The following article was written the night of November 2nd, 2012 by candle light in my Grandfather’s house in Far Rockaway. While I have had functioning utilities returned to my neighborhood and house since then the residents of the Rockaways (as well as those of Long Beach and many in Long Island, Staten Island, and New Jersey) have not.
As only seemed appropriate I had to return to the place where I was reared in search of heat and hot water following the devastation that was wrought after Hurricane Sandy. While we tried to “rough it” in our own home in Long Island for as long as we could, Sandy had brought with her the cold winds of winter along with rain and sea water which caused billions of dollars in damage along the eastern seaboard. That same wintery wind would be our undoing if we waited in our home for electricity to come and warm us so, in an immense moment of irony and poetic repetition my life brought me back to Far Rockaway; only this time it was a federal disaster area and not just an economically depressed neighborhood which would sustain me.
It was an emotional moment to have to pack into our cars with whatever supplies we could muster from the house. We hastily loaded boxes of diapers, clothing, our dog, and of course our selves between out four door sedan and our two door coupe and made a caravan back to the Bayswater block which had housed every day of childhood. Having visited briefly only a few days before I felt an enormous sense of…something…as I drove down the block. Somehow, unimaginably the block seemed even more destroyed than it had just a day after the hurricane. People had begun clearing out their flooded basements and with it came the soggy books, sea water contaminated furniture, and clothing beyond recovery laid out on their lawns and brought to the curb for the hopeful day when sanitation trucks might come and clear it all away like the brooms in Fantasia. That day seemed far off and, perhaps, even mythical.