APT: DUMBO + Places + Travels

The next day.

This is the final set of photos I took before leaving Brooklyn last night. Our building in DUMBO is still off-limits per the FDNY—extensive flooding everything on the lower levels means must be completely rebuilt and inspected by ConEd before the power can be restored and residents can move back in. Our apartment is on the 9th floor and was thankfully unaffected, but the apartments at ground level were destroyed. We were allowed back in to retrieve belongings (and empty the refrigerator!), but we have no idea when the building will be habitable again.

We are, of course, very fortunate to have our house up in Newburgh in addition to the apartment, so that’s where we are now. We brought Jen from Honey Kennedy (currently visiting from Portland—possibly the worst “vacation” ever!) along with us, and everything is really fine up here. There are some downed trees and the waterfront restaurants were flooded, but it seems the Hudson Valley was spared the damage that affected New York City, New Jersey and other points south. We weren’t so lucky up here during Irene! Metro-North trains aren’t running yet (nor are subways between Manhattan and Brooklyn), so I have no way to get to work from Newburgh. It’s strange to feel so immobile.

I took these photos on the apartment roof deck last night at around 8PM—worth climbing 10 flights of stairs in the dark to take them. It’s so strange to see the lower Manhattan skyline so dark—the only lights are those powered by generators. When I walked down to the street level, I noticed that the Empire State Building was perfectly framed—and perfectly illuminated—beneath the Manhattan Bridge. I’m such a cynical person by nature, but I’d be lying if I said the sight didn’t put a lump in my throat.

Now that I’ve caught up on news and have seen the complete devastation that’s occurred in in areas like Breezy Point in the Rockaways and Seaside Heights on the Jersey shore, I feel even more grateful to have escaped without harm. Having to wait for electricity and trains is nothing next to people who have lost everything, including their homes.

Waiting for Sandy (Sunday mid-afternoon)
Still waiting (Monday, early afternoon)
Sandy, during (Monday, 6:00–8:30PM)

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  • Reply Danielle November 1, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Again, such beautiful photos – your Jane’s Carousel ones were stunning. These posts are what I’ve been following more than anything during the whole storm – the news can be so overhyped and detached (Look at all the horrible destruction!! More dreadful things coming up after the break!!), your posts are real and sad and beautiful and sensible in the face of the superstorm. Thanks for keeping it real and sharing your stories and pictures.

    • Anna @ D16 November 1, 2012 at 1:45 am

      I understand what you’re saying, but it really isn’t hype—and my photo don’t paint anything resembling the true level of destruction that has occurred here. The images you see of lower Manhattan, the New Jersey shoreline, and Breezy Point in Queens are very, very real. The approach to coverage by the media may be sensationalized, but don’t let my photos fool you. What you see here is nothing—DUMBO got off easy compared to many other areas.

  • Reply Jules November 1, 2012 at 1:20 am

    As always, your pictures are lovely. I like Danielle’s comment, and how she described them.

    In a situation like this, where do people without second homes go? How can they afford it? I assume they must continue to pay rent, even though their residence is uninhabitable. Is this something renter’s insurance would cover, either the rent or the cost of a temporary dwelling? I’m sorry to sound so ignorant, but here in CA renter’s insurance isn’t popular, or required. (At least I don’t think it is.) I believe it’s required in NYC?

    These little details, the small minutia of life, are what make me sad. After the winds die down and the drama fades, those not personally involved tend to forget that the real scariness is only just beginning for some people. No work/ability to get to work can mean no income, which is something someone desperately needs to pick up and start again, even if temporarily.

    • Anna @ D16 November 1, 2012 at 1:43 am

      No, renters insurance isn’t required in NYC. We have it, but I don’t think I know anyone else who does (I just looked up the statistic, and about 40% of renters in NYC have it). Renters insurance is really just to cover the cost of a renter’s personal possessions, not the property itself. That said, renters insurance (like most insurance policies) does not cover flood damage. Renters are NOT legally required to continue paying rent if a property is uninhabitable.

      Situations like this—huge natural disasters—are the reason why organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross are so important and why they need to be sufficiently funded. These are the groups are take on the task of providing shelter, food, supplies to those who become homeless. It’s not just renters who need assistance—homeowners need to apply for disaster relief assistance through FEMA. Events like hurricanes where there are massive amounts of damage on a broad scale aren’t handled the same way as things like house fires where a single home is affected.

      So, to answer your question, people without second homes primarily either stay with family or in a shelter. After Katrina, many people simply decided to relocate elsewhere—that’s a decision that’s probably based in prospects for the future.

