We’re still shellshocked by just how powerful the perfect storm formerly known as Hurricane Sandy was on the New York City area. The photos in this newspaper demonstrate only a fraction of the devastation her mighty winds and strong surf brought to the Northeast U.S.
When you look at what happened in Breezy Point and other neighborhoods in the Rockaways, and the images on TV of the carnage wrought on the Long Island and New Jersey coasts, it makes all the power outages and fallen trees look rather pale by comparison.
Many of us in central Queens were inconvenienced by down utility lines and disrupted transportation services, but let’s be honest: we dodged a mighty bullet. Others not too far from us weren’t as fortunate; many lost everything.
But as Hurricane Sandy arrived—and in the days since she brought her tumult upon this great city—we saw the signature strength and resililence which New Yorkers have demonstrated in times of crisis again and again.
We saw firefighters and police officers rush to the rescue of victims of floods and fires at the height of the storm, even in areas of the city that were ordered evacuated but still populated.
We saw volunteers converge upon city shelters to comfort those displaced by the storm.
We saw, and continue to see, organizations and communities banding together to provide whatever relief they can to those who were left homeless or without supplies.
And we witnessed government agencies and elected officials on all levels working cooperatively to not only assist the storm victims, but to also try to bring some semblance of normalcy back as quickly as possible.
What takes man a lifetime to build can be destroyed by Mother Nature in a moment. That’s a lesson learned from this crisis. Without question, the recovery from the storm will be long and hard. It will take many months, perhaps years, for entire communities to be rebuilt.
But we will rebuild—and when we rebuild, we should make our city and our neighborhoods stronger than they were before Sandy.
With the federal government’s blessing, billions of dollars in disaster aid will be coming New York’s way. Let’s use those resources to our fullest extent and modernize our communities not only to prevent them from devastation by a future disaster, but also to re-energize and strengthen our economy.
Let us update our subway system and find ways to make them less vulnerable to flooding. Let us shore up our waterfronts with stronger seawalls and drainage systems. Let us expand beaches and dunes to add another line of defense on our coastlines.
And let us finally strengthen the utility grids of Queens, burying as many power, telephone and cable lines as we can, and fortifying the overhead wires where necessary.
In the meantime, let each of us do our part to help residents directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy get back on their feet. We encourage all of our readers to donate what they can—in cash, time, goods or even blood—to relief organizations helping our neighbors in the Rockaways, Long Island and New Jersey. More information can be found on Page 23.
Thank you to all who have helped thus far, and thanks to all who will help in the days and weeks to come.