Well, it’s pretty obvious that sandy has taken quite the toll on our city, but the sad truth is, people don’teven know HALF the damage sandy has really done. For the first time in a while i finally turned on the news to try and keep updated on what was going on. I saw tragedy struck many places,…
Hurricane Sandy seemed to sneak up on us a bit. We heard about it only a few days before it hit New York but we honestly didn’t think it would affect us all that much. We certainly didn’t start to consider Claire and Jon who were staying with us would have their flight cancelled.
There was the…
So walked to work all week to avoid the gas issue. My work still doesn’t have power my home just got it this morning. Nothing was damaged in my home or at work. No lives were lost and we took in some evacuated patients. I went in on Monday and Tuesday to help out with Tech work. Everyone was very…
We lost power a little after 6pm on Monday, still got nothing. Luckily I have a stock pile of candles and flashlights to keep me going. I’m currently shacked up at Dougs for the weekend, he got his power back Tuesday night. The only things that are concerning me are:
1) This whole fucking gas…
Roxbury, NY | November 1, 2012 John Lennon, 85, mourns over the loss and destruction of his neighborhood for over 80 years. “I’ve never been to the Statue of Liberty, I’ve never been to the Empire State Building… This was my home… And now [rebuilding] will take years. I don’t know what we are gonna do.” #photography #photojournalism #documentary #mobilephotography #rockaway #roxbury #nyc #sandy #hurricanesandy (at Roxbury, NY)
Staten Island, NY | November 2, 2012 Esther and her dog Pinky (center) look for clothes and food at an impromptu donation center set up by Staten Island residents and the Joseph Anthony Verdino Jr Field of Dreams Foundation. Many Staten Islanders feel their borough is being overlooked and ignored by authorities. #photography #photojournalism #documentary #mobilephotography #statenisland #nyc #sandy #hurricanesandy (at Midland Beach Board Walk)
Day 1, New York City, Breezy Point, The Rockaways, Queens
Dear CK and GH,
After spending time driving around and visiting communities in the Rockaways, I have decided to leave town, drive south towards Florida, hopefully through Staten Island, and visit more communities in Jersey and keep on going until I come to terms with a thought process about our epoch and about finding safe haven.
Shooting pictures in Breezy Point and in Far Rockaway was transformational, a deep experience. The devastation is on such a scale, the pain is on such a scale, that I really have a feeling of having entered into another dimension. Also, these people are alone with the exception of the firemen and police. They’ve been abandoned. FEMA only showed up on the third day. No Red Cross to be seen, and in the case of Far Rockaway, a storm like Sandy is bad, but if you’re poor and destitute like those people living in SRO hotels, it’s horrific.
I have to say that in twelve years, to have shot pictures at 9/11 downtown, and again downtown in 2008 when the financial system collapsed, and now, is intense: big city, big tragedies, and a sense of having entered into a different period of history.
New York is great. New Yorkers are incredible. Their resilience, their kindness, and their toughness are unequaled, but we are talking here about huge events. Despite the fact that I feel a little bit like Fabrice del Dongo at Waterloo, and that I know that I’ve seen nothing, or only a small fragment of what’s happening, we are after all talking about big numbers: 8 million people without power, a total cost of the storm estimated at 20 billion dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives disrupted, and I intuit that we are again at a tipping point in history.
9/11 was a tipping point. Two wars costing trillions of dollars. Lives in the hundreds of thousands. A polarization of the world and a new construct to our historical angst. 2008: the collapse of the financial market (most probably also triggered by the wars mentioned above, which cost 3 trillion and counting), cost 12 trillion dollars. An estimated 14 million homes foreclosed since 2008. 12 million people unemployed in the U.S.
At the time, “the day of,” none of us knew what was to come after. The consequences, costs, and pains endured. And after the storm we have again entered into a no-mans land of history. We are in the fog of history. We don’t know what is to come.
