Red Hook StarªRevue
THROUGH NOV. 15, 2012
SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
AR RARE MASTERPIECE ed Hook is not the only devastated community. Millions felt the storm, thousands are still feeling it. For us, here, in south Brooklyn we are community. A community of neighbors, friends and survivors. A community of heroes. In lower Manhattan, shadows filled the darkened night streets, as people isolated themselves. In Breezy Point, Queens, people were forced to abandon their homes that were destroyed by fire. In Coney Island, looters created disruption
with their aggression and self-serving purposes. All over Brooklyn, police lie in wait at gas stations to prevent violence and riots. But not in Red Hook.
Red Hook created something else instead; something unique. Something the entire nation has taken notice of: community. Red Hook is being defined as “one of the hardest hit areas of the city,” by Reuters, Democracy Now! and CNN News. But we are also being defined by our efforts to stand together as community and support each other. Red Hook Initiative was first to organize. Fort Defiance, Home/made and Brooklyn Crab have all held barbecues to feed the community, despite their own losses. The circle of support continues to grow, as new headquarters for information pop up along Van Brunt. We became the source of our own needs from within. We have organized, rallied and supported each other. When there has been need, we have found a way to
fill it. And when devastation seemed to have knocked us down, we still found the strength to rebuild.
Up to this point, we have had very little government assistance. But our people have not gone hungry. Our buildings and streets remain dark, but our hearts and hopes are still lit. We may have been hit and damaged by Hurricane Sandy, but minute by minute we are gaining fortitude. Before the National Guard showed up before FEMA, NYCHA Con Edison or the Red Cross got here - we started rebuilding. Not one at a time, but as one. And as this masterpiece of a community gets to its feet and takes those first harrowing steps forward, the eyes of the world are watching in awe. There is much to be said about the human spirit of this community. No one has sat idly by, waiting for rescue. We have taken care of our own. And we will continue to do so. We are neighbors of a community that can be envied in every
corner of the world. We stand united in power, compassion and inspiration. We have found our greatest strength in a moment of great weakness. We will rise above the ashes. We will rebuild. We will survive and grow stronger because we understand that two hands can do little, but multiple hands serving the same purpose will define and refine us. Thank you for illustrating what it means to be a community. Thank you for exemplifying the true model of human spirit. Thank you for giving me hope and setting the example for the kind of world I want to live in. Red Hook, you have stood for your neighbors, and they have stood for you. The healing process will be long and difficult. But every day, healing is happening. Day by day, we mend our homes and businesses. And along the way, we are weaving a beautiful tapestry that generations will remember and look upon as something of magnificence. —Kimberly Gail Price
Red Hook StarªRevue
NOVEMBER 1 - 15 2012
SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
VOLUME 3 NO.21
Taste of Red Hook..... 19
Reader Experiences........... 2
Resource Directory.... 20
Hurricane Coverage....... 6-15
Hours passed by and everything seemed fine & Monday had arrived. I was awakened by voice/text messages asking if I were alright. I received a DM [direct message] on Twitter showing me the flood by the Fair Way. I put on my gear & headed down to see for myself but by the time I arrived the water had receded. Roads were blocked by trees & the tide at the pier was crashing on to the boardwalk. It was rainy, cold & very windy. I stayed out there for a couple hours filming & taking pictures of businesses & their clever signs to Sandy & also of the street art work that adorn Red Hook. I figured I may not see it again. I walked back to my apartment & had a strange feeling overwhelm me. I thought to myself this may be really bad but it was too late to get out now.
Kimberly G. Price.......................................Editor/Publisher George Fiala.......................................... Graphics/Publisher Alexandra Gillis..................................................... Reporter Drew Petrilli.......................................................... Reporter Vince Musacchia..................................................Cartoons Erik Penney...................................................... Restaurants Eric Ruff............................................................... Calendar Matt Graber...............................................Special Projects Sara Saldutti............................................Retail Advertising Harold Boynes..................................Corporate Advertising
Mollie Dash, Rich Feloni, Mary Anne Massaro, Tom Martinez, Mary Ann Pietanza, Michael Racioppo, Jessica Lee, Therom Mohamed
718.624.5568 - Editorial & Advertising 917.652.9128 News Tips 101 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 email@example.com
STAR-REVUE Community Calendar
COMMUNITY BOARD 6: ALL MEETINGS AT 6:30 PM
Mon. Nov. 5th - Executive Meeting, update on Gowanus BOA, other business, 250 Baltic Street Wed. Nov. 14th - General Board Meeting, Old First Reformed Church, 729 Carroll Street, Park Slope Mon. Nov. 19th - Economic/Waterfront/Community Development and Housing Committee; Presentation by the Trust of Governors Island on planned projects. Location not known at press time.
Tues. Nov 6th - 7:30 pm, 76th Precinct Community Council, 191 Union Street Wed. Nov 7th - 7:30 pm, Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association General Meeting, Hannah Senesh Community Day School, 342 Smith Street Thurs. Nov 8th 7 pm, presentation of ALL GONE: A Memoir of My Mother’s Dementia, Cobble Hill Health Center, 380 Henry Street 1-5 pm “Build it Green NYC.” volunteer to help green Gowanus, 69 9th St. Also Sat, Nov. 10th, 9 am - noon. Sun. Nov 11th - 11 am, Veterans Day Observance Ceremony, Carroll Park, Court between Carroll and President Mon. Nov. 12th Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s Fall 2012 Benefit, Chio Restaurant, 117 Columbia Street Tues. Nov. 13th, 6:30pm-9pm The Gowanus Canal Conservancy Board Annual Members Meeting, Gowanus Studio Space 166 7th st (between 2nd & 3rd Aves) Wed. Nov 14, 7:30 - 8:30pm, followed by Q&A session. Gowanus Canal Conservancy Urban Ecology Lectures: “Restoration and Management of Woodlands in Prospect Park” Speaker: John Jordan, Natural Resources Supervisor at Prospect Park. Location: BuildItGreen! NYC’s Gowanus Warehouse at 69 9th Street.
Page 2 Red Hook Star-Revue
As if I were on an island
Never have I ever plan for such an event. Before leaving work in Kensington on Sunday, October 28, 2012, I went to get extra batteries, bottled water, a first aid kit & a couple of non- perishable items. I snapped a picture of the train station I use to leave work & posted on foursquare “Heading home before they shut down the MTA.” I had all of an hour to get home because I leave work at 6 pm. Finally made it home with 10 minutes left before the shut down. I was extremely grateful. I gathered all of my things that I would need in the event of an emergency filled the bathtub withwater, collected my candles, took my AC’s out of the window, charged all of my gadgets & spare batteries & sat & tried to do homework to keep my mind occupied as the wind howled.
Table of Contents Community Calendar......... 2
In all honesty I really didn’t have anywhere to go. The last time I tried to escape Irene, I fled to the only place I could flea [sic] which was a friend of my in Westchester. Which ended up a far worst situation than I would have been had I stayed home in Red Hook. This ultimately was the very reason I stayed home this time. The wind started picking up & it was already dark out when my lights started to flicker. They eventually went out after about 20 minutes. I lit my candles & sat & waited. I fell asleep for about what seemed like 5 minutes before I heard firemen & police outside of my window urging my neighbors to get inside it was a mandatory evacuation. I stuck my head out of my window to strong winds & saw the manhole was on fire & the streets between Luquer & Cole were completely flooded. It was as if I were on an island. I went outside even after authorities urged us to stay inside. I had to run & get footage & pictures. There was a light pole on fire & going off as if it were fireworks. My neighbors called 911 but couldn’t get through. We just grabbed each other & ran back to the house. Finally the next day came & I went out once again to get footage of the damage. It was like walking through a war zone. Still some flooding & trees down. You can literally see on the side of buildings at Hot Wood Arts at the end of Van Brunt the water levels and oh yeah those pictures I took the day before of the street art well some of them are gone. What was to come next no one could have ever imagined. It’s a complete week & day to the events of Sandy & I’m still without electricity, heat, or gas. I’ve been roaming the streets like David Banner & struggling withmy supervisor at work. Last week Thursday when I called out of work after having to walk to Carroll Gardens to charge up & get proper reception & get Con Ed on the phone to a worker who told me they would try to get someone out to us & make sure someone was available. I waited all day to no avail & received a phone call from my supervisor later that morning that said “I would need documentation for calling out.” I haven’t responded to her yet, but I’m a film student that needed a documentary for my final project who couldn’t think of anything. Well now I guess not only do I have my final project but she’ll (my supervisor) get her “documentation.” — Karen von Etheridge, Red Hook
One of the lucky ones
Hello, I was at the community meeting tonight and noticed all of these NYC marathon recovery bags that had been donated to the Red Hook Recovery on my way out. Found it quietly appropriate, in a small way. I was one of the lucky people in Red Hook to get electricity back last week, and assumed everyone had as well. It was only minutes later George [Fiala] informed a very optimistic me, (still am), that I was one of the few in Red Hook get it back (true even days later, unfortunately). Just want to thank you all for all the work you do at the paper of keeping us informed, even when there isn’t a new issue on the stands. Tonight’s meeting proved communication in Red Hook is always in need, even when there is a lot of other work to go around, and you and your paper helps [sic] fill that need. — Brett Underhill, Van Brunt St.
