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Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath

Here I am almost one week removed from Hurricane Sandy. While this Superstorm cannot compare to the likes of Hurricane’s Andrew and Katrina, Sandy certainly rocked the foundation off of New York City and New Jersey. Never would I have imagined that a hurricane could travel with such ferocious velocity up north. This may be my ignorance but I have always associated hurricane’s as storms in warmer southern climate.

Never say never, I suppose. In the days after Sandy, New Yorkers and New Jerseyans have seen images of areas hard hit. From the devastation in Breezy Point, Queens to the destruction of my youth down the Jersey Shore. Those images will forever be etched in my head for a very long time.

Breezy Point, Queens lost 110 ten homes due to Hurricane Sandy. A six-alarm fire was reported in the area the night Sandy’s fury affected the metro area. Unfortunately due to flood waters, first responders were unable to get through to contain the fire. By 11 PM, the water had receded enough where responders can get to the fire. But at that point it was too late. The fire had quickly spread. And after hour the media speculated as to how many homes were engulfed. On Tuesday, it was discovered 110 homes were destroyed by the fire. As of this writing, there were no reports of casualties, just minor injuries.

Breezy Point, Queens/A Fire destroyed 110 Homes

New Jersey was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. If you lived along the coast, the area along the Jersey coast would be devastated. First there were reports that pieces of the Atlantic City boardwalk was ripped apart from the strong gusting winds. At that point, I thought the only damage the shore would sustain would be minor damage with pieces of the boardwalk ripped off. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, I saw aerial shots of Seaside Heights. I could not believe what I had witnessed. The mainstay of Seaside Heights was its amusement park along the boardwalk/pier which sat on top of the Atlantic Ocean.

Once Sandy had left the area, videos came in. The next image hit me hard. The roller coaster which sat above the ocean was now floating in the Atlantic Ocean. While the shore is associated as a summer destination, during the off peak months the area is inhabited with long time residents year round. Unfortunately, they were told that the shore area was severely affected and there was significant damage.

Seaside Heights

Seaside Heights, NJ – The site of where the amusement park used to be.

I am a lifelong New Jersey resident. And if you ask anyone who knows me well, they will tell you how passionate I am about my home state. New Jersey is part of my identity. I have a lot of pride. Whether I am supporting my beloved New Jersey Devils or driving along the New Jersey highways, I love my home state. While I do remember the Jersey Shore and its points from my youth, my heart completely crushed when I visited Hoboken yesterday.

It was a cool Saturday afternoon. I had just left the barber shop. Instead of heading straight home, I opted to walk into Hoboken for the first time in a week. I knew the town was hit hard. I have seen the news reports, and I do have friends who ultimately evacuated. But I wanted to see the damage.

The first thing I discovered as I walked through the Jersey City/Hoboken border were the puddles of water. But as I walked into Hoboken, I saw area residents draining water from their residence with a sump pump. I then smelled an odor that was not fresh. The water more than likely was sewage which seeped in during the storm. The flood waters caused many area residents to throw away many personal belongings. The image of piles of peoples lives crushed me. The area reminded me of  scene straight out of a movie.

Hoboken Debris

Hoboken Residents Cleaning Up in The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

As I walked further into town, I noticed how my frown was turning upside down. I noticed that residents were for the most part optimistic and upbeat despite the damage. Some were out and about walking their dogs. Others were helping their fellow neighbors. Merchants were providing residents with free hot meals. Outside of all the bad I have seen or heard about following Hurricane Sandy; I have seen the good in people following this storm.

A Local Merchant Giving Hamburgers to Hoboken Residents

A Local Merchant Giving Hamburgers to Hoboken Residents

There is still good left in this world. And I will pray for those who are displaced in the New York and New Jersey area.

This morning I visited my gym in New York City. The gym I frequent in Hoboken was temporarily closed due to damage from Sandy. Knowing that I traveled to the gym I visit during the week in NYC. After arriving in New York City, I noticed runners all over the area. For some reason I forgot today was Marathon Sunday. But due to the storm and overwhelming pressure, the City of New York decided to cancel the annual event.

As a runner, I was happy for the cancellation. But I do believe the cancellation was three days overdue. The city canceled the event on Friday, two days shy of the event. If you have followed me since day one, you all know my initial intention was to run in the 2012 event. But my hip condition forced me to delay my intention. Had I joined this years marathon class, I would have opted out. There was no way I could have participated in good conscience.

The starting line of the NYC Marathon began in Staten Island. One of the hard hit areas in the five boroughs of New York City was Staten Island. Not far from the start line, at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, are areas with no power. Bodies being found in homes. Residents were without food and warm shelter. That’s just some of the issues I had with the city and the New York Road Runners Club in the days after Sandy.

But after my workout, I walked to the finish line in Central Park. I discovered the athletes who traveled from near and afar came into Central Park and held their own run.

Runners Partaking in Their Own Race

Runners Partaking in Their Own Race in Central Park

 

While I commend each runner for doing so, I commend those who wore their running gear into Staten Island to volunteer and provide residents with hot meals and helped with the recovery.

I leave you with this…
– If you want to help with the recovery, please visit your local charitable organization and donate non-perishable foods, blankets, diapers, clothes, etc.

– To make a donation to the American Red Cross please visit their website.

– To make a donation to the American Red Cross through a text message please text REDCROSS “90999” to give a $10 donation.

– By phone you can call : 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767)

– In New Jersey an organization called the Ergo Group are mass producing special t-shirts with proceeds going to helping “Restore The Shore”. To buy the shirt please visit their website.

If there are non-profit organizations in the NY area who are producing merchandise with funds going to NYC, I will update the blog.

Please help.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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