Weathering Hurricane Sandy: Daily Updates

November 5, 2012 | 1 a.m.

Bethel student Lexi Beasley reports from NYC

Weathering Hurricane Sandy

New York City will be among the hardest hit cities by Hurricane Sandy. | Lexi Beasley

Junior journalism major Lexi Beasley is among a group of Bethel students studying in New York City as part of the English Department's NYCAMS program. As a Minnesota native, Lexi is experiencing her first hurricane and has agreed to send us brief updates regularly, as safety and electricity allow, to report the facts, but also to convey what the experience is like. Check back daily for updates on this same URL.

Wednesday, November 7

Today, I got to work with Metro Ministries in Coney Island on relief efforts. Though it's not their normal ministry, Metro Ministries has been helping in relief efforts in their community due to the destruction around them.  They have been working primarily in Far Rockaway, Red Hook, Coney Island, the Lower East Side and parts of Harlem.  A large group of us packed trucks full of food and supplies, then went to Coney Island to deliver a hot meal, bottled water, boxes of cereal and breakfast bars, toiletries and hygienic care, flashlights, etc.

When we first got there, I was shocked to see so much trash in the streets; the water levels picked everything up and scattered it all over the place. Much of the area was still without power, and it began snowing about the time we departed to go to Coney Island. Though we were all wearing many layers, it was bitterly cold.

Jill Ellingson, a staff member who has worked with Metro Ministries for five years, was there with us today.  She was a part of the relief efforts that began last week, and said that people lined up behind the trucks looking for whatever supplies they could get. Today, however, it was a bit slower, not because there wasn't a need, but because people were trying to keep warm inside their homes and apartments. Those who did come to get a hot meal or other supplies were extremely grateful. One woman who came to our truck even told us that Metro Ministries was the only support team that had come to help that area. Handing out food and seeing such need in Coney Island reminded me of the state that a lot of people are still in. Metro Ministries will continue to provide relief efforts in the coming week, and I hope to participate again at least once more. If you would like to help, please consider donating to this ministry that I have worked with firsthand. Donate at: 

https://www.2dialog.com/metroministries/main.php/micro_sites/showpage?id=232

Monday, November 5

Although 61 of the original polling sites have been re-located, New Yorkers are being encouraged to get out and vote tomorrow! This is an encouraging sign, as many questioned whether or not the city would be ready to proceed with voting by election day.

Sunday, November 4

Though New York is far from back to normal, it's starting to feel like most things are up and running again. I was able to get out a few times this weekend (went to my first Broadway show - amazing!) but have still been discouraged from going to the lower parts of Manhattan. Most subway trains seem to be running and a lot of the power around the city has been restored. However, there are still a number of homes and businesses without power.

The main concern is about the cold weather, reaching temperatures of 30 degrees at night. Many who are without power have no way to keep warm and have been encouraged to find shelters where there is heat. Bloomberg estimates that up to 40,000 people may need to relocate due to storm damages and cold weather — hopefully the number will be cut in half once power is fully restored and people are once again able to heat their homes.

The NYC marathon, which stirred much controversy over the last few days, was indeed canceled. However, many who were planning to run used their energy instead to help out those in Staten Island, one of the worst hit areas, where the race was originally scheduled to begin. Classes resume as normal tomorrow.

Friday, November 2

I left my apartment today for the first time since Sunday! It was nice to be able to finally walk around and get some fresh air. There was one subway line that was running from the station outside my apartment - there are usually 3. It was very busy as everyone had to be on the same train. I headed over to Manhattan, but the station only went as far as 34th Street. No subways are running past that point. My studio is at 28th street so I walked the rest of the way. We've been asked by the Director of NYCAMS not to go past 23rd street at this time as much of that area is still without power and recovering. I walked to my studio, checked for mail, and started to walk a bit south. By the time I got to 25th, I could tell that the stores in that area were closed and I didn't see any evidence of power. As I was walking back, I saw a water cooler outside a store with a sign labeled "Free Drinking Water." I frequent that area often and it was so odd to see the vacant stores and evidence of the storm all around me. I am thankful that I was able to go to Manhattan today and get outside these 4 walls, but I also came face-to-face with what I've been hearing on TV — seeing the harsh reality that is currently New York City.

