(in Kips Bay, formerly SoPo, on 2nd Avenue at 34th Street)
Power is back on for most of Manhattan, but big sections of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island are still dark, not to mention Westchester County, Long Island, and New Jersey. As the effects of Sandy stretch on, and as the nights get colder, this is going to cause more and more hardship. And so much cleaning and taking stock remains to be done. My health is still crap at the moment (plus there are still no working subways near me), so I can’t get out to help Red Hook, Dumbo, Coney Island, Staten Island, Breezy Point, the Rockaways, or any of the other hardest-hit neighborhoods, but I’ll be giving a couple of small donations (I wish I could afford more) to help those whose lives have been knocked sideways by the storm. If you’d like to help but aren’t able to volunteer, here are a few suggestions:
…and there are loads of other places. Feel free to put suggestions in the comments.
The storm didn’t affect me in any major way — the worst of it is that the lack of subways here has made it tough for me to get around. Getting into work on Thursday & Friday was a challenge, and that probably won’t change for the next week. Really, though, I am very lucky — I’m unhurt, my apartment is fine, my electricity and gas haven’t gone out (heat’s been barely working, but that’s nothing to do with the storm), even the internet has been up and running throughout.
Coming home from work on Thursday, I walked about an hour south into the neighborhood jokingly referred to as SoPo (SOuth of POwer) — and nearly got stuck there when the line for the East River ferry ballooned to hundreds more people than the ferries could carry. On the way down, though, it was heartening to see so many signs of civility in the battered neighborhoods still without power at that point. Clover Deli, for one, was serving hot chocolate and coffee (though they rolled down the gates just before I took this picture since the sun was setting). Other businesses kept operating by candlelight. Street lights were out, and while traffic police had been dispatched to the largest intersections and traffic was relatively light, it was amazing to see and experience how well cars, bicycles, and pedestrians could negotiate the other intersections just by being civil. The rhythm of the city pulses on and New Yorkers find a way. It really is the MacGuyver of cities — we will take stock of what we have and what what needs to be done, and somehow we will connect the dots.
Uptown near my work seeing some of the first neon signs I photographed for this project still alight, undamaged, was really heartening. Yes, it was the lucky NoPo neighborhood, but just to see that some things were still aglow even though half the skyline was dark, gave me hope.
My heart goes out to everyone still suffering, and to those who have lost family or friends. I hope this disaster motivates us to put things right and rebuild better and brighter everything that was destroyed.