A century ago, guardian of the Atlantic approach to NY Harbor. Artillery with a range of 25-miles pointed seaward waiting for the German ships that never came – save perhaps for a handful of shadowy U-boats, seen and unseen.
A patch of sandy desolation on the fragile narrow spit of the Rockaway Peninsula, which barely rises between ocean and the Jamaica Bay. In the distance, a proud Manhattan skyline – a mirage of a completely different world – hazy and not quite existent.
Wars of the sea gave way to wars of the air. The big guns were traded in for the Nikes, missiles designed to knock high-altitude Soviet bombers out of the Metropolitan sky.
And then, a few decades ago – total obsolescence, abandonment, and decay. Gutted shells, overgrown and sinking into the sand, which in turn, minute by minute, sinks into the waves. It’s lately been a playground of the fringes – artists, photographers, graffiti, and seekers of ramshackle ephemera.
The hurricane pummelled the city, and the peninsula took a huge punch, a slap in the face of human futility. For that night, the peninsula did not exist, but became ocean and bay – Neighborhoods near the isolated base washed away and burned. Sand piled high like snow drifts that never melt, overturned cars, buried homes and memories.
Pieces of Tilden dissolved into the waves. But what is already ruined is hard to ruin again. At this former fort, a few solid walls are down, the sand mounts high, and a faint, musty, low-tide smell still faintly emits from the ground below. But the gun battery embedded in the bluffs still stares blankly into the sea, awaiting 100-year-old dreadnoughts and battleships that will never appear. Since the Storm, it’s become barricaded, forbidden, heavily patrolled by the authorities – a no man’s land – A silent sentinel upon the wild dunes of a wild beach on the barren coastal fringes of the City.
On Friday, I compiled my running string of Facebook and Twitter posts dealing with “Superstorm” Sandy. Today, with relief and recovery efforts underway, and as another nor’easter bears down on the NY – NJ metropolitan region, I once again present a compilation of my hour-to-hour posts.
Some photosets of post-storm NYC:
Scenes from a blacked out Manhattan: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattron/sets/72157631914010512/
Scenes from the Rockaways: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattron/sets/72157631950208338/
As nightime temperatures approach freezing, millions are still without power, and many communities are completely displaced. People are no less in dire straits than they were when the storm hit. Here are a few resources for those who need help, and those who can offer help:
A site specific to the Rockaways – a resource for volunteers and those needing help: http://rockawayhelp.com
By all accounts I’ve heard and seen first hand, OccupySandy has been doing an excellent job getting into areas and helping in ways that conventional relief agencies have been unable to:
Check out the site if you need help, or can provide it: http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/
An NYC.gov apartment sharing resource. Be a host, or a guest! https://www.airbnb.com/sandy
– A tremendously comprehensive crisis map from Google. Even a week after the storm, things are changing hour to hour, so always double check!: http://google.org/crisismap/2012-sandy
Text SHELTER + zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to receive information on the nearest shelter in your area
Friday, November 2, 2012 –
Yesterday I took some photos from within the “blackout zone” of Manhattan, the immense stretch from 34th Street to the Battery:
The full photoset: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattron/sets/72157631914010512/
– Lights are coming back on in Manhattan, and the marathon has been cancelled. You can probably hear the cheering from space. It’s just in time too. Manhattan is dealing really well, but I can’t see it taking the lack of access to food and water for too much longer.
– In the city alone, more than 200 lost pets need foster homes: gothamist.com/2012/11/02/urgent_adopt_or_foster_these_dogs_a.php
– An incredible shot of a darkened Chinatown:
– So power’s coming back rather quickly to Manhattan – Considering the nightlife “meccas” that were hit, whatever bar manages to open is surely going to see a rager tonight.
It was before I was born, but many recall that during the blackout of 1977, which didn’t last nearly as long, the city saw terrible rioting and looting. I can’t say enough about all the comraderie and generosity I’ve seen; people really did become reacquainted with their immediate neighbors. You see it often on the news happening in other parts, but it’s really striking to see the Nat’l Guard handing out MRE’s in NYCNow that things are looking up for Manhattan, hopefully more attention can be focused on the really devastated areas in the Rockaways, the Brooklyn oceanfront, and, of course, the Jersey Shore and Staten Island. It’s a neighborhood most people don’t know, but it’s coming out that Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn, which was not officially in the Zone A evacuation area, saw tidal surge upwards of 8 feet. Another shattered neighborhood among many.On a brighter side, many would-be marathon participants are offering help and their hotel rooms to the displaced. Also, the NY Aquarium, which was completely flooded, seems to be on the path of recovery, with most of the animals unharmed.
Jersey City and Bayonne are back on the grid, may be another week for the Rockaways. Floyd Bennett Field is a staging ground. People are waitng on line for more than 4 hours for gas – one stretches for two miles. Some counties are enacting rationing – (even days for plates that end in an even number)
They’re still looking survivors all along the shore. Many have lost everything. Devastation and terrible stories from Connecticut down to New Jersey – The world’s 4th largest metropolitan area and then some.
It’s been a week since my first post about the storm, when the heavy salty air hung over the city and the vanguard clouds began to appear. I’ve heard it said that the way people react during the first week of a disaster is a no-brainer, in fact sometimes the numbers coming out to help overwhelms the coordination.
or call 1-866-VOTE-NYC