Waterfront Museum story
A thirteen-foot storm surge during Hurricane Sandy covered our homeport pier with water. Two lines tied to the remains of a fallen pier proved to be strong enough to keep Lehigh Valley No. 79 off of the rocks. Fenders and tires protected the 98 year-old wooden hull from going over top of the steel cluster piles that were totally submerged. Deep gratitude goes to Doug and Kevin who braved and battled the epic storm with Captain Dave. Although much needs to be done, little damage to the vessel was sustained as several skylight panels were lost and the storage container was toppled. Tons and tons of thanks to the many, many volunteers who have helped clear the park, shoreline and readied the Museum for winter. Work is now underway to build a temporary waterfront fence that will enable the Museum to again open its doors to the general public. Our success in avoiding a disaster is greatly dampened knowing the devastation that lies inland and that has surrounded our community with destruction. — David Sharps, Waterfront Museum
Through November 1, 2012
support the following in their campaign for election or re-election on November 6, 2012.
Marty Golden Michael Grimm Peter King Jerrold Nadler Charles Schumer Nydia Velazquez Nicole Malliotakis
Red Hook Star-Revue
Through November 16, 2012 Page 3
Angry Carroll Gardeners question homeless facility by Alexandra Gillis
ince the quiet announcement, and subsequent New York Times article, of a homeless shelter opening up in ultra-gentrified Carroll Gardens, locals have been not so quiet about their displeasure with this proposal. When rumors started buzzing around that beds and refrigerators were already being moved in, people wanted to know what was going on. On Wednesday, October 24th, a Community Board 6 (CB6) meeting was held at PS 58 to discuss the shelter going into 165 W. 9th Street. The meeting was called an informational hearing because there is no requirement for the shelter to be approved by the community board. CB6 started off by saying that on October 4th, they received a fax letter from a Housing Solutions USA affiliate “notifying us of their intentions to submit a proposal.” The board member clarified that “the letter did not seek our views on this proposal.” The auditorium where the meeting was held was packed, with people standing in the aisles and in the back along with several news cameras from local stations. It became clear quickly that the attendance was due to concern for what the shelter would bring. The shelter is set to hold 170 adult males in a 10 unit building. Shouting from the crowd during the information sessions and the Q&A had a “not in my backyard (NIMBY)” attitude. The “backyards” in question are being subjected to what residents feel is danger by proximity. Children’s parks and facilities like Choo Choo Daycare are within blocks of the shelter. Some citizens were concerned about registered sex offenders being placed close to public schools, parks, and daycares; The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) answered, “sex offenders will be served like any other homeless person.” When it comes to criminal background checks, DHS wanted to make it clear that as state law dictates - although DHS screens for what they consider to be “employable men” for shelters like this = that those who apply for a bed through DHS are not required to give any more background information than those who want to volunteer.
One of the pressing issues was brought up before entering the meeting. Flyers were passed out in front of PS 58 headlined “Conflict of Interest or Corruption?” This potentially corrupt situation stems from the landlord of the proposed shelter, Alan Lapes. The New York Daily News in 2007 reported on a “Crime Square Hell Hotel” run by Lapes. In the article The Daily News reported their sources as saying that prosecutors looking into this hotel “investigated claims that [Jay] Crespo and hotel operator Alan Lapes were ripping off the city Department of Homeless Services.” Lapes has a bad reputation because of some of his connections. Lapes has been doing business with Stuart Podolsky through Amsterdam Hospitality on several developments. As far back as 1984, the NY Times released an article, “6 More Landlords Indicted In Plot Against Tenants.” Stuart Podolsky, along with
Representatives from the city and the shelter operator faced merciless questioning from the audience and the politicians. (photo by Kimberly Gail Price)
settled the Podolsky family continued to do business with Lapes. In 2011, Lapes
“The shelter is set to hold 170 adult males in a 10 unit building. Shouting from the crowd during the information sessions and the Q&A had a not in my backyard (NIMBY) attitude.” his father Zenek Podolsky and brother Jay Podolsky, accounted three out of those six landlords. After these cases
was listed as owning a building at 500 E. 62nd Street with Amsterdam Hospitality. None of the owners or landlords involved with 165 W. 9th Street were p r e s ent at the CB6 meeting.
Senator Daniel Squadr o n , Councilmember Brad Lander, and Ass e m b l ywoman J o a n Millman were also in attenBrad Lander spoke forcefully on behalf of the homeless and the need to dance balance their needs and the needs of the community. (photo by Fiala) to express their concerns. Their comments focused on this proposal’s lack of consideration and planning, along with the extremely dense occupancy. Squadron said the proposal “ is ill conceived and ill thought.” All three explained that they and residents of Carroll Gardens were willing to put in their “fair share” if it was for a more thought out proposal. Squadron also explained that he was aware of the increased need for facilities like this, but that the need was due to a “woefully failed homeless policy” set by the Bloomberg administration.
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vide 47 employees for social services, security, and maintenance. The shelter will have a 10 pm curfew, where homeless individuals are at risk of losing their provided bed, but will still be let in past curfew if there is space available. DHS states that the average stay for men in these kind of shelters is six months to a year. CB6 has submitted a proposal stating that they do not support the proposal by Housing Solutions. It is unknown currently, if feedback from CB6 and from the community will affect the creation of this homeless shelter. Editor’s Note: Just before press time, CB6 District Manager, Craig Hammerman sent out an email detailing that by “dinnertime” on Tuesday, November 6, DHS is relocating 120 male veterans from the Borden Avenue Shelter in Long Island City to 165 W. 9th Street due to Hurricane Sandy. The displaced residents will be there for “less than a month.” In an email to Hammerman, Lisa Black, DHS Director of Government Relations writes that the Borden Avenue shelter has been “rendered uninhabitable.” CB6 in return has requested an updated status of that location as soon as it becomes available. Boiler contractors are examining the space for estimates on repair work before the shelter can be reopened. Black could not comment on who the shortterm operator for the space would be, citing that it could possibly be Housing Solutions USA. After the agreement is finalized, DHS will be able to provide contact information for the operator. Black also commented, “we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time for our city and are available for any questions.” CB6 also “reiterated” their request to be involved in the future discussions involving tenants of the W. 9th Street location.
Accommodations for homeless individuals include one bathroom per ten people with one shower per fifteen people. This set up is in accordance with state regulations for homeless shelters. Housing Solutions is planning to pro-
Through November 16, 2012
Bread and Water: Red Hook Prepares For Sandy by Theron Mohamed
“All the bread’s gone?” exclaimed a store security guard. “Wow. This is absurd.” “I’ve never seen so many people shopping in one day,” said Michelle Williams, 60, as she browsed Fairway’s packed aisles. “The parking lot was full so we had to park across the street.”
Dan Lindy prepares to cycle home with his purchases. (photo by Theron Mohamad)
aced with the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy, many residents of Red Hook in Brooklyn ignored the mandatory evacuation and chose to ride out the squall. The town’s supermarkets and liquor stores were sites of frenzied activity on Sunday, as locals and visitors stocked up on bottled water, booze and basic food. The hurricane brought surging tides, lashing winds and torrential rain to the waterside settlement. “It’s been really busy since we opened,” said Mary Dudine Kyle, owner of Dry Dock Wine and Spirits on Van Brunt Streets. “We’re having a huge amount of people preparing for the storm.” She feared that the store’s cellar could flood and ruin her inventory. “Customers are taking the stock, and we’re bringing more up from the basement,” she said.“It will be empty by tonight. We need to make sure that the alcohol is safe.” Employees at other package stores were less worried. “The cellar didn’t flood last year, so I’m not super nervous,” said John Dalin, 35, a buyer at Botta di Vino on Van Brunt Street. He is based in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, and planned to evacuate before the deadline. “I’m taking the cat and a couple cases of wine,” he said. Red Hook’s grocery stores also enjoyed a bustling trade. Checkout lines at Fairway - the town’s largest supermarket were eight-trolleys deep. Shelves were quickly emptied.
Williams lives in Fort Greene, but lines outside of Trader Joe’s and the Food Coop in Brooklyn brought her here. She had 10 one-gallon bottles of water in her shopping cart, as well as “comfort food” - macaroni cheese, breaded shrimp, fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Booming sales may have boded well for retailers; but subway closures, evacuations and dangerous weather do not. Red Hook was designated as a Zone A area by New York’s government, meaning that residents of the low-lying neighborhood are at high risk of flooding and gale-force winds. They were given an evacuation deadline of 7 pm Sunday night - the same time that the city’s subway and bus service began to close. “It evens out,” said John Errante, 64, a Fairway manager. “Everybody thinks we make a lot of money, but the store will be empty next week.” He predicted that customers would return much of what they purchased, as they did after last year’s Hurricane Irene. Red Hook’s inhabitants were doing their best to mitigate their losses. Sandbags were propped against the entrances to warehouses and artist studios that line the town’s waterfront. “I’m scared, I hope the city’s overreacting,” said Judith Hooper, 63, a gallery manager at Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC) on Red Hook’s pier.
