Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

We are very fortunate.  On Monday our city was hit by what may be the worst natural disaster it's ever seen, and our home was barely touched.  A skylight above the building's stairwell was damaged, but I believe that was it. Our trees stayed up through the pounding wind, and, despite the many flickers, our power stayed on.  Our neighborhood, for the most part, was spared. The tree to the right is the worst damage I've seen on the streets, though nearby Prospect Park was hit hard (some 300 trees gone).  No subway service for several days and the lack of gasoline have made our lives a little inconvenient, but it's nothing compared to the grief many in our city are experiencing right now.  So many have lost their homes or loved ones, and hundreds of thousands are braving the cold November nights without power. 

As many in our neighborhood have been saying, we're living in a bubble right now.  Outside of the minor hardships, life here is basically back to normal.  We even had trick-or-treating on Wednesday as if nothing happened.  Yet, in Breezy Point, Queens, a mere twenty-minute drive from here, there are people digging through the charred remains of 100+ homes that were incinerated.  Some have lost everything and are trying to figure out just how to make it through the week.  When those homes burned Monday night, we could smell the smoke.  That's how close we are to the devastation, and yet, everything here is fine.

We have some friends who own a home in Breezy Point, but they say it wasn't involved in the fire.  Some of our other friends have lost power, but, for the most part, they are all okay.  Thank God.  New York City is coming back, too.  Subway lines are now starting to work again (in fact, today we took our first train since the storm), and lower Manhattan, which had been in the dark last week, is glowing again.  Best of all, this community is coming together to help those in need.  On Facebook, Twitter, and online discussion groups, people are asking how they can help.  Some volunteer stations have been overwhelmed by donations.  Those who have gas in their cars are driving to the troubled areas to deliver food, clothing, and other needed items, such as batteries and flashlights.  Go to a supermarket, as I did yesterday, and you'll see people walking down the aisles, figuring out what to buy for those in need.  I saw a mother instruct her sons to look for economical supplies so they can get the most out of the money they raised to help.  There's no doubt that New York will recover from this, and that's because the people here care for each other.  We love our neighbors.

The city has also been blessed with help from those outside our community.  I figure some of my readers have been wanting to help, but might not know how.  So here are a few links to websites with information on disaster relief:

http://www.heresparkslope.com/home/2012/11/2/a-round-up-of-local-ways-to-help-sandy-victims.html

https://www.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/donate/donate.shtml

http://www.redcross.org/

You can also text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.  Some of the most sought-after items cost less than $10, so even a small donation will help tremendously.  Together, we will recover.  Thanks so much for your help.