after the storm


Like many New Yorkers, I’ve been engrossed in the media coverage following Hurricane Sandy. My heart has sunk more each day, as each new piece of news brings a fuller picture of the damage and destruction left behind. The area was hit with a nor’easter right after the storm, and though last weekend brought a brief respite from the cold, temperatures have continued to drop, and more rain is expected today. For those still in the thick of piecing their lives back together, it must feel completely overwhelming.

Two weeks after the storm, co-workers are still trickling back in to my midtown office, sharing their stories and the stories of those close to them who were affected. The office itself was closed for nearly a week, sustaining damage after a corner-office window blew out, taking down ceiling tiles and spewing glass, water, and debris all around. Some friends and co-workers were without power or heat or both for a week or more, some of them with pets or small children. Others find themselves harboring friends or family who have lost everything. It’s heartbreaking and sobering.

Personally, we were lucky – we had wind and rain, but we never lost power, only briefly lost our cable internet, and the biggest challenges we faced were a few days of screwy commutes, trying to avoid downed trees and tree limbs in the neighborhood, and keeping Julian from going completely stir-crazy while we were homebound in the days immediately after the storm. We have absolutely nothing to complain about and so very much to be grateful for.

So many have lost so much, and the road to recovery looks to be a long one. Thanksgiving is a little over a week away, and thereafter, the days and weeks will blur as we move through the December holidays. My heart breaks to think of those New Yorkers whose holidays will never be the same, and I sincerely hope that they won’t be forgotten in the weeks and months ahead.

There are already some terrific wrap-ups of who is doing what toward the relief effort and how you can help, but I’d like to throw a few more links out there:

First, I’ve been incredibly inspired by what people in all corners of our dear city have done in these last two weeks, how they’ve organized and mobilized and have Gotten Shit Done while FEMA and the Red Cross have been, from many reports, largely MIA. Ben Heemskerk of The Castello Plan in our neighborhood has been particularly active in commandeering the troops around here and sending caravans of buses loaded with food and supplies out to communities in need.

And as you well know, we here at LND are big softies when it comes to the fuzzy creatures of the world. I was heartsick to read about the devastation many stray/feral cat colonies experienced in storm-damaged waterfront communities. The folks from North Brooklyn Cats, Neighborhood Cats, and the SI Feral Initiative, Inc. continue to do heroic work to care for these animals, often at great personal expense.

Finally, there is the Occupy movement. Their swift and focused response has taken my breath away, and I think their use of Amazon’s gift registry is simply brilliant.

If you’re still looking for a way to help, maybe you could send these folks, and those they’re working so hard to help, a little love.

[We’ll be back to the food here soon, I hope, with an update on our first 12 Months | 12 Dishes project… I’ve just had a hard time summoning up the enthusiasm to write about cooking with everything that’s going on in our beloved New York. We sincerely hope you and yours are safe, warm, dry, and well.]