When I tell people that I love living on Staten Island- they search my face and person- as if the only way I could possibly say such a thing would be a direct result of hitting a crack pipe HARD. But here’s the thing, number one I am not a crackhead- and while my husband didn’t bring me here 11 years ago, to the place of his childhood, with the largest grin plastered on my face ( back then I might have preferred the tony town of Scarsdale or Short Hills) – after spending these past years here- I finally understand why my husband has always felt so utterly at home and enveloped with this sense of peace and calm by his Shaolin. Staten Island is buoyed by a sea of FDNY firefighters, New York police officers and emergency first responders- these men and women are the backbone of our community. There are no airs, no keeping up with the Joneses here we are all one- and it’s been this way since I moved here during the great snowstorm of December 2000- which of course pales in comparison to the ravages of Sandy. At six months pregnant our brand new neighbors welcomed me and I immediately felt at home. Today, 11 years later- looking around at my neighborhood wreckage, the magnificent trusted towering trees that lined our streets uprooted, and knowing there are so many who have lost EVERYTHING it truly feels hard to breathe on days like this. It feels fresh and raw.
Our neighborhood, like so many others has been penetrated in the ugliest and most atrocious of ways by Hurricane Sandy. of course our downed trees and power lines and lack of electricity, gas and access to banks is NOTHING compared to the utter devastation and loss of life other Staten Island families on the South Shore and in hard hit areas close to the beach are currently suffering. It is an apocalyptic scene, as the rescue efforts coupled with the recovery efforts get underway.
We are no strangers to loss and immense pain– after 9/11 when so many of our Staten Island uniformed men and women perished- as they ran towards a scene of horror when others were fleeing for their lives. And that is how I would describe the character of so many families and people on Staten Island– they are humble, hard working an truly extend themselves in any way shape or form necessary to help those in need.
But this tragedy- is one of epic proportions- we are drowning, literally – homes have been uprooted from their very foundations, swept out to sea and the loss of life is staggering and quite sobering. We are just at the beginning of this and we will all need to band together. So what can we do to help…Here are just some initial resources. I am hoping to have more soon.
The city will be distributing food and water in hard-hit neighborhoods across the city today, from 1 to 5 p.m.
On Staten Island, the distribution centers will be at the intersection of Mill Road and New Dorp Lane and Hunter Avenue and Father Capadanno Boulevard.
Con Edison will be distributing dry ice at the entrance to Great Kills Park on Buffalo Street. This has been Con Ed’s central distribution point for dry ice on Staten Island.
City Councilwoman Debi Rose and State Assemblyman Matthew Titone, with Con Edison, are distributing dry ice Friday from noon to 4 p.m. (or until supplies last), at Mt. Sinai Christian Church, 15 Pike St., New Brighton.
Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation
2361 Hylan Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10306