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The Red Hook StarªRevue THROUGH DEC. 1, 2012 SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER FREE RED HOOK RENEWS ITS SPIRIT WITH A SUNDAY JAM A by George Fiala fter two weeks of shock and bewilderment, followed by a lot of hard work, Sunday, November 11 turned into a day of celebration. A merry band of minstrels brought music and light into our darkened village. Restore Red Hook helped organized the bluegrass parade through Red Hook. The afternoon began with an opening jam inside Bait and Tackle. After an hour, singer/songwriter Jan Bell, guitarist Seth Kessel and Jonathan Hull on washboard led fellow musicians and travelers up and down Van Brunt and finally to Sunny’s Bar. This could have been parade day in the New Orleans French Quarter except for our law against the public consumption of alchohol. The musicians and their followers marched up to Hope and Anchor singing the traditional American song “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad.” All sorts of instruments were crossing Wolcott Street: guitars, harmonicas, washboards, mandolins, fiddles and even an accordion. Sunny’s, Red Hook home to many of these musicians, was the eventual destination, but there were many stops in between. Kessel took the lead for a couple of tunes. He creates a rich mellow tone on his acoustic Gibson guitar. The sound of the guitar was a perfect bed to the music. Kessel could make anyone forget the venue, busy Van Brunt Street. He is part of many Brooklyn bluegrass jams, including those at Mary’s Bar in the South Slope, Freddy’s, and of course, Sunny’s. The ensemble broke into “When the Saints Go Marching In,” followed by “Sitting On Top of the World,” while gathered in front of the beloved Red Hook eatery that miraculously avoided any major flood damage. Huoll, another Sunny’s regular, played the pone percussion instrument - a washboard. later in the afternoon, the lanky Hull showed off his skills on the harmonica, which he is more well know for in the Brooklyn based bluegrass band, Jones Street Station. Red Hook Slim, a talented local harmonica player and a regular at blues jams throughout the city including the Union Street Star Theater, was just one of many mouth harpists that joined in. Fort Defiance was the next stop on the map. St. John was brewing a spicy apple cider in front of his restaurant, which is now under renovation. At this point, Jan Bell became the ad hoc musical (continued on page 4) Sunny and Tone welcomes their Red Hook friends with a heartfelt tear of joy. (photo by George Fiala) Damage at Red Hook Houses is unprecedented On Sunday, November 11, the streets of Red Hook bustled with utility trucks, medical mobile units and contractors. Neglected Red Hook was finally getting assistance after nearly two weeks of very little forward progress. The community had stood strong and was getting a huge national spotlight in the media. Newspapers, TV anchors and radio broadcasts painted a picture of a strangled neighborhood on the edge of starvation and death. But I knew of the community that reached within its own pockets to provide during the disaster. Why was the rest of the world seeking out the worst of the worst in Red Hook? by Kimberly Gail Price were on our doorsteps, working together. The community was grateful, not angry or desolate. National Grid began assessing the damage on Tuesday, October 30. After speaking with a crew foreman on Van Brunt, he informed me that he and his teams will be out working around the clock until every last customer has gas restored. National Grid expects all residents in Red Hook should have their cooking Maybe Red Hook had run out of resourc- gas back by Monday, November 12. es. Maybe frustrations had turned neigh- They have opened up 34 man holes along bors against each other. Maybe help Van Brunt. Section by section, they have was too late and we were beyond repair. been working to push water out of the How far away from normality were we? pipes. Once that is complete, plumbers Assistance took a while to get here. Longer than it should have. But when it arrived, the community was still standing as one. And the companies that could turn the lights back on and restore heat must come and inspect the equipment. He said that once the electronic equipment goes under water, it all must be replaced. Once everything is approved, gas can be restored. However, heat will not return before the power does. Most of their equipment lies underground. The friendly foreman said the only way to prevent water in the gas lines is to prevent flooding. Customer Service was also out in the neighborhood on Monday to assist with inspections of equiptment that was either damaged or submerged. Verizon had several trucks in the area. (continued on page 3)

Red Hook Star-Revue November 16

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