The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Post Sandy

November 9, 2012 , , , ,

Lately, it’s been difficult in NYC. That comes as no surprise with the ashes of Sandy’s wrath scattered from borough to borough. This week, Monday, I emerged unscathed from a week inside my little apartment on the hill.

Electricity, gas, running water and Internet kept on chugging and I, not for one moment, took any of it for granted. I found it important to stay put, off the roads, breathing as little air as possible and using the least amount of resources I needed. I bought a pumpkin and ate the entire thing. I cooked, cleaned, worked, wrote, checked in with friends who started preferring real phone voices to texts and started watching Game of Thrones.

Others were not so lucky. It’s possible to stay removed from the situation if you avoid every form of communication ever created. Work and Game of Thrones helped so much so that it took me until Thursday to realize just how bad things were. Once I logged onto twitter, it was all over.


Now it’s almost two weeks after the storm. In the process of the storm, the aftermath, the cleanup, I have been completely wow’d by the way in which New Yorkers have come together to help one another out.

I have loved this city since before I even came here. But when asked, “Why?” I often have a hard time giving a reason. Its crowded, too expensive, and please do not forget dirty. Sometimes, it’s impossible to give a reason for staying. Love is blind and more often than not, this city takes more than it can give.

But when it gives, you will not forget. This week, I’ve watched thousands mobilize to help rebuild and I am completely and utterly blown away by the kindness and support every New Yorker has shown to those in need. I’ve watched hurricanes from afar, Katrina burned into my memory like a stab through the heart. Here it happened in my back yard and never before have I seen people come together for one another like they have over the past 10 days. They may elbow you in the back and steal your seat on the subway, but when your house is taken away from you, it’s nice to know they’ll be there to help you fix it or at least send you a pizza so you can eat while you work.


Long story short, there’s still a lot to do. I am lucky enough to work for a compassionate woman who gave us a day we could use this week to volunteer. Obviously, the weekends will be overrun with volunteers so if you can take a weekday, please do so.It’s needed.

Last week I made it to Red Hook and yesterday, the Park Slope Armory. Red Hook is still in dire need of help and the Red Hook Initiative is the best place to go if you have time to spare. Their organization is awe-inspiring and has been gathering churches in the area to work as warming centers and distribution points. The Red Hook companies now, more than ever, need your support. (Red Hook Wine! Steve’s Key Lime Pies!)

The Armory is currently being used as a medical facility housing the elderly from assisted living homes in Far Rockaway. There’s a short 20 minute orientation and you should be put to work within 30 minutes.

If not, give blood. There is a sever shortage. The storm caused over 300 blood drives to be canceled, which means locations are scrambling to make up the time. Check here to find your closest location.

There are so, so, so many ways to donate your time or money to help. Man power, warm food, cleaning supplies, blood. And when all else fails, there’s Sylvia Plath… “the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you…”

The Breukelen Life

PS. You can buy the T-shirt Here. 100% of the profit goes to Hurricane Sandy relief programs.


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