On the occasion of the 4th anniversary of Sandy, PortSide NewYork launches Red Hook WaterStories. This is a digital museum with significant resiliency information. The site covers 400+ years of Red Hook waterfront history - NYC’s maritime story in microcosm - and reveals forgotten and overlooked stories from this evocative neighborhood.Read More
PortSide blogs about our WaterStories programs, urban waterways issues, the BLUEspace, development plans for the NYC waterfront, our ship MARY A. WHALEN and other historic vessels, boats and ships of all sizes.
PortSide NewYork won a White House “Champions of Change” award in April 2013 for our hurricane Sandy recovery work and honors shortly thereafter from the New York State Senate.
A huge part of our Sandy recovery work depended on the generous actions of three people PortSide honored at our fundraiser just before the two-year anniversary of the storm on October 28, 2014 at Hometown Bar-B-Que. More on them below.
Blogpost about the fundraiser in general
Blogpost about our special good neighbor award to IKEA
Victoria Hagman of Realty Collective
Victoria Hagman is principal of Realty Collective. So much of PortSide's recovery work after saving the MARY A. WHALEN was enabled by her generosity. Despite Victoria's home having been flooded along with the basement contents of her Red Hook business location, Victoria, without hesitation and no strings attached, allowed PortSide to use the 351 Van Brunt storefront as an aid station.
That offer included free electricity, heat, (and telephone and internet once those were back up.) This became Red Hook’s first small business recovery center, before the location at IKEA, hosting different groups. The storefront housed a gallery at that time, so PortSide had a stylish aid station, and the fact that the gallery was there is a testament to the trust that Victoria offered in making the space available. Several Sandy survivors commented that the white gallery space and bright art was uplifting.
Victoria helped set up a meeting for homeowners to get resilient rebuilding advice from Jim Garrison an architect from Pratt Institute and more. She continues to do work for Red Hook Sandy recovery and resiliency efforts via multiple groups by participating in NY Rising, in special events promoting red hook, a zoning working, being on the CB6 board and the Gowanus CAG, Ready Red Hook emergency response plan… Safe to say, that if there’s some group working to improve Red Hook, Victoria’s probably in it.
Danny Schneider of Schneider Electrical Contracting
Danny Schneider, the principal of Schneider Electrical Contracting in Park Slope, walked into PortSide's Sandy aid center "351" within days of the storm and offered free electrical services. He had heard through his wife's Facebook page that electricians were needed in Red Hook.
PortSide offered to coordinate his work, and word of the “electrician sign-up sheet” at 351 spread like wildfire in Red Hook. PortSide amalgamated requests by phone, email and text and conveyed them to Danny, who worked off the sign-up sheet.
Danny reports that he inspected and certified sixty buildings (which means many more families than sixty) for free, and repaired some two dozen for the cost of parts. When electrical parts were getting hard to source, he passed that info to PortSide who began hunting for parts in bulk. He battled hours of traffic each day to get to Red Hook; and in the middle of all that, his license was up for renewal so he battled traffic and lines downtown to get that renewed, and came back to help. He also did volunteer electrical repair in the Rockaways. Video of
Danny Schneider receiving his award He also speaks at the end of the video with honoree Victoria Hagman.
Peter Rothenberg, Historian & Curator, PortSide NewYork
Peter Rothenberg is PortSide’s Historian and Curator. His recovery work includes prevention, restoration of historic artifacts and direct service to Red Hook Sandy survivors, as well as reassuring ministrations to ship cat Chiclet. on our ship during the storm. See video of Peter receiving his award here.
Within the crew of rambunctious wits that is PortSide NewYork, Peter is a quiet, private worker and just the kind of steady guy you want around when a storm is coming and things are going to hit the fan.
Peter helped PortSide prepare the tanker Mary Whalen for Sandy for four and a half days, and he rode out the storm on the ship with PortSide Director Carolina Salguero and Chiclet.
