When Hurricane Sandy Hits Home

November 11, 2012 by

Photo: Mario Tama, Getty Images.

It’s a beautiful day today, clear skies with temps in the high 60s–so different from two weeks ago when Hurricane Sandy slammed our New York Metropolitan and outlying areas. It seems like a heartbeat ago that so many lives, homes, and businesses were swept away in the tidal surges, destroyed in the resulting fires, and beneath the fallen trees. Many are at this moment still without power or heat and it’s getting cold here in the Northeast.

At Hoboken, New Jersey taxi terminal. Charles Sykes, AP.

Three above photos via Occupy Sandy.

Sandy Hits Home
My family and I were among the fortunate who were only without power and hot water for four days, a mere inconvenience compared to what others have had to and continue to suffer.

Our street. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Whether or not you knew the victims personally, it is heartbreaking to hear the stories of devastating loss. We know people who are homeless, moving from one rented spot to another while they struggle to complete piles of insurance forms, all the while trying to maintain the rest of their disrupted lives.

My friend surveys the remains of a neighbor’s home in Fairfield, CT. Photo: Moon PR.

We have other friends who, when ordered to evacuate, were told by police “you don’t have time to get your car keys! run up the street!” Their home narrowly escaped the fire that took three of their neighbor’s homes, but for the moment they are still without gas and will be living with the strong smell of smoke for months to come.

After staying in four different hotels, another friend came home just in time for the post-hurricane Nor’easter that brought almost a foot of snow to her already devastated town. She’s been sleeping in her winter coat as her home is still without heat, but she feels really lucky that her house is still standing–albeit amid the rubble of neighboring houses. For residents of Staten Island, Breezy Point, and Far Rockaway in Queens, parts of New Jersey and other severely hit areas, it will be a very long time before life even begins to resemble normal.

When the New York Marathon was canceled, many runners volunteered. Photo: Andrees Latif, Reuters.

How You Can Help
Established relief agencies and generous volunteers (many of whom were victims themselves) have pitched in to help those affected by this devastating storm. Many are asking what they can do to help. Here is how you can volunteer or make a donation to a relief charity to support storm-hit businesses and communities.

Charity Navigator
This site is a good resource for comparing the various relief organizations. They rate charities by evaluating fundamental areas of performance like the organization’s financial health, accountability, and transparency. The ratings are meant to indicate how efficiently a charity will use donor support today, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time, as well as the particular charity’s level of commitment to accountability and transparency.

Donate Today, Save Tomorrow
This online platform built by and unveiled today by Gilt.com, the members-only shopping site, allows you to donate funds to your choice of six supporting charities and receive a voucher for a special offer from anyone participating business–some of whom were affected by the storm.

Donating Your “Time, Passion, and Skills”
If you are in the local area and would like to volunteer your time, clothing, goods, or even blood–check out the New York City government’s service site, NYC Service. This site also hooks you up to the proper local distribution channels.

Photos: Unless otherwise noted, from AP.


  1. Catherine W said:

    Thanks for this. I didn’t realize how bad Connecticut was hit.

    — November 11, 2012 @ 13:28

  2. Georgia said:

    Occupy Sandy has an excellent and trusted Amazon Registry.

    — November 11, 2012 @ 20:44

  3. San Diego Home Designer said:

    Sad to see these photos. But there’s only one thing in mind amidst all the tragedies happening worldwide now. Hurricane Sandy was indeed an eye opener for all us in terms of how to better prepare for a disaster. The question now is, how prepared are we in times like these?

    — November 12, 2012 @ 05:30

  4. Lynn said:

    This is a really powerful post, Robin. The first image really hit me hard. Thanks for your thoughts.

    — November 12, 2012 @ 19:14

  5. Robin Plaskoff Horton said:

    Thanks Lynn, let’s think positive thoughts for all the affected by this.

    — November 12, 2012 @ 21:09

  6. Robin Plaskoff Horton said:

    Thanks Lynn, hard to witness…

    — November 18, 2012 @ 18:07

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