Power, Federal Aid Reach Southern Brooklyn


    On Sunday, power had been restored to many areas in Southern Brooklyn and national aid had arrived. (Outside Brooklyn, the Rockaways and Staten Island remain in crisis, with many without power or water.) We checked out Brighton Beach Sunday afternoon, where we found the National Guard distributing water, blankets, diapers, and baby wipes, above. Down the block, a volunteer group gave out free clothes from a truck. Power was back on in most places and delis and groceries were open for business as usual. Debris had been gathered into piles dotted about the beach, which was mostly empty of people, but otherwise it looked pretty normal. Most buildings in the central area seemed to have already completed their basement cleanups, though a few were still siphoning out water and placing wrecked furniture on the sidewalks for pickup. Tensions seemed high; a fistfight almost broke out over a fender bender, we heard a lot of people arguing, and a woman said she was going to call the police because we were taking photographs. There was, of course, no subway service to the shore areas throughout Southern Brooklyn. Buses were running about every 20 minutes, and they were packed full.

    While all the buildings looked intact in the main area of Brighton Beach, homes have been destroyed in pockets throughout the area. On Saturday, a reader emailed us to say, “Last night I took a trip down to Sheepshead Bay to run supplies to a friend and her neighbors. The little bungalow community she lives in was nearly wiped out by Sandy. Several homes were destroyed and flooding destroyed all of the personal belongings in the houses still standing. If that’s not bad enough looters moved in and cleaned out all the houses of people who evacuated.” Read more here.

    We also heard from another friend who helped distribute a truck of donations organized by the owners of Roberta’s and Brooklyn Kitchen to the Rockaways in Queens Friday afternoon. On 113th Street, FEMA, Occupy Sandy, and the local police had set up tables, so the Brooklyn contingent parked a few blocks away, where a large group quickly gathered. The biggest challenge was unloading the truck and organizing what they had to give away in an equitable manner rather than having a mob simply grab as much as they could. As of Friday, at least, the folks there living in low-income high rises still had no electricity and no water. The volunteers had come equipped with laptops and a wireless modem to help people apply for FEMA relief on the spot, but of course the cell phone towers were out. A group of maintenance guys who were busy cleaning out the basements of all the nearby housing towers pitched in to help unload the truck. Water, batteries, candles, and diapers went quickly.
    Federal Aid Comes to Coney Island [Brooklyn Paper]
    In Hurricane-Damaged Brooklyn, Volunteers Come to Help
    [Voice of America]
    On Brooklyn’s Southern Coast, Sandy’s Devastation Persists [Epoch Times]
    In Isolated Gerritsen Beach, Slow Recovery for Extensive Damage [Huff Po]
    Sixth Day on the Tenth Floor in Coney Island [NY Times]
    Canarsie Residents Say They Need City’s Help to Clean Up [NY1]
    Sheepshead Bay Residents Begin to Rebuild as They Wait for Aid [NY1]
    The National Guard, AT&T, Nokia, and police in Brighton Beach.
    Volunteers pass out free clothing.
    A Citibank closed, without power, but guarded.
    AT&T set up a mobile cell phone truck with satellite to offer cell phone and Internet service in Brighton Beach.
    Federal aid in Brighton Beach.

    Volunteers help unpack trucks to distribute federal aid.

    Grocery stores in Brighton Beach were open for business as usual and fully stocked.

    What's Happening