Bottled water was an early sellout at Fairway. (photo by George Fiala)
Van Brunt Street. She thought that the city’s preemptive closures and evacuations were a good idea. “Better safe than sorry,” she said. Visitors from other parts of Brooklyn were more nonchalant about the approaching tempest. “We’re not really worried,” said Dan Lindy, 50, a hedge fund employee who lives in Brooklyn Heights. “We’ve filled the bathtub and a few bottles with water.” Lindy and his wife had strapped their Fairway purchases to their bicycles for the ride home. He said that last year’s Hurricane Irene wasn’t too much trouble. “A few trees came down, a few cars were crushed,” he said.“We had our 3G iPads, we were fine.” The hurricane couldn’t have picked a worse day for some of Red Hook’s locals. Mickey Chirieleison, 64, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Post 7765 on
Van Brunt Street, was celebrating his birthday. He evacuated the town before Hurricane Irene last year, and returned to find his basement filled with four feet of water. “It looked like an Olympic swimming pool,” he said. “I lost everything I owned: clothes, hot water tanks, boilers, all our supplies. Refrigerators were floating. It took 10 hours to get all the water out.” This year he’s taking no chances. He’s sitting tight in Red Hook and has installed sump pumps in his home and at the veteran’s bar to pump out water. “I’ve also got a couple extra paint cants to bucket brigade it out,” he joked. Life goes on as usual for a few of Red Hook’s residents, hurricane or shine. One woman with a bulging backpack said, “I’m just doing my laundry. I’ll probably evacuate tomorrow.”
Hooper and her staff moved all the gallery artwork and supplies upstairs or placed them on tables, piled sandbags up outside, caulked the building’s entrance and put plywood behind the doors. There was an air of nervous tension in the neighborhood, as locals braced themselves for the storm. Rather than worrying, some Red Hook locals chose to keep themselves busy. “I’m trying not to think about it too much,” said Gabrielle Blanchette, 22, a cashier at Stop One Supermarket on
Fairway’s fruit and vegetable racks were left bare. (photo by Theron Mohamed)
Red Hook Star-Revue
Through November 16, 2012 Page 5
Sandy unleashes on Red Hook by Kimberly Gail Price and George Fiala
ast year when Hurricane Irene washed ashore, the flooding that Red Hook experienced was the usual result that accompanies heavy rainstorms. Storm sewers back up. The foot of Van Brunt Street, as well as the area around the Cruise Terminal flood temporarily and prevent cars from passing. The water stays in the street. After some time, the sewers start working again and the water drains. This time was different. Businesses were bustling with activity mid-day. Preparations were being made for something most in this area have never endured. Flashlights were sold out; batteries were rare. Shelves of bottled water were devoid of merchandise. Shoppers quickly bustled through supermarkets and hardware stores, only to find outrageously long lines for check out. All along the Red Hook waterfront, boats were tethered down. Storefronts pulled down their metal grates. Many closer to the water’s edge had sandbags piled in front of doorways. Windows were starred with tape. Outdoor supplies were pulled inside or tied down. People voiced their concerns. No one knew what to expect. Were we overreacting, as we did last year? Or was this feeling of impending doom in our stomachs real? Who among us would the storm affect? Who would fall victim to Sandy’s severity; who would by encircled by grace?
Dusk fell; the city quickly grew quiet. Businesses closed their doors early to get employees through mass transit before service ended. Supplies were extinguished. Our final prepara-
The day was relative quiet, as the city was mostly locked down. No subway tunnels rumbled. No straphangers awaited buses that were not coming. Few cars remained unparked. We all sat waiting - come what may - braced for Hurricane Sandy’s landfall. The skies darkened. Rain drizzled. The
“By 2 am on Monday morning, all trains had been halted; all buses emptied of their passengers. Brooklyn and her surrounding boroughs were hushed.”
tions, complete. The city that never sleeps frightfully went to bed. Chilly breezes that began Saturday afternoon grew exponentially stronger. Light rain began to fall as the last buses started their final rounds. One by one, the train stations departed from their final stops. By 2 am on Monday morning, all trains had been halted; all buses emptied of their passengers. Brooklyn and her surrounding boroughs were hushed.
wind rumbled. And we hoped this was the worst we would face. The winds swept in. The tides rose. And a full moon - hidden behind menacing clouds - hung somewhere in the masked skies of storm. Curiosity made us brave and outwitted our good sense. We crept out of our safe places to watch horrors unfold. Rushing waters begin to splash against shorelines. The winds picked up, carrying surging water onto our streets. Along
the piers, water began sweeping things out of its path, ramming cars into poles and fences. And then the floodwaters invaded Red Hook. By 8 pm, the sea had ventured down more than a mile of Van Brunt Street spilling onto almost every block in the neighborhood. Richards Street went underwater. Floodwaters came pouring down Columbia Street, finding alleys and side streets as tributaries. Sackett Street in the Columbia Waterfront District provided another pathway for the enraged saltwater. We stood on dry ground. Moments later, we were standing in deepening pools, strengthening rivers. Water hurdled over the banks at the foot of Van Brunt, before catching up with the water that crossed over the Cruise Terminal. Red Hook’s main strip held water several feet high from the piers all the way past Hamilton Avenue. The flooding also submerged streets to the east and west, in-
Sunday, October 28 • Evacuations ordered in all area A areas, totaling 375,000 residents • 76 public shelters opened in schools • All subways shut down at 7 pm • City buses began their last runs at 9 pm. Monday, October 29 • NYC zoos and the NY Aquarium closed • Buses brought to Red Hook Houses to facilitate evacuation • Holland and Battery Tunnels closed at 2 pm • Tappan Zee Bridge closed at 4 pm
Page 6 Red Hook Star-Revue
Through November 16, 2012
Sandy unleashes on Red Hook page 2 cluding the low income houses and Valentino Pier. Water engulfed the Beard Street buildings where only minor flooding was expected. The tenants there laid out sandbags around their gates, which proved ineffective as more than six feet of water pushed its way into the buildings. The hurricane winds, strengthened by high tides and a full moon, confirmed strength be-
yond man’s innovation. When every avenue for floodwaters seemed to be filled, another horror struck. Storm surges from Manhattan’s West Side Highway flooded the entirety of the Battery Tunnel and began to vehemently gush into Brooklyn. Millions of gallons of displaced sea water was diverted into Red Hook and the Columbia Waterfront District. As the winds continued to rage, transformers answered with furious explosions. Their bright flashes of light could have been mistaken for lightening, their sa-
distic eruptions mistook for gunshots. We shuttered at the violence, as saltwater filled our boots. Blackness cloaked Red Hook. As basements flooded out, boilers and electrical equipment were extinguished. Power lines fell onto pedestrian pathways. Snapped tree limbs dangled among the wires. It would take more than flipping a switch to restore electricity. A few hours later, the floodwaters receded back into the ocean, leaving a path of debris and misfortune. All that remained were overflowing basements, eyelevel watermarks, and millions of dollars in ruins. Other than a couple blocks around Coffey Street, none were spared. While driving and walking through Red Hook at dawn, Tuesday became a calamity. Residents and business owners slept, knowing that only daylight could unmask the devastation. Cold bitter rain still lingered. The sea was visibly angry as it broke mightily against the tattered shore. The streets were eerily quiet and deserted for most of the morning. The lights were out. Elevators shut down by NYCHA could not be utilized. Businesses could not turn lights on to survey the interior messes. Residents woke up in their darkened homes on the first of many very cold mornings.
