Friday, November 16, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Unfortunately More than Shoes Were Destroyed

This was the view from my stoop in  coastal Staten Island the morning after the storm

When I post by last blog entry at 7:49pm on Monday, October 29, I had no idea how things were about to change in a span of about 15 minutes. At just past 8pm I was called to the door by a family member. The street I had walked up and down so many times had turned into a angry river with 10ft of water that gradually increased. I stood on my stoop in disbelief as the car I has driven only hours earlier was snatched from me. First, the lights went on, then the trunk opened, finally the car spun around and started traveling down the river that invaded my block. My basement soon began to fill with water stopping inches from filling the first floor. As the initial disbelief wore off, the journalist in me grabbed my camera and sought to document the wrath of mother nature.

In the wake of the storm Internet and power outages prevented me from sharing these pictures on my blog. I managed to, in brief moments of cell phone signal, get a few pictures out on Facebook and Twitter. I also needed time to adjust to reality of life after the storm, a basement in desperate need of cleaning and drastically increased commuting times. Yet, all along I planned on sharing my experiences among the devastation that affected thousands along the east coast and beyond.

But first, my heart goes out to all those affected. In the wake of the devastation, houses completely destroyed and lives lost, I know I am one of the fortunate ones. While my family lost cars and possessions and our home was damaged, we remained safe and together. Our house still stands and luckily only the basement flooded.

I am also very thankful for the help and support of those around me, including strangers who volunteered their time and donated supplies to help my family in the recovery effort. While Staten Island is often the forgotten borough, starting a few days after the storm the outpouring of support has been astonishing.

The recovery efforts continue to this day, over 2 weeks after Sandy hit. In some ways I wonder if this area will ever be the same. Yet progress has been made and I would like to share how the storm affected us through pictures.

Since this is a shoe blog, I would be amiss if I didn't mention how my shoe collection faired.   Luckily, the shoes I most commonly wear were on the second floor and away from the water. However, I did have shoes I wore less frequently or was planning on donating that were destroyed. Unfortunately, that is one damage I did not photo document. 

My sneakers have been a symbol of the damage to my area. When faced with the water and dirt in my basement and the mud and debris on the streets I decided to only wear my old sneakers. While they lack the cushioning and support of my new sneakers, they have gotten so dirty I will happily throw them away when the cleaning is done.

On the left you see my sneakers before the storm. The right hand side shows the dirt and mud.

Unfortunately more than just sneakers or shoes were destroyed. These before and after pictures show my block during the afternoon of Monday October 29 and the after pictures are either from that night or the next morning. The before pictures show the results of some wind damage but nothing like the damage that was about to come. 

My car before and after it was spun around and floated down the street. Also note the cars on top of each other across the street.