor and misfortunate turned to drug dealing and mugging and are now locked up in prison. Don’t buy into the NatGeo scientology motivated propaganda that will make you crazy and waste your life and money.