We drove to the foot of Conover Street to see David Sharps bailing out his Waterfront Museum. We saw a shattered doorway and the garbage strewn lobby of the Fairway apartments. We saw four cars that had been thrown against a fence. A container truck was turned over on its side in the auxiliary parking lot. We peeked inside the window of Sunny’s Bar and saw nothing where tables
“Did you see the boat on Beard Street?” and “Everything is ruined!” Camera phones snapped pictures of injured trees, leftover puddles and broken glass. Piles of sandbags lay helpless amid feet of water still flowing back to the sea. The sky continued to mockingly spit onto the saturated ground below our feet. The devastation continued into the front of Red Hook. Water-
“We peeked inside the window of Sunny’s Bar and saw nothing where tables and chairs once were.” and chairs once were. A stairwell to a basement was full of water with leaves and garbage floating on top. Bloated worms. A lone pickle. Shattered metal gates bent outward to the street - testimony to the force of the water’s rushing ebb. Concrete garbage cans donated by the O’Connell Organization piled up against each other on Pier 41. Fallen trees, including half of the beloved willow on Van Brunt and King, were uprooted. A powerboat was stranded crazily against Joe Sitt’s wall on Beard Street near IKEA. The back of Red Hook looked like it had been torn to pieces - shingle by shingle, limb from life. As people began to emerge, their stilled silence filled the streets. Shock, anguish and dismay lined solemn faces. No one could have imagined the tattered remnants Red Hook had been left in. The more time we spent roaming, the more disturbing the situation became. We began to overhear hushed conversations like,
marks lined the height of wreckage. Cars that usually neatly lined the streets were pushed out of parking spaces into weird angles. Many owners had opened their hoods and frantically attempted to salvage the ruins. Salt water degraded all of the electrical and heating equipment in almost every basement. At Coffey Park, trees had been stripped of their limbs. Branches that hadn’t completely fallen clung to useless power lines. Trash and debris littered the park and spilled out onto the surrounding sidewalks. People seemed unable to form words for what they were seeing. The Front of Red Hook was experiencing different challenges than the back, but they were equally as unfortunate. When daybreak ended, Red Hook turned sinister. Businesses fell back into the shadows. As did the interior hallways and stairwells in the Houses. And the devastated streets. The night sky was
Monday, October 29 • LaGuardia and JFK airpors closed until further notice. • FDR Drive closed from the Battery to 155th Street • Throgs Neck, Whitestone, Henry Hudson, Verrazano, George Washington, Marine Parkway, Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridges all closed at 7 pm • NYC Public Schools closed for the duration of the week • NY Aquarium experienced severe flooding.
• Seven subway tunnels flooded under the East River
Red Hook Star-Revue
Through November 16, 2012 Page 7
Sandy unleashes on Red Hook page 3 still cloaked with dripping clouds, thwarting even the illumination of moonlight. Jalopy, on the Columbia Waterfront District side of Hamilton Avenue, suffered no water damage. Geoff and Lynette were selfless over the next week, feeding Van Brunt volunteers, holding benefit concerts, and bringing gasoline in from out of state to supply generators to pump out basements. Before we returned back to the Hook Tuesday evening, we stopped by Jalopy to have some grub. Geoff spent the whole day cleaning up Sunny’s waterlogged bar. He described seeing banjos and guitars that he had repaired - now floating in water - many
Among the crowd, a woman offered her straight vodka to one of these two reporters as she danced around gleefully. She spoke of how the hurricane caused her $15,000 in damages, but she was much more excited about being alive. Across the street, a bright spotlight had been erected by the 76th Precinct. Lit candles burned in windows of a few homes. The rest of Red Hook fell back into the night. Wednesday morning, reality bitch-slapped us. The damage was immense, but complete, and recovery needed a plan. People congregated. Condolences were offered. Volunteers stepped up. And community
Van Brunt was full of the sounds of gas powered generators. Store owners were getting down to the business of trying to figure out
residents rallied around their flagpole. They agreed to meet every day to check in with each other every morning. They opted to meet
how to get back in business. Electricity was suddenly restored to a couple of blocks on Van Brunt “By Thursday, with power still off in most of the neighborhood around 1:30 pm. Fort Defiance’s Saint John hosted an afternoon barbecue in and temperatures beginning to dip, realization set in. People front of Home/made. The community fed the neighbors. They were starting to experience real need and discomfort - in used food that would have otherwise spoiled. They removed people from their own desolation and some cases, life threatening.” encouraged everyone to begin acting as one. Gourmet hamburgers along with potato salad, beans of them vintage instruments. He formed. hoped that they could be restored All along the streets, roots of and the occasional steak were again, but that was just a hope. the neighborhood joined forces. given out to all comers, which Later in the evening, the Ice Who is available to help? What included many of the volunteer House and Bait and Tackle were combined resources can we mus- workers who started to appeared both open. The Ice House oper- ter? Where do we start? How can to help. Rapidly growing piles of garated by candlelight and kept beer we provide resources and inforbage bags were also appearing, cold on leftover ice. Matty tended mation for the masses? lining the street with the first bar and talked sweetly with us Action began. signs of personal loss. So much while we had a cold one. Some Before any government agenpatrons busied themselves with cy could make its way onto the was destroyed by the seawater. board games; others sat in quiet streets of Red Hook, community It was heartbreaking - books, furniture, food. Some stores ordered reverie. was organizing, cleaning and reBait and Tackle used a genera- building. They also took great 20 foot dumpsters that were filled almost instantly. tor to power a few of their lights care to support each another. Between Lorraine and West and a small sound system. The By Wednesday afternoon, 9th Street on Columbia, Housing scene was a rollicking disco party.
every afternoon as well to get NYCHA’s attention - who showed up that day to rake leaves and clean the sidewalks. They checked on neighbors, started chains of information and refused to keep their voices muted. The local politicians joined them to provide information and to carry the local’s concerns back to governmental agencies. Their words conveyed tones of heartbreak and hope. Heartbreak and hope that Red Hook prayed would be heard. Red Hook Initiative set up warming places, donation locations, outsourced and cooked hot meals, and gave people a place to unite. Residents could charge their cell phones and were given flashlights, candles, clothing and food to take home. Volunteers organized through RHI from within and outside of Red Hook. As they are so very well known for, RHI created another ripple effect that caught the national spotlight. The sun went down. And the town grew black. But not without
• 111 homes destroyed in Breezy Point, Queens. Tuesday, October 30 • Alternate side of the street parking and meter rules suspended • President Obama declares New York and New Jersey major disaster areas • FDR Drive reopened • Bloomberg cancels Village Halloween Parade • NY Aquarium closed indefinitely • Bus service returned on a limited basis, rides free Tuesday and Wednesday
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Through November 16, 2012
Sandy unleashes on Red Hook page 4 a plan. And not without hope. That night we drove around the Red Hook Houses. We were struck by the utter darkness. We were struck by the lack of a police presence. We thought that if we lived here, we would have wanted the security of police cruisers to serve and protect. We did not see this - only a lone bright spotlight and a slew of closed stores on Lorraine Street. By Thursday, with power still off in most of the neighborhood and temperatures beginning to dip, realization set in. People were starting to experience real need and discomfort - in some cases, life threatening. The Red Hook Initiative was still providing what they could. They had become both a collection and distribution center. Donations started coming in from all parts of Brooklyn and beyond. Other charitable groups began partnering with RHI. What began as an ad hoc idea to help their neighbors grew into a large program that eventually forced them to approach NYCHA for use of the larger Miccio Center as a distribution center. The other main arena for food donations was the Coffey Street playground. National Guard troops finally arrived with truckloads of supplies from FEMA. Distribution of meal packets started at 2 pm. Lines of people from the neighboring Houses formed a long line to receive the goods. Volunteers trekked up fourteen flights of stairs to deliver hot meals and supplies to the elderly, disabled and anyone else who couldn’t make the darkened trip downstairs. Many residents came out with shopping carts to load up on supplies. Also at 2 pm, a meeting was
held at Kentler Art Gallery to help guide business owners to available governmental disaster relief services. The meeting was originally planned to be held at Baked, but with an overwhelming attendance of more than 100, the meeting was quickly moved to Kentler. Carlo Scissura, President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, gave a speech, answered questions and assigned two specific “Nydia Velazquez gave a status report of how she has been helping and what could be expected. She made herself available to anyone for the entirety of the meeting. Velmanette Montgomery said a few words, while her media rep seemed to be completely in shock over the conditions he had seen.”
personnel for Red Hook. Scissura also announced that the Department of Sanitation would be removing all garbage to abate costly commercial fees. The Department of Small Business Services has a $10 million fund that can allocate up to $15,000 for each applicants. Calculating losses for FEMA applications was also discussed.
