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Local News November 16, 2012  RSS feed

News From The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association

Still Feeling The Effects Of Sandy
Alexander Blenkinsopp

Life is not back to normal in South Queens.

The effects of Hurricane Sandy continue to be felt by the residents of Woodhaven and nearby neighborhoods.

Long lines for gas are still the norm, causing more than a few drivers to feel anxious as their fuel dials approached “empty.” Some Woodhaven residents continue to worry about fallen trees on their streets or leaning against their homes. Nearly two weeks after the storm, some Woodhaven residents were still grappling with outages to their electricity or telephones.

Yet Woodhaven has also shown itself to be remarkably fortunate and generous.

There have been so many sad sights and so much gut-wrenching news. We know our neighbors in Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, and elsewhere were flooded and are now throwing away many of their possessions. We know they’ve had to spend weeks without electricity or heat, even as the temperature dropped.

We know our neighbors in Broad Channel too often lost everything to waters that invaded their homes, and that their community has a long recovery ahead of them.

We have seen the terrible scenes of blocks of houses burned down in Belle Harbor and Breezy Point, of the Rockaway boardwalk demolished, of the months of rebuilding facing thousands of people. We know that nearly a dozen Queens residents have died from the storm.

Indeed, life is not back to normal.

But we in Woodhaven are doing what we can to restore normalcy in our area. And in the process, we have been reminded how truly remarkable and resilient the people of South Queens are.

Last week, this newspaper reported on the amazing generosity of Woodhaven’s residents and friends, which enabled the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association to raise thousands of dollars and dozens of car-loads of food, supplies, clothing, and other essentials for the communities that were harder-hit than we were. It was inspiring how many people came together and worked so hard for no reason other than to help those in need.

Last Friday, the generosity continued when the WRBA held a “flashlight vigil.” Nearly 120 flashby lights were donated in just 30 minutes, for the benefit of those who still cannot flip a light switch to see where they’re going at night.

The vigil was held at the corner of Forest Parkway and Jamaica Avenue, where our iconic Woodhaven Christmas tree used to stand until it was felled by Sandy—another reminder that we were hit, but that it could have been so much worse.

The Forest Park Carousel, which also suffered a blow when a tree fell on its roof, appears to have been repaired and seems free of any serious damage.

In Woodhaven, another lasting impact of Hurricane Sandy is that more people will know that our neighborhood is populated by goodhearted, selfless individuals who care about where they live. We hope that this will galvanize others to get involved with their community and with the WRBA in the future. And we also hope that those in the devastated neighborhoods nearby know that they have had our support and prayers.

Our Hurricane Sandy relief efforts are just the most recent example of the work of the WRBA, which consists entirely of volunteers. To learn more about us and our community, we urge you to attend the WRBA’s next Town Hall. It will occur this Saturday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m. at the Woodhaven Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, located at 78-15 Jamaica Ave.

Life might not be back to normal in South Queens, but that won’t stop Woodhaven residents’ ongoing efforts to make our community a better place to live.

Editor’s note: Blenkinsopp is a member of Community Board 9 and director of communications for the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. For more information on the WRBA, visit www.woodhaven-nyc.org.