Peter came armed with foul weather gear and four gallons of corn chowder left over from a Brooklyn Botanic Gardens event (after three days of corn chowder, that taste will forever be associated in our minds with the hurricane). He also came armed with a tender heart for Chiclet who had that knowledge animals have that something bad is coming and washed herself steadily for many hours. Peter made Chiclet a tuffet of pillows so she could see out the tankerman’s cabin porthole
During the storm, Peter joined Carolina working outside easing lines… putting a chimney cap on the stove… putting another line around the tarp covering the wheelhouse windows… and the epic job of tying together every dockline not already in use and dragging that through the water to the pier 265’ to the north. That line was to prevent the MARY A.WHALEN from floating up onto the pier, and maybe rolling or impaling herself on a bollard or wreaking any havoc. As the surge waters rose around him, Peter crawled on hands and knees across the jersey barriers along the bulkhead back to the ship.
After the storm. Peter helped rinse out and dry our flooded electrical transformer (which we are still using); and when he found out that Carolina Salguero had forgotten to get our collection of historic documents out of the shed, he set to drying out the collection. Within hours, he had every horizontal surface aboard the tanker covered in wet historic papers, interleaved with whatever we had at hand (sheets, towels, paper towels, wax paper). The stevedores' lounge in the shed was also covered with this project for several weeks.
Peter and Carolina came ashore and set up and ran the aid station at 351 Van Brunt for several days until Dan Goncharoff could make it in from Manhattan to join us. Peter spent much of his time at 351 helping people who did not know how to use computers apply for aid and do other work on the internet.
At our October 28, 2014 Fundraiser "Resiliency is our HOOK," PortSide went off script, as we are wont to do, and gave the Red Hook IKEA store a surprise award.
We presented IKEA with a "PortSide Good Neighbor Award for Sandy Recovery Work" in recognition of the varied, inventive and generous aid they provided for over a year.
We gave this award because we think IKEA deserves recognition at the community level for what their Brooklyn store did for Red Hook after Sandy.
We also gave IKEA the award because we are an educational organization, and we think there are some important lessons in the IKEA Sandy story.
WHAT’S TO LEARN HERE
1) IKEA was able to help because they built a resilient building in the first place with the store set high up on a second floor (the garage beneath the store is flood-able space) with elevated electricity and mechanicals. The rectangle of the building was also angled so that a corner faced the water so that it could part waves as does the bow of a ship. Given the surge in resiliency planning talk after Sandy, we think people should be looking at a design that worked and a company that thought to build that way nine years before Sandy.
2) The absence of reporting about IKEA’s large-scale, diverse and prolonged recovery work says something about the media. It shows how reporting clusters around themes, how reporting can be an echo chamber reiterating earlier stories. That a big box store could turn its cafeteria into and aid center and NOT have that generate a single feature story is a remarkable absence. The Fourth Estate can help the discussions of what worked and failed in the recovery period and is going to foster intelligent discussions of resiliency planning, so we ask them to look more closely.
3) Looking to the future, it is important when making recovery and resiliency plans to understand who really did what in the wake of Sandy. We encourage everyone (the Red Hook grassroots level, the consultant/planner/think tank contingent, elected officials and the media) to think about what gaps in reporting about Sandy may exist and research those gaps. PortSide raised awareness of some knowledge gaps in the article “PortSide NewYork & other hidden Sandy Stories” that we wrote at the invitation of the local paper, the Red Hook Star Revue.
Activities of the IKEA Brooklyn store in Red Hook
IKEA Brooklyn donated furniture to over 25 small businesses.
IKEA Brooklyn donated products directly to local non profits.
IKEA opened its Red Hook doors to National Disaster Organizations (FEMA & SBA, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and others which used half of the cafeteria and other spaces for their operations.
IKEA Brooklyn worked with Tunnel2Towers who brought about 16 box trucks full of donations for their co-workers and Red Hook neighbors for two weeks.
IKEA Brooklyn held a hiring event for displaced workers as a result of Sandy, offering temp work until their home businesses were back on their feet.
Additional work occurred at IKEA Elizabeth, Paramus, & Long Island with each store each working with their local communities.
IKEA provided $250,000 so that GlobalGreen could implement the “Solar for Sandy program” which installed solar power in the Red Hook Rec Center, so Red Hook has one off-the-grid community emergency center. The ribbon cutting was October 23, 2013 just before the first Sandy anniversary.