Despite Red Hook’s progress, they were still without power and heat. On Friday morning, the Miccio Center on West 9th Street replaced RHI. Inside, volunteers from all parts of Brooklyn assisted with organizing masses of donations and set up a gymnasium with shopping bags full of necessities. In addition to food, flashlights, mops, bottles of baby food, water and batteries were available. Long lines amassed outside because people were let into the gym only a few at a time to prevent confusion. A volunteer had to constantly appease a crowd that was anxious to be let into the warmth. Other volunteers w a l k e d a r o u n d with bags of candy and snacks for the people waiting in line. Red Hook took their efforts a little further that Friday. Nurse practitioners were provided for basic medical attention through the Red Hook Initiative. Red Hook Recovers was founded by business owners. Community members began reaching outside to their circles of friends to bring in more support. Frustrations ran high, but resolve was imminent - just beyond fingertips. Behind the Miccio, a couple of grill-masters were grilling hamburgers. On a calm day, a short wait for a hot burger left
many hoping for a quick return to normalcy. It was, after all the first of November; we had survived October’s wrath. But by Friday night, residents returned to cold, dark homes. The brisk Saturday morning was the first sight of sunlight many had seen in nearly a week. Volunteers and donations were beginning to pour in. Con Edison had promised to restore power to thousands in Red Hook that day. Visible progress could be seen on every street corner. Optimism rose; people felt certain they were
on the brink of overcoming Sandy’s fury. Hope and prosperity blew in the breeze. But it was not to be. By day fall, Red Hook was still powerless. Daylight savings ended early that morning, as restless sleepers were given 60 extra minutes to lie cold and helpless in their beds. But when the sun rose, more could be accomplished. Volunteers spent most of Sunday carrying on. But it was time for answers. Answers to questions the residents could not solve without assistance. A community meeting was called at 4:30 pm at
• Most bridges reopen, Battery and Midtown tunnels remained closed • JFK resumed partial service Wednesday, October 31 • All NYC zoos and the Aquarium remain closed • Shuttle buses established between downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan.. • Mayor Bloomberg refuses to request National Guard aid for policing • President Obama suspends campaigning to visit NJ Sandy victims • Limited bus service restoree
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Through November 16, 2012 Page 9
Page 10 Red Hook Star-Revue
Nov. 1 - 15, 2012
Nov. 1 - 15, 2012
Red Hook Star-Revue Page 11
Sandy unleashes on Red Hook page 5 Visitation Church. As the sun was setting on what was to be the coldest night yet - the seventh night - volunteers were ushering donators out one door and attendees in another. The meeting expressed a growing sentiment of bitterness. Why had we been neglected? Rumors of FEMA, Red Cross and other organizations at Coney Island, Rockaway and Staten Island were spreading; where was ours? Hadn’t we held ourselves together, provided for ourselves long enough? Was anyone ever coming with assistance? “One of the hardest hit areas,” as CNN News called us, had staved off desperation as long as we could. Residents and business owners remained calm, expressing their concerns articulately. But the feeling of “we are in this together” was rapidly turning into “we are in this together - alone.” One gentleman said he lived in a darkened part of the build-
ing where power was still off. He didn’t understand why floodlights weren’t there. Instead they were set up on Columbia Street, which surrounds buildings where some electricity had been restored. Because of living in the dark, he was the last to know about food and clothing distribution efforts. By the time he found out, there was nothing left for him. A teenaged woman stated that the lobby of her building was still not clean, conditions were filthy and smelly. Where was Housing Authority? Monica Byrne of Home/made discussed a new organization that was raising funds for Red Hook businesses, Red Hook Recovers. Nydia Velazquez gave a status report of how she has been helping and what could be expected. She made herself available to anyone for the entirety of the meeting. Velmanette Montgomery said a few words, while her media rep
seemed to be completely in shock over the conditions he had seen. Nydia told the Star-Revue that the National Guard did not show up in Red Hook until Thursday because Mayor Bloomberg did not send them to us until that time. And even then, they were only allocated to distribute food while a growing need for medical attention continues to be inadequate. As Hurricane Sandy becomes legend in 2012, there will be a time when older versions of ourselves recount our experiences to younger generations. They will hear tales of how Red Hook once was. We will tell them how we turned a tragedy and possible death of a neighborhood into an opportunity. For now, there is much recovery ahead. We are still creating the story that must be told. Many questions remain unanswered, and most of Red Hook is still without power. But the lights will come on and we will move forward into a better tomorrow.
Thursday, November 1st • Nydia Velazquez requests specific City and Federal aid for Red Hook • National Guard begins FEMA food distribution in Coffey Park. • Passenger vehicles crossing the East River bridges between 6 am and midnight must have 3 occupants • DEP loosens restriction on businesses draining basements into sewers
Friday, November 2 • Teachers return to public schools, students still out • EPA issues specific instructions for Gowanus cleanup • Staten Island Ferry resumes service • Riverkeeper warned against mold • Aquarium announced that walruses and sea lions have survived. • HOV restrictions on East River bridges ended 5 pm
Saturday, November 3 • Customs back to work to facilitate gasoline shipments • Prospect Park reopens • A fund for hiring workers in cleanup announced • Bloomberg cancels NYC Marathon amid public outcry • 80% of NYC subway service restored Sunday, November 4 • Brad Lander announces polling location changes for Tuesday election • Bloomberg compared Sandy to Katrina • Board of Elections listed 60 polling places relocated due to Sandy •
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Through November 16, 2012
We are across from Coffey Park (718) 923-9880
Red Hook Star-Revue
Through November 16, 2012 Page 13
The Storm as seen through the Press Release Note: The following is culled through press releases received by the Star-Revue. It shows how the storm was received in real time. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28
WNBC: weather conditions will get worse, way worse, before they get better. Expect coastal flooding at high tide. Widespread power outages expected. Heavy rain and winds. Wildlife Conservation Society: All zoos and the Aquarium will be closed Monday and Tuesday. NY Times: Evacuations ordered in low lying communities, 76 shelters opened at public schools, all subways closing beginning at 7 pm, bus service suspended as of 9 pm, storm surges could reach 11 feet, many Red Hook residents are checking sump pumps, stores running low on batteries, gas stations running low on gas, snow a possibility, Joe Lhota warns that city could be without mass transit for as many as two full work days.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 29
Craig Hammerman, CB6 (1 pm): For anyone in Zone A, now is the time to leave, high tide tonight will result in substantial flooding. There are already 15 to 20 foot breaking waves along oceanfacing shorelines. This will likely result in some beach erosion. Final sweep of the NYCHA developments made in the morning with buses and public address systems. At-risk residents who have not as yet evacuated targeted. All city parks closed. All emergency rooms are open. Brad Lander: “every community event or program that I am aware of has been cancelled,” “Do not be tempted by the lack of rain this morning to underestimate the storm. The storm surge is already causing flooding in some areas, and will likely get much worse. And there is a very real possibility of widespread power outages.” Gowanus Canal Conservancy: Members meeting postponed to Nov. 13th.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30
Dan Wiley, community coordinator for Nydia Velasquez: “If you have resources to offer to individuals or businesses, one place to start is Red Hook Initiative (RHI) which still has power and was not directly impacted by flooding. As of mid-day today, RHI was open to individuals and businesses to come use their electricity, internet and computers, and a few volunteer initiatives are using their space as an informal headquarters. RHI is open tonight and serving food and mobilizing volunteers to help the businesses with clean up tomorrow. 76th Precinct update: All non-essential travel should be restricted. Alternate side parking regulations are suspended through Tuesday. All previously stated cancellations and closures are still in effect. Congressman Jerrold Nadler: “welcomes President Obama’s declaraion of major disaster for New York. Wildlife Conservation Society: The Coney Island Aquarium experienced severe flooding. The entire 14 acre facility
Page 14 Red Hook Star-Revue
was under water. CB 6: The Park Slope Civic Council has cancelled tomorrow night’s annual Halloween Parade. This event will not be rescheduled. There were 23 serious fires in New York City last night and this morning related to the storm. Coney Island Hospital has began evacuations. 326 NYCHA buildings have no power, affecting 29,000 apartments. NYC drinking water is safe. Surges from the storm have lessened, with a projected surge at the Battery of 8 feet. Last night’s peak at the Battery was 13.88 feet. Red Hook Initiative: Power is still out in the NYCHA Red Hook Houses. “We will stay in touch in the next few days and weeks to let you know how you can help the neighborhood recover”. Department of Transportation (DOT): FDR Drive reopened to traffic. Cobble Hill Association: announces that their Halloween Parade will proceed as scheduled. Brad Lander: “I have been amazed by this community’s response to this storm. People took their responsibilities to their community seriously - securing loose objects around their home before the storm, helping neighbors who suffered damage, and volunteering and donating at shelters today. That commitment to community is what makes this such a special place to live.”
