hurricane sandy

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Five Years After Sandy, Marchers Flood LES to Protest Storm Response

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York. Five years later, advocacy groups and residents assembled to voice objections to how elected officials have responded to both the storm and the looming threat of climate change. On Saturday, hundreds representing organizations from around the country marched from downtown Brooklyn to Manhattan, in a protest called Sandy 5.

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Five Years After Sandy, Artists and Activists Still See ‘A Really Big Problem’

A rendering of Sen. Schumer inside the warehouse. Photo by Diego Lynch.

With the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy happening this Sunday, artists and activists are preparing for the “Sandy 5,” a rally to urge New York’s elected officials to promote renewable energy, deal with unresolved damage, and prepare the boroughs for future storms.

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Pike St. Hits Close to Home, at the Intersection of Inequality and Natural Disaster

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Image courtesy of the Abrons Arts Center

Center stage, Nilaja Sun’s limbs are twisted into a pretzel as the audience files in for “Pike St.,” her one-woman show currently running at the Abrons Art Center on the Lower East Side. Snippets from radio and television broadcasts warble and blend into each other, as though they’re being heard underwater. Within this small theater, we’re put in the claustrophobic mindset of this solitary character, a teenage girl named Candace, who is wheelchair-bound and trapped – not only on the fifth floor of her LES tenement building as a megastorm á la Sandy approaches, but also in her own mind.

Having once been a star student, Candace is severely brain-damaged, and cannot breathe unaided, talk, feed or wash herself. But, her mother Evelyn insists, she’s still in there, and will one day make a miraculous recovery to fulfill her calling as a Congresswoman.

It’s through Evelyn that we learn about Candi’s larger-than-life Puerto Rican family and their lives on Pike Street, in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge. We meet Papi, Candi’s philandering grandfather, and Manny, Evelyn’s brother newly returned from Afghanistan. We meet the eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Applebaum, who tells anyone who will listen to “stop and smell the pickles.” Through their conversations we become acquainted with Evelyn’s late mother, who had a god-given gift for healing and ran a neighborhood botanica – a folk medicine store that sells religious candles and herbal remedies.

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Go Ahead, Tell the City What Its $335M Waterfront Protection Should Look Like

(Photo: Jaime Cone)

(Photo: Jaime Cone)

About a year ago, we shared eight renderings that showed what a substantially more flood-proof Lower East Side waterfront might look like. If you have strong opinions about which of those options might work better in preventing another Hurricane Sandy from devastating the neighborhood, now’s the time to speak up.
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How Red Hook Winery Turned Flood Water Into Wine

DSC00057Twenty One: Twenty Four. The name stands out in neat, clean type on the wine bottle’s black label. It refers to the military time (9:24 p.m.) when Superstorm Sandy surged, wiping out Red Hook Winery.

The 2010 red wine comes from one of the few barrels that were not destroyed or compromised on Oct. 29, 2012, when Hurricane Sandy’s 17-foot surge crashed over Pier 41, where Red Hook Winery is located.
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Two Years After Sandy, The Future of Sunny’s Bar Is Cloudy

Sunny and sculpture. (Photo: Christina Cipriano)

Sunny and sculpture. (Photo: Christina Cipriano)

As Hurricane Sandy slammed into Red Hook, Tone Balzano Johansen was in the basement of Sunny’s, moving booze and supplies to potentially dryer places. Suddenly, the sea broke through an above-ground window. “It all came in like a Hollywood shot,” she said. “It was really quiet, then it’s just an explosion.”

Johansen, who owns the bar with her husband Sunny Balzano, dropped everything and rushed upstairs, where she threw all of her artwork onto her bed and waited for the flood to stop. When it was over, more than six feet of water stood in the basement.
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Near Joey Ramone Way, De Blasio Touts First 100 Days As ‘Rockaway Beach’ Plays

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Today while the rest of us were celebrating Stephen Colbert’s succession of David Letterman, Mayor Bill de Blasio was celebrating himself. Specifically, his first 100 days in office, which he marked in a speech at Cooper Union’s Great Hall.

Students of the college brought back the red “Free Education To All” banner that made several appearances during the doomed two-year battle to keep Cooper Union tuition-free. It didn’t last long.
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These 8 Images Show What a Stronger, Sexier LES Waterfront Might Look Like

What the East River Park would look like with an added berm and moved bike path.

One vision for the future of East River Park. (Renderings courtesy of Rebuild by Design).

The East River waterfront is in for a dramatic transformation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Today, several visions of just what that transformation might look like were presented at a standing room-only meeting led by Rebuild By Design, a project of President Obama’s taskforce to rebuild the city after Sandy.
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Knickerbocker Village Just Scored $1.46M in Sandy Relief

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

Only a few short weeks after both tenants and public officials expressed mounting frustration over delays in disaster relief funds to help Knickerbocker Village recover from Sandy’s onslaught a year ago, the city announced today that it would provide $1.46 million in federal money from the NYC Build It Back program to finance the first phase of repairs. Keep Reading »

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This Rockaway Restaurant Just Bounced Back With a Name That Spells Optimism

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Despite the flip-flops, Chris Miles had clearly come to his restaurant to work. He wore a pair of frayed camouflage shorts and a white “Connelly’s Rockaway Beach 2013” t-shirt that was peppered with holes, slightly exposing his tan skin. As he sat in a dining room full of unwrapped furniture, contractors worked diligently, installing new lights and booths in the bar area. The room was electric with determination.

On Oct. 17, nearly a year to the day that Sandy wiped out his seafood restaurant on Beach 129th Street, Miles and his business partner Bill Keating reopened the business as Pico, a Mexican eatery. It’s been a long time coming. A year ago, Sandy took dead aim at the neighborhood of Belle Habor, and filled Rockaway Seafood Co. with three feet of ocean. The storm’s massive tidal swells caused an electrical short and sparked a fire around 130th Street. While the fire didn’t consume the entirety of Miles’s business, it did kiss the rear of the building, burning out a storage room and a 15 by 20 foot section of the roof.
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When Bellevue Had to Evacuate Its Criminally Insane

Water gushing out of a pump during Bellevue's evacuation on Nov. 1. (Photo: Sheri Fink)

Water gushing out of a pump during Bellevue’s evacuation on Nov. 1. (Photo: Sheri Fink)

Four days after Hurricane Sandy, Bellevue Hospital was without power and running water and people were starting to panic. “It’s Bellevue, we’re used to crisis,” says Dr. Elizabeth Ford, “but this was different. I don’t think I’ve ever panicked in my life but I was starting to worry that we wouldn’t get out.”

As director of forensic psychiatry at the Kips Bay hospital, Dr. Ford oversees criminals who suffer from major psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and usually psychosis. The majority come from Rikers Island when they’re suffering from a medical complication.
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