On a cold, rainy day, people lined up around the block for supplies from a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Far Rockaway, Queens, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.
More than 100 days after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast, leaving power lines, houses, family heirlooms and human lives decimated in its wake, it's a clear sign residents are still figuring out how to cope.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the recent storm would cost New York State alone nearly $42 billion. Despite the odds, the recent reopening of small businesses, like a tiny, neighborhood bagel shop, indicates a new day is dawning.
From midtown Manhattan, the trip to Far Rockaway takes a little more than two hours. That’s because there is still no subway service past John F. Kennedy Airport. To access the Rockaways, riders have to transfer to a shuttle bus, then back onto a fare free shuttle train, which only started service in late November. It’s a couple more transfers than residents are used to, but it’s better than the lack of transportation they were saddled with for quite some time.
Given their context, the three words scrawled on a chalkboard outside Jeremy's Ale House in New York are defiant, even victorious.
"We are open."
The pub is one of the few survivors in one of New York's historic districts devastated by Superstom Sandy, which ripped through the region last month.
When the floodwaters began to lap at his hip, Rahmell Ortiz's stubbornness finally buckled. He ran for his life, unsure of where he was going, or what had become of the other 6350 residents of Brooklyn's Red Hook Houses. Ortiz knew only that the Superstorm Sandy was showing no signs of mercy, and that his friend Horace Jackson, who had been banging at his door, wasn't taking no for an answer.
11 days, and a terrifying chest-high wade later, the two men stood in line for a free twice-daily meal dished out by volunteer-manned tables and trucks stationed outside the Calvary Baptist Church of Red Hook. It was by both men's accounts, the highlight of the day for local residents, many of whom still were living without power, heat or any idea when either might return, due to extensive saltwater damage in the basements of the 33 buildings that make up Brooklyn's largest public housing development.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
Wow. It’s just astonishing and heartwarming and every positive adjective I can think of to see how hard people everywhere are working to help victims of Superstorm Sandy. There’s still so much that needs to be done, such a great need for items like batteries, baby supplies, tools - the list goes on.