Wednesday, October 31
Brian McCormick: All of the first floor businesses on Pier 41 have suffered considerable if not devastating damage, namely: Red Hook Winery, Mile End, Flickinger Glassworks, Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, Perch Ceramics. For a more complete list/damage assessment you should be in contact with Greg O’Connell. Tell him that I referred since they are a Greenway sponsor. Metal and Thread shop owners Derick and Denise and Homemade owners Lesiah and Monica will be great about getting any recovery campaign efforts out to bigger list on Van Brunt including helping with damage assessment. Once campaign (or even formal assessment) is underway, I would suggest putting an ad in Red Hook Star-Revue. It is very widely read in Red Hook and surrounding neighborhoods - Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill. RHI - We would like to thank everyone for their incredible support over the last two days. Thanks to many staff and volunteers, RHI has been serving hot meals and distributing supplies for residents without power. Our local businesses are also in need of support as the damage on the waterfront is severe. Fort Defiance: 1 - If anyone outside of Red Hook has a generator and/or pump they are not using, please bring it down to Red Hook today. We could really use it! Going to try again to pump out, couldn’t make a dent yesterday, as the water was still coming through the walls... 2 - We’re having a cookout! Come to the corner of Van Brunt and Pioneer tonight at 3 pm. A bunch of local restaurants are donating our produce and meals to the communal grill. We hate
to see good food go to waste. If you’ve got charcoal, bring it! DOT: NYC DOT and MTA/NYCT to establish dedicated shuttle bus routes between Brooklyn and Midtown Manhattan as storm repairs continue.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST
Brad Lander: While neighboring communities are on the way to normal following the storm, Red Hook is still in bad shape. The neighborhood, which includes thousands of public housing residents, is without power, meaning that people have been without running water, lights a refrigerator, or other electronics since Monday. Red Hook Initiative is coordinating and dispatching volunteers to where they are most needed in the neighborhood. Red Hook Initiative is also in need of donations. The following much needed items can be donated at their 767 Hicks Street office: non perishable food, baby formula, diapers, and baby wipes; ice; water; batteries; flashlights; candles’ toilet paper and other toiletries’ garbage bags; rubber gloves, cleaning supplies. Nydia Velazquez sent a letter she wrote to Barack Obama: “Dear Mr. President: Service centers must also be accessible and located in areas that have suffered the greatest amounts of damage. One such area is the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, which had five feet of seawater, flooding many of its small businesses and residents.” NYC Environmental Protection: “To assist in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, the NYC Dept of Environmental Protection today announced the permitting requirements for businesses and homeowners seeking to discharge water from flooded properties into the City’s sewer system are temporarily suspended.” Jalopy Theater: “You’re invited to come down to The Jalopy Theatre tonight for a free community old-time folk music jam! Let’s play music together and gather donations and supplies to help our neighbors and businesses down the road who were flooded by the Sandy storm surge. Bring your instrument to play at the jam and cleaning items to donate.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a press conference that on behalf of NY State he has requested one million meals and one million gallons of water from FEMA to assist residents. According to Cuomo, FEMA will begin to distribute the meals and water Thursday. The governor said that the state was getting reports of senior citizens and people in public housing running out of food.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2
From Carroll Gardens petition.blogspot: Last night was a catastrophic night at the Gowanus Canal, with the putrid waters of the highly contaminated federally Superfunded Gowanus Canal spilling out onto the streets of Carroll Gardens/ Gowanus creating what was arguably an environmental disaster. The Gowanus Canal soup spilled over all the way to Bond Street (on the Carroll Gardens side) bringing with it disgusting debris, and a horrible, petroleum like stench from an unknown source. The Third Street bridge was entirely submerged.” EPA: “The Gowanus Canal is contaminated by PCB’s, coal tar waste, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and bacteria from many years of industrial discharges, spills, storm water runoff and combined sewer overflows. If you live near the Gowanus Canal and experienced flooding, there are simple steps to follow: 1 - Removed or pump out standing water, 2 - Use bleach to kill germs, 3 - Wash clothes worn during cleanups in hot water and detergent. 76th Precinct: Please do not bring donations to your local police facility. Bring them to Resort World Casino (Formerly Aqueduct Racetrack). RHI: “It has been a devastating week in Red Hook, but the outpouring of generosity has been both moving and humbling. In a matter of hours our community center transformed into an emergency response center in the middle of the community. Thanks to many of our local community partners, we are beginning to disburse our efforts throughout the community, beginning tomorrow.”
FREE HURRICANE RELATED CLASSIFIEDS The Star-Revue will be printing free classifieds for donations of large items and serivces for hurricane victims, through December 31st. Please email your ad to firstname.lastname@example.org APARTMENTS WANTED
I now have 2 employees how are homeless because of the storm and need to find affordable places to live long term. Is anyone coordinating apartments or have leads on apartments. I’d hate for them to leave the neighborhood because the beauty of the shop is almost all our staff are. Contact Ron or Mary at Dry Dock
I’d like to help. I have experience working as a contractor and several years working as a construction manager. I saw a post on a twitter that RHI is looking for
people with contracting experience to help with the rebuilding. Is this still the case? I’d like to volunteer somewhere where I can use my skills/experience, so please let me know your needs at the moment. email@example.com It may be too early but if needed, I can offer Architectural services that may be needed. Please contact me if you have a need. I’d like to help. Sincerely, Barry Holden A.I.A. 106 Spring Street, NY, NY, 10012 P: 917-916-4375 www.holdenarch.com
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Through November 16, 2012
Sandy brings huge setbacks to area businesses by Theron Mohamad
fter last year’s storm fell flat, many thought that Hurricane Sandy would be all bluster and no bite. Widespread blackouts, flooded subways and gas shortages have made it clear that Mayor Bloomberg wasn’t crying wolf. Residents of Red Hook, Brooklyn were still draining basements and dreaming of hot water on Monday, a week after the super-storm made landfall. Extensive flooding has left local businesses with crippling losses, and some may not recover. “It’s a disaster,” said Charles Flickinger, 62, owner of Flickinger Glassworks on Pier 41. “My machinery is soaked in oil, and the motors for them might not work. I don’t know how I’ll open again.” Flickinger employs six people and has worked in Red Hook for 25 years. He estimated that the first dumpster-load of ruined materials and equipment were worth $75,000. His total costs could exceed $100,000. He said that Red Hook’s established businesses are likely to bounce back, but new firms may have a harder time. “There’s a lot of young businesses that have been here for less than a year,” he said. “They don’t have deep pockets, or any pockets at all.” There was still no electricity in much of southwest Red Hook. Windswept street signs dangled from slanted poles, and the hum of generators and sump pumps filled the air. Dozens of volunteers swept and hosed and carried out trash to help those affected. One hard-hit business was the Red Hook Winery on Pier 41. Flood water toppled dozens of wine barrels, ruining the fermentation of this year’s yield and de-
Red Hook Star-Revue
stroying several thousand cases worth of alcohol. “We’ve lost all our equipment, several vintages of wine, and our current vintage,” said Mark Snyder, 43, the winery’s owner. He estimated the hurricane’s damage to his operation at $1 - $2 million. “It would be virtually impossible to recover from that amount,” Snyder said. It could take him three years to return the business to its former profitability. Regardless, he said he would try his best to reopen. He estimated that 90 percent of Red Hook’s businesses were severely impacted by the hurricane. Perhaps one of the worst affected was Pochron Studios, a color-printing studio on Van Dyke Street. “We have nothing left,” said Julie Pochron, 42, who owns the company with her husband, Murphy. “This is all I’ve been doing since I was 20 years old.” Waterlogged computers and printers lined one of the interior walls. Drenched furniture and materials were piled up outside. The couple’s car had been washed into the building by the surging tides. Pochron said that the wiring, walls and furniture needed to be replaced, and it would take two weeks to clear everything up. Also, several of her company’s clients were shut down by the hurricane, so orders had been cancelled. She estimated it would cost $500,000 to start the business up again. She was hopeful that she could stay and rebuild, but that would mean taking out loans, seeking grants and fighting with insurers. If she does stay, it won’t be on the ground floor. Most of Red Hook’s businesses are one-
offs, but a few deliver to outlets elsewhere in the city. These faced a snowballing impact from the hurricane as deliveries were interrupted and inventory was lost. Half a dozen volunteers scrubbed steel trays and sprayed down ovens outside a production kitchen on Pier 41. Inside, the 7,000 square foot warehouse had been cleaned out; its shelves are now barren. “This was the hub,” said Noah Bernamoff, 30, coowner of the kitchen and two Jewish restaurants, Mile End Deli in Brooklyn and Mile End Sandwich in Manhattan.“We cured and smoked our own meats. We had our Barrels strewn about Red Hook Winery (Mohamad photo) own bakery that produced 14 different products, thousands of come of his insurance claims. units a day.” The few businesses that seemed spared Bernamoff opened the Red Hook facil- by the hurricane were doing their best ity in March to take control of both the to keep local spirits up. A sign outside supply and sale of his company’s food. He Brooklyn Crab on Reed Street advertised estimated $300,000 in losses, not includ- free food for anyone in need. Inside it was ing building repairs and replacing ovens, cozy and filled with welcoming chatter. refrigerators and other equipment. “I’m just making sure that people have “We’ve poured everything we’ve got into a warm place to go and warm food to this puppy dog,” said Bernamoff, who eat,” said Jason Lux, 34, the restaurant’s shares ownership of the deli chain with owner. his wife and a third partner. “Money, He said that Red Hook’s locals were doing time, commitment. It’s not the loss that their best to help those affected, whether you can touch, it’s the loss you can’t it was cleaning up debris or sharing gas and touch that’s more painful.” generators. He was even considering openHe was undecided on reopening in Red ing a grocery store downstairs, as several of Hook, saying it would depend on the out- the town’s supermarkets were closed.
