Two weeks before Sandy, engineers placed man-made dunes along the coast of Brooklyn. “If Sandy had happened three weeks before when it did, we would have lost the Belt Parkway.” READ MORE
Three months after Sandy hit, we’re interested in your feelings about the recovery. Are you optimistic? Pessimistic? Neutral? We’re collecting people’s thoughts, and are tracking them by zip code, to see where people fall on the spectrum — and whether geography plays a role in everyone’s perspective.
New Yorkers weren’t the only ones monitoring Sandy in the week before Halloween. A Georgia contractor was tracking the storm closely as it made its way north toward Lower Manhattan where his potential clients’ commercial buildings sat doomed to flood.
By the time Sandy was ready to hit the area on Oct. 29, Peter Hajjar and several of his employees at Reliable Restoration were parked outside Philadelphia waiting to move.
As soon as the storm passed they sped to the Financial District and began pumping out the flooded buildings.
In less than two months Hajjar and his Atlanta-based company, which specializes in repairing storm damage, billed commercial building owners for $4 million worth of work.
“Typically an area in a region when it’s hit with a storm this size, there are never enough resources or people or brainpower for management to run the jobs and so companies are called in from around the country to help out,” Hajjar said. “We were one of those companies.”
His experience highlights a simple economic fact: one person’s disaster is another’s opportunity. CONTINUED.
Follow along with Amy Pearl and Janet Babin as they make their way from Cape May to Montauk to check in on coastal communities three months after Sandy. At each stop, they’ll share photos and stories of people they meet.
Hurricane marks the
beginning of a vulnerable era
On October 29, Earth’s full moon brought tides to their highest levels in New York harbor.
Fatefully, on the same evening, a tropical cyclone, Sandy, slammed into the coast. Hard rain and 80mph wind pushed the churning East River over its banks, inundating the canyons of downtown Manhattan, The Rockaways, Staten island, Red Hook, and Coney Island.
In 24 hours, the city remapped itself. Drowned subways returned to primordial underground waterways, prompting the MTA to issue revised maps of a disturbing new topography. The dark-zone of lower Manhattan stood dully against the light of the city, its precincts emptied out. New neighborhoods emerged in evacuation centers. Overnight, the seamless flow of people, capital, and information faced the isolated reality of island geography.
At worst, these dislocations have had mournful consequences: businesses, homes, people were erased in the flood. Thousands in Brooklyn and Staten island are still without power, even as Manhattan shudders back to life. Yet, we recognize that dislocation also reframes, challenging our understanding of the old condition.
We urge our readers to help with the effort not just to return, but to renew and rethink this city’s way of life in what is likely to be a new era of extreme weather:
Donate to the Red Cross
Volunteer through Occupy Sandy
Newark Superfund site - where they made Agent Orange - flooded by Sandy.
What’s in those flood waters, New Jersey?
Meet Team Rubicon, military veterans and post-crisis first responders active in Far Rockaway, Queens following Hurricane Sandy.
This series of images from the U.S. Geological Survey documents coastal erosion in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The yellow arrows indicate the same point on each image.
Images documenting the storm’s impact on the New Jersey coastline are here.
Mitik, New York City’s new baby walrus is safe - but the New York Aquarium is in jeopardy. All of its basements were flooded and electrical equipment was fried. It’s closed indefinitely. The story, via our work with Tumblr.
The Veledos have waited at a Hess station in Gowanus, Brooklyn, every morning since Sandy walloped the region. On some days, that can mean waiting in line more than four hours. “We need to drive to help our family,” said Nelida, 42, of Bushwick. Two members of her family lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy. http://wny.cc/PXf7J3
The subway comes back, in GIF.
Since Sandy left town, we’ve been downloading MTA subway-recovery maps to feed WNYC’s Changing Trains map. Our Steve Melendez put them together in a time-lapse GIF. Click through to the full-size image.