11-10-12 Midland Beach, New Dorp Beach, Staten Island – Post Sandy/ Post Athena

9:00 AM gathering of volunteers

130 members of the Friends Seminary community (with help from many other members who cooked amazing amounts of food and provided a massive quantity of supplies) went to Staten Island today to help in the disaster relief efforts in Midland Beach and New Dorp Beach.

The “Chuck Wagon” or supply bus

We chose this particular community because Friends is partnering with PS 52 – an Elementary School which is displaced from their building and lost their library – and these areas are their community.

We were working with two organizations that have been on the ground since early on in the relief effort. A local catering company, Ariana’s Catering, has turned a small party hall into a collection center, food distribution center and all around comfort zone.

We the People, Feed The People

A motorcycle club,  The Hallowed Sons, came in the first day and have never left. They are a collection center, they make food on site and feed both residents and volunteers, and they coordinate volunteers to help residents remove debris and their destroyed possessions from their homes.

I saw some FEMA and some National Guard presence but no Red Cross in the area I was in. My belief is that without Ariana’s and The Hallowed Sons and other local groups, this disaster zone would be in a state of total collapse.

Approximately 1250 feet from the shoreline

Doing homework where you can

I saw too many people break down in tears today and be much too grateful for the little help we could provide.

I heard people whose homes were destroyed  say: “we could use the help but my neighbor needs it more than I do.”

I saw way too much black mold, too many destroyed homes, too many lives placed on the street, waiting for sanitation to come and cart away the container that held a child’s first tooth, the album that had the only pictures of long gone parents, the sofa bought with that first promotion.

I do have to give a shout out to the police, the fire department and especially the New York City Sanitation Department. Everyone I spoke to talked about how sanitation was always there, working through horrendous strain and removing everything on the street from moldy boxes to destroyed ranges, to beds and music cabinets.

To put this in perspective, this is one small community in New York City. There are many, way too many, more in Brooklyn, Queens, and in parts of Manhattan, and that is before I even mention Long Island or the Jersey Shore, Hoboken,  and on and on.  This clean up and repair is not going to be a matter of weeks or even months, but of years.  My home needs all the help it can get.

Occupy Sandy Relief NYC

I read something from a New Orleans blogger today and strongly recommend reading it. It is worth your while.

New Orleans Slate

10-30-12 Luck

This was/is a really bad storm.  As always in these situations some were lucky/fortunate and some were not. We fall into the lucky category.  Yes, there were very high winds and much rain in NYC, but in the end the issue was the storm surge.  We live on one of the highest points on Manhattan Island.  That is luck, not planning. We had several neighborhoods we considered after Abigail was born.  If the right apartment had appeared we might be evacuated or without electricity and with severe damage in our apartment or house. Of course, even those people are lucky.  Breezy Point, 80 (eighty!) houses burned to the ground, around the city, houses collapsing, cranes collapsing, patients needing evac from a hospital… random chance where you are at what time.  If we had not had the warnings from the Government weather satellites, this could have been much worse. As it is, repairs will run into the billions of dollars and  Atlantic City, much of New Jersey, Long island, Connecticut, suffered equally.  They cannot predict when the subway system will be back, so no idea when the kids go back to school or people can go back to work. No idea when they will get the power back on in downtown Manhattan, or on parts of Staten island, Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx.

8 hours before Sandy hit land – which happened at 8pm almost exactly at high tide and with a full moon – …

I was down at the river. The tide was ebbing…

The picture below is hardly the best picture I have ever taken but it shows how far the water overflowed the banks.  The fence in the background is the fence in the previous picture.  This is easily 100 feet and again I emphasize that we had it very easy.

They have closed all the City parks until further notice , probably because of this sort of thing.

The parks are closed but that doesn’t stop us…

I, again, want to thank everyone for their concern and notes. My family and I are fine. My city is not.