In any French train station, there is a sign that says “Beware one train might hide another one,” and if the last twelve years are testimony to that, it’s definitely true in history as well. So I don’t know what’s going to hit us now. I don’t know if and when and where we’ll be safe. I’ve included a few pictures to give you a sense of the situation in the Rockaways and if I can I’ll send you some more as I keep driving down, and I keep an eye on a dream that may be about to disappear.
P.S. I am sorry, my brain, like that of many other people I suspect, has stopped working. I am literally not together anymore.
Staten Island, NY | November 2, 2012 Mughal Fahad takes a break from cleaning out all that remains of his worldly possessions from a first floor apartment that was completely flooded during the hurricane Sandy storm surge. Newly wed, Fahad and his wife are now staying with relatives in Brooklyn. #photography #photojournalism #documentary #mobilephotography #nyc #statenisland #sandy #hurricanesandy (at Fr. Capodanno Blvd)
I spent the day on the Rockaways and in Breezypoint with the Yesmen. I’ve been in a lovely Williamsburg bubble since the storm, but today I saw some of the real impact. On the way to the shore, the lines to the few gas stations that had fuel were miles long and confounding traffic in all directions. Police were involved to direct traffic, but also to help control the volatile tempers. People had been waiting in parked cars for several hours on a rumor that gas would arrive at the station soon.
Once we got to breezy point, literally hundreds of houses – people’s homes- were collapsed or torqued beyond recognition. The water wrenched them from their cinderblock foundations and floated them yards –or even as much as a block- away. Sometimes they landed on other homes, or on porches or on cars. Hundreds of two story houses burned to their cinderblock foundations, presumably from ignited gaslines that ripped open during the storm. The absolute only remaining materials from a lifetime in these structures were those things made of steel or cement. (It smelled like VCU’s foundry when we were doing a Styrofoam burnout – melted metal and burnt wood and dirt and lots of toxic.) On the houses closest to the ones that burnt, stripes of aluminum siding melted and sagged into droopy sashes. Someone wrote “the Rockaways will survive” in the soot on the side of a pick-up truck.
Further west, there are blocks and blocks and blocks where everything people owned is piled up on the sidewalk in 5 foot high mounds of broken,wet rubbish. A dirty waterline smudges their houses at least 4 feet off the ground. Formerly grassy yards have 2 feet of sand on them. Along the beach the whole boardwalk was ripped off the cement pylons during the storm and the planks have since been bulldozed into gigantic, building-high piles. The pylons remain, lined up for a mile in either direction. It’s a Planet of the Apes kind of landscape. Walking across a beachside cement handball court is like jumping across boulders in a stream – the landscape drops and rises with such variation; it has nothing to do with flat. And giant clams – as big as the entirety of my open hand – litter the beach.
There are at least two huge condominiums full of many old people with no power and no elevator and the stores nearby are all out of everything anyway. And the subway isn’t going anywhere near here for some time. Thankfully, Occupy has set up several support stations and are distributing dried goods and clothes and batteries. Greenpeace has a mobile solar-powered station set up, where they’re providing hot meals and blankets, paper towels and toilet paper. We helped unload a few truckfuls of donations from endlessly generous New Yorkers, which was amazing. And the people on the receiving end were so completely grateful – desperately in need of batteries and candles and blankets. The temperature dropped after the storm, and they’ve got no heat in those buildings.
I don’t have a tv. Is this on the news?
I’m going to be at Wayfarers tomorrow and Sunday, 12-6. If you want to bring blankets (new ones only - there is a well-founded concern about bedbugs), batteries, or candles, Monday morning I’ll take them directly to the supply stations, or the condo where the old folks needed stuff. Pretty sure I have enough gas to get there and back, but hopefully the fuel situation will improve by then.
p.s. Photos don’t do it. I’ve seen lots of them, but too much is lost in the scale shift. This video gets at it a little; that swaying thing acting like a plumb bob in the background – the only true vertical in sight - is the chandelier in someone’s now splayed open living room.