SANDY STORIES

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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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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. More →

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When Bellevue Had to Evacuate Its Criminally Insane

Water gushing out of a pump during Bellevue

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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Sandy Really Rang Their Bell, But These Coney Island Carnies Are Standing Tall

Jeff Fish and Monica Ghee in front of the Hi-Striker. (Photo: Jessica)

Jeff Fish and Monica Ghee in front of the Hi-Striker. (Photo: Jessica Militare)

Monica Ghee keeps an apartment on the Lower East Side, but during the summer you’ll find her in the shadow of the Wonder Wheel in her native Coney Island, where for over 40 years she has operated the Hi~Striker, a test-your-strength game invented in the early 1900s. Patrons whack a mallet against a base, propelling a dinger up a 17-foot, yellow steel tower. Ghee has aptly labeled each checkpoint — “Sad Sack” at the lowly level seven, and “Oy Vey” at the close-but-no-cigar level 13.
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After Sandy, Jazz Musicians Really Banded Together

BruceMackIn the days after Hurricane Sandy darkened the Lower East Side, an old man played horn inside his dark, cold apartment, hungry for his favorite food: chicken. Then, unexpectedly, knuckles rapped at his door. It was four volunteers from the Jazz Foundation of America, and they had warm food and clothing.

Tears welled up in the man’s eyes. “Who are you? And, I love you,” he said.
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Sunny’s and Steve’s Are Back, But Red Hook Is Still Smarting From Sandy

The new location of Steve

The new location of Steve’s Key Lime Pies.

Steve Tarpin remembers the night that Hurricane Sandy destroyed his beloved Red Hook bakery, Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. “By 6 p.m. the water was lapping up at my feet,” he recalls. “And we were still three hours away from high tide… I came back around 2:30 a.m., and had to drive through a fair bit of water. Took a quick look and realized there was absolutely nothing I could do. Came back in the morning, we were about three feet underwater.”
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