IKEA Brooklyn subsidized free Red Hook Summer Ferry in 2013 and 2014.
IKEA Brooklyn provided great support for their co-workers:
They brought in 3 counselors to help co-workers cope with the situation.
IKEA converted its large conference room into a makeshift shelter for co-workers and their families.
IKEA US organized a co-worker to co-worker donation program to help those IKEA co-workers who lost their homes or personal belongings.
IKEA received donations from other IKEA stores to give to our co-workers & their families (The store in Virginia sent a truck full of donations, driven up by two of their co-workers).
In addition, there were IKEA national initiatives
IKEA US donated over $500,000 in products for the NY/NJ area to disaster relief via the Red Cross.
IKEA donated furniture to firehouses, senior centers, & public libraries after Sandy
IKEA donated home furnishing to a Family Head Start/Early Learning facility in Brooklyn affected by Hurricane Sandy as part of the Life Improvement Project.
IKEA together with Tunnel2Towers:
donated furnishings for those in need in Staten Island and Brooklyn. Beds, mattresses, dining tables and chairs, chest of drawers, sofas. Value approximately $300K at retail dollars.
Product to be delivered to Staten Island and Gerritsen Beach locations.
Donations benefited between 500 to 1000 families in need.
IKEA teamed up with Save the Children and UPS to help refurnish 39 early childhood development centers in New York and New Jersey hit by Hurricane Sandy.
IKEA donated more than $100,000 worth of items, including bookcases, children's tables and chairs, cribs, desks and blankets to devastated child care centers Save the Children is helping to restore, as well as to the charity's Brooklyn field office. UPS is donating delivery services.
IKEA held special Sandy Recovery marketing events:
20% off Kitchens in January to help people rebuild
IKEA Brooklyn discounted moving boxes (Samla) in the months after Sandy
Sandy aid for Homeowner Repairs
Combo of $15,000 loan for 5 years at 2% and $15,000 grant = $30,000 with both.
We heard that the deadline for this is approaching. If you know or find out when it is, please post that as a comment!
Thank you Andrea Sansom for providing this info!
Raquel Colon, Senior Housing Counselor
Asian Americans for Equality CDF
111 Division Street
New York, N.Y. 10002
Tel: 212 964-2288
Fax: 212 964-6003
ALERT! Get info to FEMA by Wed 8/6/14.
FEMA realized that they need to revise the region2.coastal website and are looking for input and feedback. Send info directly to Heidi Carlin below.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org On Behalf Of Carlin, Heidi
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:51 PM
Cc: Song Thomas
Subject: [Coat] We need your input on the Region 2 Coastal website by August 6, 2014
Dear COAT Members,
You are a valued member of a large team of professionals along the New Jersey and New York coast interested in promoting flood risk communication. We would really appreciate you taking a few minutes to review the www.region2coastal.com website, then fill out the attached questionnaire, and send back to Heidi.email@example.com by Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Heidi M. Carlin, CFM
Senior Strategic Communications Specialist
*** here is the questionnaire ***
This questionnaire is intended for local community officials and other key stakeholders to determine usability of the www.region2coastal.com website. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!
1. What is your primary function? (Please circle)
a. Floodplain Manager
b. Building Official
c. Elected Official
d. Emergency Manager
f. Non-Profit Organization
g. Private Sector
h. Federal/State Government
i. Other, please describe: ____________________
For the following questions, please write your answer in the space provided. Use the back of this sheet if
you need more space and indicate which question you are writing about.
2. Which parts of the website are most useful to you?
3. What do you need the most from this website in terms of content now or in the future?
4. What would you like the website to do for you? How can the website assist with your job needs?
5. Is there information you need that you cannot find, or have difficulty finding, related to the coastal flood study, the NFIP, or related topics? If so, please list the specific topics.
6. What do you think the public needs the most from this website?
7. What do you think about the overall look and feel of the website? Do you have any suggestions for improving overall usability?