Through November 16, 2012 Page 15
Page 16 Red Hook Star-Revue
Through November 16, 2012
Puppets invade the Jalopy Theater by Brian Clancy while making us laugh. The final piece performed in the tiny proscenium arch with arms unapologetically reaching in to move the cardboard cut out puppets around was the main event. This little vignette chronicles state repression through police brutality from ancient Rome through the middle ages to the present day. The rich capitalists recruit police from the masses to in turn keep those same masses poor and the few at top, rich. This theme of course has been topical for the last year or so with the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Having spoken with the performers after the show this is not something they have just caught onto in the wake of events in Zuccotti Park last year. They are all politically aware and have all been influenced by Bread and Puppet Theater, the Vermont based non-profit theater company that originated in New York’s Lower East Side in the 1960s. All four performers have long been performing pieces of this nature. Wilson’s interest was in politics through which she found Bread and Puppet Theater providing her with a means of expression for her dissatisfaction of the political status quo through Puppetry and Cabaret.
arrived at the Jalopy Tavern a few minutes before the performance of The Flying Donkey Puppet Theatre’s “A Police State Cabaret.” The show was directed in the small backyard behind the Tavern. The four performers were busy with preparations, applying makeup, constructing the stage and finding the optimum place for setting the lights. All the while, they were also trying to get as many spoonfuls as possible from the bowls of the artichoke and kale special provided by Jalopy. The simple stage was made from net curtains and table clothes. Lights were mounted in large tomato cans which illuminated the puppet playing area. They talked with me graciously and informed me that this was their last engagement of a tour that had taken them throughout the North East to Dorchester, NH; Brattleboro, VT; Montague, MA; Boston, MA and Providence, RI. Only two of the performers were the Flying Donkey Company, so they were billing themselves on the tour as the The Flying Donkey Theatre and Associates. Fantastic Frederica and Jason Hicks were the regulars of the troupe, while Sam Wilson and Greg Corbino completed the quartet. At this point the audience began to arrive but they were kept outside the staging area in the bar while the final preparations were being made. The first of the night’s many vignettes would be played out in the bar as a means of ushering the audience to the makeshift theatre in the backyard. There was a general lampoon of any candidate running for any office, but was made topical of the presidential debate held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana the night before. Greg Corbino sang and played accordion through the cantastoria and at its climax, led the procession of performers and audience into the backyard to their quaint stage. The show continued with all four performers playing an assortment of trombones and harmonicas with cardboard cutout cherries on their heads while being harassed by tiny cardboard police. Jason and Frederica then went on to play out a tale of love with clever use of a suitcase full of props which takes a subversive turn when the lovers’ wine bottle suddenly becomes a molotov cocktail.
Red Hook Star-Revue
The puppets performed in front of a hand-painted screen. (photo by Clancy)
One of the show’s lighter pieces followed with Greg Corbino performing a Bette Midler favorite “Otto Titzling” in the form of a cantastoria. Corbino warns us that this is a cautionary tale, but not the one we might expect. It goes
has ideas worth spreading, not least of which is the disappointment our generation feels that Hoverboards have still not been invented. Delivering her supposed inspirational talk about the great technological advances of our time,
“It goes on to inform us of how the brassiere came into existence after a Frenchman named Phillipe DeBrassiere stole and patented the idea of German Inventor, Otto Titzling. The song ended with, “the result
Their show was a suggested $5, but not one would be turned away for lack of funds. There message here is clear too: art and theatre are not only the privilege of those with money; it is for everyone. When a performer is willing to perform for no reward, they have already won my respect and admiration. The Flying Donkey Puppet Theatre’s “A Police State Cabaret” is wholly deserving of that. The show ended with a paper scroll being rolled across the tiny stage reading “We are the people not the enemy.” The slogan, Frederica told me, was adopted from the student demonstration which turned violent in Barcelona last February. They used it as the core idea for this new show. After the show Frederica also said that we all need to be like the Catalan students, that we need to see more manifestations as she calls it - to manifest not protest - to declare our position peacefully, to express our dissatisfaction with how things are, and to remind our elected representatives that we are the people not the enemy.
of this swindle is pointedly clear - do you buy a tit-sling
or do you buy a brassiere.”
Red Hook StarªRevue SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
on to inform us of how the brassiere came into existence after a Frenchman named Phillipe DeBrassiere stole and patented the idea of German Inventor, Otto Titzling. The song ended with, “the result of this swindle is pointedly clear - do you buy a tit-sling or do you buy a brassiere.” The Cantastoria is a theatrical form where the performer sings the story while gesturing to the series of images painted on a large erected canvas. Sam Wilson performed a parody on the Ted Talks entitled “The Ned Talks in Cantastoria.” She
she instead highlights the hypocrisy of a society that allows and facilitates the continued investment of billions in military proliferation while the funding for critical issues such as cancer research has been cut. Wilson is indeed politically aware. She chooses to perform the piece in a bathroom with a glass of wine in hand to critique her own hypocrisy for using such technological devices as a cell phone while she denounces such devices as a means for governments to monitor and control the population. Wilson gave us plenty to think about
Through November 16, 2012 Page 17
The Gowanus overflows story and photos by Ben Abelman
hat Pre-Sandy Monday was great. After confirming that even if I had made my way to work without public transportation my boss would send me home, I decided that it was time to stop flipping between the two television stations that my new amplified TV antenna brought into my home and go observe my local coast line. I left my house and started walking down to the lowlands of the Gowanus Canal. It was 10 am and the news reported that it was high tide. I wanted to see how high this toxic tide was. Standing on the 3rd Street Bridge, the canal was different. That Pre-Sandy Monday, the Gowanus - usually the darkest green with a oily sheen - was a tropical aquamarine swelling to the bulkhead of the canal. It looked clean, but I knew that if it was this high this early, the evenings high tide would push the Superfund waters up into the surrounding neighborhood. But how high would the tide be? As morning turned to afternoon, I did as I am sure many New Yorkers did; I cooked large quantities of food, listened, watched, read any and all news about the pending freakish storm and opened a bottle of wine a little earlier than 5 pm. As the amorphic storm pushed into the shores of New Jersey and high tide for New York Harbor approached, I had had enough of people telling me what was happening outside my window. Fueled by a bottle of wine my girlfriend, and I suited up for the inadvisable trip out into our tree lined street and headed down to the Gowa nus. This is what we saw:
After running through a gauntlet of swaying trees we found the Gowanus waters pushing up to about 100 feet of 3rd Avenue, though shallow enough for a Con Edison Truck to pass (at least on East side of the 3rd Street Bridge)
Answer to previous puzzle
The Gowanus Canal at high tide the Monday morning that Sandy struck the region
Water rising on 3rd Street high enough to cover the Whole Foods Site on the other side of the barriers.
Red Hook StarªRevue
STAR-REVUE PUZZLER #19 by George Fiala ACROSS 1. 4. 8. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 20. 22. 24. 25. 27. 31. 33. 34. 36. 37. 40. 43. 44. 46. 47. 49. 52. 55. 57. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Grass square “Bitches _____” Miles Davis LP AM or FM HTC phone Land of lassies Toward the mouth Auto Field mouse Performances Sparky or Lovett Boundary Family, class or kind Like a fox Vinyl offering Sweetums Alternate passage in a score Online chuckle Kindness (abbr) Geological span Ryan or Tatum Setting up Subway organization (abbr) “_____ Abner” Age units Private jet Oklahoma town Ancient measure used for liquid Between am and pm With Dave, an R&B duo New Rochelle college Layer of the brain (with mater) Gun rights org. Ballet bird Bodies of salt water Number of little indians
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The Gowanus Canal flooding a truck parking lot on 6th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
Financial regulatory org. Elongated circle Previn or Schary Cuts at an angle Brazilian hot spot Perry creator Unwelcome plants One above par Bush’s press secretary
10. 11. 19. 21. 23. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 32. 35. 38.
Horse or scolder Tooth man abbr. Backtalk (slang) “Day-___” ____ Kat candy bar Wizard of Oz character Twinge Scheme Chaplin’s wife Bullfighter’s shout Santa’s helper Six, in Milan Weeps Greg or Duane
39. 41. 42. 45. 48. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 56. 58.
Be untruthful Sports venues Internet portal Returns to earth Womanizer Common contraction Challenge Put down Skirmish Prefix with gram Openings Mouse alternative?
Through November 16, 2012
Before the storm:
n Thursday, October 22nd, many Red Hook luminaries came out to celebrate the Red Hook Initiative (RHI). The Intercourse, Dustin Yellin's art warehouse on Imlay Street, was host to A Taste of Red Hook, RHI's 5th annual fundraiser. Tables were set up throughout the cavernous space. Outside, some of Red Hook's top restaurants set up tables in the balmy autumn evening. Bars and food manufacturers were also represented, giving out samples of both Sorrel to drink and key lime pie to eat. Guests were given free rein to explore Yellin's art workspace, where he encourages creativity to happen out in the open.
RHI’s Jill Eisenhard.
Among the guests we spotted were John McGettrick, Gregory T. O'Connell, David Trimble, Jeremy Pickett, Judge Alex Calabrese, Victoria Hagman, and of course RHI's Jill Eisenhard, who made a heartfelt speech thanking all the guests on the occasion of their tenth anniversary.
Bill Durney who is opening up a pit joint next to the Brooklyn Crab chats up StarRevue publisher Kimberly Gail Price.
All Hallows Eve Yes, there were Halloween celebrations before Sandy, mostly the weekend before. The Red Hook Star-Revue spent Saturday, October 27th at various celebrations. Above we enter Prospect Park in costume. Above right we encounter a beautiful young witch at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Below right we find Merlin entertaining visitors at a special Prospect Park Halloween gala and bottom right we encounter royalty in Carroll Gardens at the Sugar Shop on Baltic Street. (Star-Revue photos)
Dustin Yellin, who donated his space for the event, with his friend David Trimble , who runs the Red Hook Crit.