  • Reply Emily R November 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Glad to hear you are safe, sound and remaining up-beat.

    Today Big Old Houses did another tour of Newburgh. Hope this brightens your day a bit.


  • Reply J+H @ Beyond The Stoop November 1, 2012 at 8:40 am

    so sorry to hear that you had to vacate your apartment! but yes, you are a lucky duck that you have an extra house.

    my friend from hoboken is currently staying with me because she’s not allowed back inside hoboken yet. water flooded the 1/2-underground level, and she’s in the 1/2-above-ground level apartment. water filled the streets to about 3.5 ft deep, and the floor of her apartment is about 4 ft high. she still has no idea if she has any damage, because she left to connecticut before the storm, with only a few belongings… i feel for those in hoboken, jersey city, breezy point, manhattan, south jersey, everywhere affected basically. even people in ohio are still without power, and the temperature is much colder there.

    thankfully the entire country has come together to provide extra utility workers to get power back to the affected areas as soon as possible. workers and equipment came as far as florida and even california.

    (the saddest thing i’ve heard about the whole mess is the looting. poor pharmacies are getting their butts kicked and their stores destroyed, if not from flooding, definitely from disgusting looters…)

    let’s all hope that everyone is still safe and everything returns back to normal soon!

  • Reply Barb Blair November 1, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Wow…..my heart has been so heavy for the loss and devastation in New York and New Jersey. The Breezy Point neighborhood story, and all of the others just gripped my heart. So thankful that you are safe and sound and that your apartment and homes are safe. I am so sorry about having to evacuate the apartment building …….hope that you can move back in there soon. Chin up.

  • Reply Thea November 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Thank you for sharing all your photos over the past view days. I live in Brooklyn too (Greenpoint) but I feel sort of trapped here and it’s been nice to be able to see what’s going on elsewhere (besides the news). I’m glad you and your family are safe and able to leave the city.

  • Reply jeannette November 1, 2012 at 11:10 am

    reading you and bowery boogie are giving me the best sense of what’s happening there.
    old people stranded in elevator buildings without water heat or electricity — i’ve sent money to meals on wheels rather than the red cross for now. if you know of any org that is going and searching out people stranded in upper level apts in lower manhattan, please keep us posted. thank. you.



    • Anna @ D16 November 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks, Jeannette! Please feel free to post additional links and info here if you find anything. Feeling a bit unable to help as I’m now effectively stuck in Newburgh.

  • Reply Saskia November 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story the last couple of days. I read it from Europe and it’s very strange to ‘see’ it from your point of view. It gives me more sense what happened because you were in the middle of it. I hope you (and everyone else) can go back to normal life soon. Stay safe!

  • Reply Juliet November 2, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Thanks so much for this post. It’s nice to know that at least one NYC blogger possesses gravitas for the loss and devastation brought about by the Hurricane. I just don’t understand many other popular NYC based blogs that blithely post about fashion and whatnot as though tragedy has not struck their neighbors, both near and farther aways Perhaps the sad truth is many bloggers cannot not see past the ends of their noses, and so long as their building is standing and they are able to find a way to power their laptop, all must be fine and it should be business as usual in the blogosphere. It was refreshing to see a link to the Red Cross in your post instead of a link to a sponsor’s goods. Hope you and yours stay safe and well.

  • Reply dervla @ The Curator November 2, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Wow, these photos gave me a lump in my throat too. From my window I can also see a great deal of darkness as many on our block don’t have electricity. But we do all have our homes. The city is quite and not a little eerie these past few nights. I hope you get back home soon.

  • Reply Liz November 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    We live in Houston where we expect this type of natural disaster – lived though Ivan a few years ago and it was a mess (Category 3 storm). But to see Dumbo hit – where my daughter was married last year – is really freaky. Glad you are safe and warm. I will donate some money to those that were not so lucky.

    My daughter and son-in-law moved to San Francisco during the summer so I have earthquakes to be concerned about now!

    • Anna @ D16 November 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      As bad as the damage is to the businesses in Dumbo, a huge community effort is being made to recover, and I believe the economy of the area is strong enough to make that happen. I worry more about areas farther out in Queens and Jersey, where the damage is far greater and the local funds may not be there to facilitate rebuilding without a lot of outside help. Thank you for donating. xx

    • Liz November 6, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Hah – it was Hurricane Ike we lived through, not Ivan (my neighbor’s name).

      Well, hopefully donations go to where it is needed worse. I also give monthly to United Way – I would think they would be out in force.

      Good luck1

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