As New Yorkers, our day-to-day lives are full of honking cars, bumps on the sidewalk and a litany of curse words. It’s enough to make someone jaded. Every so often, something happens that wakes us out of our mundane routines. It shakes us to the core, threatens the fabric of our city, but we always emerge from it stronger.
On the Friday before the storm I, like most New Yorkers, thought Sandy would resemble Irene — a lot of panic for some gusts and a few inches of water. But after the storm hit and we saw the news reports (not on television, we lost power) it was heartbreaking to see the devastation and destruction. Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways all saw damage beyond our comprehension. As I write this, none of these neighborhoods have power. It has been 12 days.
While the storm may have damaged property and destroyed basements, it could not break our resolve. The amount of support I have seen for those affected by the storm has been overwhelming. Within 48 hours of the Sandy leaving, my office was flooded with donations from Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, along with people from Connecticut, New Jersey and other states calling to volunteer. We ran food, clothes, blankets and batteries — anything you could think of — to those affected. People came to my office with no car and no supplies, just looking to help out any way they could. I’d like to offer my thanks to everyone who pitched in. Locally, I’d personally like to thank the Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol, the Glendale Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the Glendale Kiwanis Club, the Legacy Center, the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, Zum Stammtisch Restaurant, the Teamsters, the Brooklyn Kitchen and all the other organizations that did their part. These organizations brought supplies and transportation vehicles to aid those that were affected. Additionally, hundreds of individuals stepped up to help those in need.
While we are still focusing on immediate needs of power and heat, we should take an important lesson from this storm: we are all family. Even if someone is honking at you in rush hour traffic, know that the person shouting curses is your brother or sister. Know that this person will come to your aid whenever you need it, and they know you would do the same. We are tested time and time again, and New Yorkers never fail.