Star-Revue Classifieds Hair Dresser with Following.Licensed hairdresser needed for huge opportunity in very modern and elegant Van Brunt Street Salon.Opposite PS Freelance Writers: The Red Hook Star-Revue is 15.Call Nayda at 718 935-0596 for more details. looking for freelance writers for both the arts and news sections.We want to buttress our news as well Day or afternoon grill man new diner on Columbia as local theater and arts coverage.Email Kimberly @ Street seeks a grill man with diner experience.Please call 718 855-1400.Columbia Street Diner. redhookstar.com
Licensed Electrical Contractors Commercial • Residential • Industrial Free Estimates
No job too big or too small Toilets, Boilers, Heating, Faucets, Hot Water Heaters, Pool Heaters.
B & D HEATING 507 Court Street 718 625-1396
Violations Removed All Types of Wiring Emergency Service
Outside Salesperson: The Red Hook Star-Revue seeks an ambitious person who likes to walk, talk and make friends in the neighborhood to sell display advertising.Commission to start - work around your hours, no pressure.Call 718 624-5568 and speak to Kimberly or George.
COOL HAND MOVERS Friendly local guys that can relocate your life, or just shlep your new couch from Ikea.We’ll show up on time, in a truck or van if necessary, and basically kick ass -- you might even
EMERGENCY SERVICE 137 King Street Brooklyn, NY 11231 Fax: (718) 935-0887
Vito Liotine (718) 625-1995 (718) 625-0867 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: Noon to 10:30 pm Tues.to Thurs.Noon to 11pm Friday.4pm to 11pm Saturday & 4pm to 10:30pm Sunday.
Red Hook Star-Revue
Through November 16, 2012 Page 19
Red Hook StarªRevue FOOD
Daily hot meals
VISITATION CHURCH 98 Richards, (718) 624-1572 Hours: 10 am - sundown CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH, 773 Hicks Street at West 9th Street (718) 522-5159
Non-emergency medical aid
RED HOOK INITIATIVE: 767 Hicks Street at West 9th Street, (718) 858-6782 http://rhicenter.org 10 am-9 pm.
Drop-off and Pick-up Locations
RED HOOK INITIATIVE: 767 Hicks Street at West 9th Street http://rhicenter. org 10 am-9 pm. Hot meals should be delivered here. Please tell us when you will be arriving. Email email@example.com or call (718) 858-6782 GOOD SHEPHERD SERVICES, 173 Conover Street or Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 98 Richards Street/ Verona Street: 10 am-5 pm Canned Food/ Non-perishables/Flashlights/Candles/ Blankets. Friends of the CARROLL GARDENS LIBRARY is proud to take part in collection efforts for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Hurricane Relief. Starting Thursday, November 8th to November 23rd, you may drop off the items listed below at the Carroll Gardens Library (396 Clinton Street at Union Street
gasoline. 10 am - 5 pm
Overnight Warming Shelter
JOHN JAY HIGH SCHOOL, 237 Seventh Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets
351 VAN BRUNT – Residents and Small Businesses Support and Paperwork Assistance: FEMA, food stamp forms, etc. FEMA ASSISTANCE visit FEMA.gov/ Sandy for information on how to apply for federal assistance, tips on returning home and updates on federal programs in your area. If you don’t have access to the Internet, please call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) TTY 1-800-462-7585. Before you call, be sure to have the following information ready: Address of affected property; Insurance information; Social Security number. Once you have applied for assistance, read these five next steps: http://www. fema.gov/blog/2012-11-02/sandy-update5-next-step-after-you-register-disasterassistance NYC DISASTER ASSISTANCE OFFICES are now open in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Find out more information http://www.nyc.gov/html/ misc/html/2012/dasc.html or http://www. nyc.gov/html/oem/html/home/home.shtml REPORTING DAMAGE TO NYC To qualify for disaster assistance, the city must report the extent of the damage to individual properties and business. Information: http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/ nycsevereweather/damage_form.shtml
Blankets, Water & Food Con Edison Electric COFFEY PARK (85 Richards Street Power Outage between King and Verona Streets) Information JOSEPH MICCIO COMMUNITY CENTER (718) 453-1296 110 West 9th Street between Henry St & Hamilton Ave Hours: 10 am-1 pm 2:30-6 pm
SOUTH BROOKLYN COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL (718) 4221900 173 Conover Street, corner of Wolcott
402 VAN BRUNT Coordinating volunteer clean-up efforts. Contact if you need volunteers to help you or to pick up or to drop off cleaning supplies, water pumps, generators,
858-6782 http://rhicenter.org 10 am-9 pm
NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Office Updates http://www.nyc.gov Twitter: https:// twitter.com/NYCMayorsOffice NY STATE http://www.governor. ny.gov/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/NYGovCuomo DANIEL SQUADRON http://squadron.nysenate.gov, (212) 298-5565 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter: @DanielSquadron SARA GONZÁLEZ http://council. nyc.gov/d38/html/members/home.shtml 5601 5th Ave S-2, Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 439-9012
Call 1-888-469-7365 & find jobs helping clean up storm-affected areas: http://bit. ly/R2qeNE
Useful phone numbers for people affected by Hurricane Sandy in any way:
FEMA 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA will provide up to $300 in food stamps for groceries) IRS (personal loss) ex: cars 1-800-8291040 DISASTER ASSISTANCE UNEMPLOYMENT 1-888-209-8124 MEDICAID, HEALTH PLUS 1-855693-6765 (Child Health Plus) (NY Health Options) FOOD STAMPS 1-718-557-1399 (Also known as The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) LOSS OF POWER during disaster 1-800-621-3362
HURRICANE UPDATE RED HOOK, BROOKLYN
November 7, 2012
ALERTS! WEATHER: Coastal Flood Warning until Thu, 6 a.m. EST. High Wind Warning until Thu, 4 a.m. EST. High Surf Advisory Thu, 6 am EST. Wed.11/7: 41 H / 35 L Rain and wind Thurs.11/8: 42 H / 34 L: Rain, snow mix, and wind Fri. 11/9: 49 H / 38 L: Sunny RECOVERY UPDATES The National Guard has a presence in Red Hook's Coffee Park (85 Richards Street) distributing basic supplies. The National Army Corps of Engineers has teamed up with The New York City Department of Environmental Protection to solve the reflooding of basements after pump out. FEMA has a presence on the ground in Red Hook with Recovery Assistance Teams. VOLUNTEER SERVICES Volunteer services will be limited on Wed. 11/7 and Thurs.11/8 due to the storm. Food & Meal Centers
Volunteer Check In & Sign Up
Calvary Baptist Church: 773 Hicks St. 12 p.m. & 5 p.m.
FDR HS: 5800 20 Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11204 (All Populations)
305 Van Brunt (beginning on Thursday, 11/8)
Report power outages at www.coned.com or call 1-800-752-6633
Brooklyn Crab: 12 p.m. & 5 p.m. (Wed. 11/7 - Fri. 11/9 )
Brooklyn Tech HS: 29 Fort Greene Pl, (Special Medical Needs Only)
Coffey Park at Richards: 9 - 12 p.m.
Park Slope Armory: 361 15 St, (Special Medical Needs Only)
If you smell a leak, call 911. For updates, www.nationalgridus.com.
SANDY RECOVERY UPDATES
Visitation Church: 98 Richard St, Blankets, Diapers 10 – 5 pm Good Shepherd: 173 Conover St. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Wed. 11/7 - Fri. 11/9 Warming Centers Good Shepherd:173 Conover St., Wed., 11/7 - Fri., 11/9, 11 am - 4 pm
Showers New York Sports Club, 324 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY YMCA: 357 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY HOURS (for both locations above): MThurs. 5:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Fri. 5:30 10 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Red Hook Library: 7 Wolcott St., 10 am – 5 pm Wed.; 10 am – 8 pm on Thurs. and Fri.
Addabbo Family Health Center: 120 Richards St. Opens at 9 a.m. More details to come! Mobile Medical: Richards at Coffey Park; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Legal Legal Aid at Red Hook Initiative: 767 Hicks St. 10 – 9 pm. Free Charging Mobile Units: Richards at Coffey Park Baked, 359 Van Brunt 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Botta de Vino, 357 Van Brunt, until 7 p.m.
RED HOOK RECOVERS: https:// redhook.recovers.org or (347) 770-1528
This list has been compiled and distributed by community volunteers all information has been verified accurate to the best of our ability at the time of printing and is subject to change. We are actively gathering information on community resources. We would greatly appreciate any additional information that would be helpful to the Red Hook community during recovery.
RED HOOK INITIATIVE: 767 Hicks Street at West 9th Street (718)
101 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 email@example.com Page 20 Red Hook Star-Revue
718 624-5568 www.RedHookStar.com Through November 16, 2012