I've been out in the Rockaways the past couple days & just want to get a few notes down. I've been working with Occupy Sandy, or sometimes just walking down blocks & asking if people need help (pretty much everyone does). We've demoed basements & hauled warped furniture, sopping clothes, ruined cassette tapes, & rusted weight benches — the detritus that piles up over the course of a life — out to the curb.
The boardwalk is gone & chunks of it litter the streets, which lay under a layer of sand. Military vehicles & helicopters constantly hum around the pennisula. Cars ended up in places they could never have been parked. Someone scrawled "FUCK SANDY" on a basement wall & another resident wrote a note on a handball wall:
1 - WHERE IS OUR HOSPITAL?
2 - JOHN CORI WARNED YOU! DEMAND THE SAND. SHAME ON YOU!!
3 - GO XXXXX OR NO USA
John Cori, who began Friends of Rockaway Beach, organized rallies over the past few years to draw attention to the eroding beach & aging boardwalk. Looking around now, it seems that he may have been right. But what is the word that got crossed out?
It's been depressing & completely exhausting, but I've also met amazing & generous people each day. The area will be rebuilt, but for the time being, everyone is just trying to make it to tomorrow.
A big thank you goes out to Occupy Sandy, whose thousands of volunteers have done a superb job of filling in the major gaps that government & charity orgs have missed — mostly getting volunteers into areas & homes that need immediate assistance.
I know thousands of images of the area have already been published, but here are a few I took around Beach 108th Street on Monday & Beach 92nd Street on Tuesday.