Free Citizen Preparedness Corps training on Saturday, February 1st in Richmond and Suffolk Counties. Attendees get one free emergency kit. Space is limited, so participants are required to register in advance. Pre-registration for the training session is available at: http://www.nyprepare.gov/aware-prepare/nysprepare/
Here is official press release from Governor Cuomo's office
For Immediate Release: January 27, 2014
GOVERNOR CUOMO LAUNCHES CITIZEN PREPAREDNESS CORPS TRAINING PROGRAM
Goal is to provide 100,000 citizens with the tools they need to be ready and able to help their families and neighbors during emergencies
Governor Cuomo: We need more New Yorkers than ever to be prepared and trained to respond
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will launch on February 1 the Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program that will train 100,000 New Yorkers during 2014 in the proper preparation for emergencies or disasters. The program seeks to provide citizens with the tools and resources to prepare for emergencies and disasters, respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.
“Severe weather events are becoming more frequent and extreme and to make sure that our communities are safe, we need more New Yorkers than ever to be prepared and trained to respond,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program will train 100,000 citizens to help provide crucial and critical assistance in their own homes or in their own communities whenever disaster strikes.”
Citizen Preparedness Corps training will begin on Saturday, February 1st in Richmond and Suffolk Counties at:
Saturday, February 1st, 2014 - Richmond County
New Dorp High School, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
465 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, NY 10306
Saturday, February 1st, 2014 - Suffolk County
Farmingdale State College, 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Roosevelt Hall, Multipurpose Room
2350 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale, NY 11735
Space is limited, so participants are required to register in advance. Pre-registration for the training session is available at: http://www.nyprepare.gov/aware-prepare/nysprepare/
Training sessions will be led by the New York National Guard, working with experts from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management and Office of Fire Prevention and Control. All training sessions will be coordinated with local county emergency management personnel.
Major General Patrick A. Murphy, the Adjutant General NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs said, “The men and women of the New York Army and Air National Guard understand the value of being prepared for any emergency, since our service members are always there to assist when disaster strikes. Our Soldiers and Airmen are proud to be part of the Governor's effort to better prepare New Yorkers to handle floods, hurricanes, tornados, snowstorms or whatever nature can throw at us. We look forward to engaging our fellow New Yorkers in this important emergency preparedness training.”
Jerome M. Hauer, Commissioner, NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking an assertive and proactive approach on training citizens for any type of disaster. In times of emergency or extreme difficulty caused by a disaster, it is often citizens in their homes or on their residential blocks who are immediately faced with the need to respond. This training effort will better prepare them for the types of response activities they should engage in to safeguard themselves and their families and possibly their neighbors.”
The training course will provide an introduction to responding to a natural or man-made disaster. Participants will be advised on how to properly prepare for any disaster, including developing a family emergency plan and stocking up on emergency supplies. Proper preparation in the home will be emphasized with encouragement to ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, along with fire extinguishers, are all available and in proper working order. Trainers will supply information on what organizations can provide additional support; how to register for NY-Alert, the free statewide emergency alert system; and how to be aware of notifications from such sources as the Emergency Broadcast System. Participants will also be encouraged to get more involved in existing community-based emergency activities that may be organized through local schools, businesses or community-based organizations.
A key component of this training effort is the distribution of Citizen Preparedness Corps Response Kits that contain key items to assist individuals in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. As an individual, a family member, and member of their community, it is essential that citizens take a few basic steps to be prepared; their quality of life and their loved ones may depend on it. Often during an emergency, electricity, heat, air conditioning or telephone service may not work. Citizens should be prepared to make it on their own for at least 7-10 days, maybe longer. Click here for a photo of the kit.
Every training participant (one per family) will receive a free Citizen Preparedness Corps Response Starter Kit, which includes:
· Plastic drop cloth
· Light stick
· (2) D Batteries
· First Aid Kit
· Face mask
· Safety goggles
· AM/FM pocket radio with batteries
· (6) packs of drinking water
· (6) food bars
· Regular flashlight
· Emergency blanket
· Duct tape
· Work gloves
· Water bottle
As part of the training, participants will receive information about the other supplies and personal information that they should add to their personal Response Kit.