Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sandy Reflections from a New Yorker

Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast extremely hard, probably harder than people expected. When the storm hit, I was at Lehigh, and I had no idea how serious the damage would be to my home city of New York. Hours after I woke up the morning after the storm hit, pictures of the flood damage and such invaded my Facebook newsfeed and Twitter timeline. Photos of flooded subway stations and tunnels had me worried, and I wondered how my neighborhood in Manhattan was faring. As a New Yorker, I have always thought of New York as a place that was indestructible. Even as a child, watching movies like Godzilla gave me the idea that New York could never be brought to shambles.  I've always had this idea that no matter what happened, New York would always pick itself up because of its inhabitants. The tragedy that was 9/11 proved it, and Sandy was no different. In both situations, I was lucky enough to not lose any loved ones.
The weekend after Sandy hit, I was able to go out to Rockaway Beach, Queens to help out some extended family. My aunt's neighborhood got hit really bad, and the place looks like a wasteland. Garbage in the street, downed trees everywhere, burned homes, and sand mountains 15 feet high. Post-Sandy Rockaway was a warzone, and I've just never seen so many people who looked so down and out. A woman who's husband was in the hospital with a hip problem seemed to be telling her story to everyone that walked by. She was trying to clear out her front yard and basement, but she kept telling her story to others. Between neighbors, American Red Cross agents, and strangers, everyone heard her story and to be honest it was depressing to watch.
Many houses remain intact, (with serious water damage in the basement, mind you) but some were not so lucky. My aunts basement had a clear water flood level on the wall, almost reaching the ceiling. Everything had to be thrown away because of water damage. As a result, my aunt took pictures of everything to get her money back from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Pray for the people of Rockaway and Breezy Point, I have no doubt in my mind that they will pick up the peaces and come back stronger, as New Yorkers always do.
To be able to be part of something like the Comm30 Sandy fundraiser, to be able to make a difference, was very important to me. Coming from an area that was hit very badly by the storm, it was something that was very personal to me. Although we've already reached our $5,000 goal, we can still help the lives of Sandy victims. Let's keep this going.

#COMM30Sandy is an online class project for the Media & Society class at Lehigh University, taught by professor Jeremy Littau. You can donate to our campaign at this link, and for more infomation you can email Prof. Littau at jeremy.littau(at)

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