Thursday, November 1

Power is slowly being restored to some areas in NYC- the hope is for most of it to be restored by Sunday evening. As many people's power went out on Monday, many will have gone without it for almost a week. Today, I heard that 37 people have died in New York and 74 total in the States. I plan to go to Manhattan this weekend as a number of subway lines will be running again. I am unsure of what I will see as I walk around the city, but I know enough from what I have seen on the news, that it won't be pretty. Please continue to pray for those who have lost everything. As the nation moves on from the freshness of this disaster, so many are in dire conditions. It will be weeks, even months, before this city can reach conclusive steps in fixing the damages and even then, much of New York will never be the same. 

Wednesday, October 31

Halloween was canceled for us today  - I didn't realize you could cancel a holiday, but apparently you can! I guess I'm learning a lot these last few months in NY! Even though subways have not been running, classes came to Packard Square today. Three of our professors in Brooklyn drove up to our apartment and met for class sessions this morning. Relief efforts are underway in much of the city and Mayor Bloomberg assures us that "we are on our way back to normal." The last death count that I heard was 26 within New York, as well as billions of dollars in damages and repairs. There has been some encouragement, however as the community seems to be coming together to help each other. Stores and restaurants were giving away free food to those who needed it, as well as people offering up their homes to others in need of power to charge their electronic devices. Senator Schumer also encouraged and addressed the state in our need to move forward. "We have to rebuild and as New York always does, we'll be better than before." As I keep seeing more images of the ruin in many places of the city, I am happy that today there seemed to be steps being made toward the future and support given to many in need of it.

Tuesday, October 30 p.m.

Just about 24 hours after Sandy struck New York City, the city remains quiet - no honking, no subway noise, just some wind gusts every so often. It's been a bit of an emotional day for me as I have seen so many images and videos of the wrath that Sandy unleashed on the city around me. I've experienced great thankfulness for my own safety as well as great sadness for those who lost so much, many their lives (now 18 in NYC). In Breezy Point, Queens, over 100 homes were destroyed due to fire and winds wreaking havoc in that area. We have been asked to stay inside still at this point, so I have been mainly relying on news coverage to see what has happened around me. The mayor and governor have made assurances that New York City is one of the best, if not the best city to deal with such a crisis and they have emphasized high priority on getting things back to normal, or at least functioning, as quickly as possible. Halloween had been 'postponed' for many cities along with the famous NYC Halloween Parade which has been canceled for tomorrow. If you would like to help in the relief efforts, you can donate or find out more information at www.nyredcross.org

Tuesday, October 30 a.m.

As the sun came up this morning, the devastation and destruction became apparent. Words like "catastrophic" and "historic" have been used to describe Sandy's effects on the city. Mayor Bloomberg in a briefing this morning updated us on a number of things: millions are without power, there has been extensive flooding in almost all underground tunnels resulting in subways remaining closed for at least 3-5 days, schools are closed tomorrow, there have been at least 15 deaths in New York as a result of Sandy, NYU Hospital as well as Coney Island Hospital had to be evacuated due to power losses, and airports are closed with no flights coming in or going out. Governor Cuomo said that 90% of people on Long Island are without power -  I am a part of the 10% and so thankful. I am overwhelmed with the loss and destruction that Hurricane Sandy has left, but am so thankful for the safety and protection that the NYCAMS students have had. The worst of it is over, however conditions are still very dangerous. Please continue praying for the many people who have much worse conditions than I. 

Monday, October 29 p.m. 

We still have power here in Packard Square Apartments - thank God! Much of Manhattan and other parts of NYC are without power. The winds have been pretty crazy in our area. My windows have been shaking as the wind howls and whistles. Many of the NYCAMS students got together this evening in our Center coordinator's apartment and watched the news while we had snacks. New York City got hit pretty hard tonight with flooding and power outages, but I am thankful that where I am has not been too terrible. I am glad to report that for us in Long Island City, it has been better than expected! We'll see how we fare through the night. Thanks for all the prayers!

Monday, October 29

Today the storm started to hit us, and New York has never been this quiet since I’ve been here! Classes have been canceled today and tomorrow, but no one knows what the rest of the week will look like. It’s been pretty rainy and windy all day - with flooding along a lot of the coastlines. We filled the bathtub with water, have the freezer/refrigerator on the highest setting, and have pots with water in the fridge! I feel like I’m in “The Day After Tomorrow” or something. Tonight is when we are supposed to get the brunt of it, 8 p.m. Eastern. At that point, we’ll be able to see how powerful Sandy really is.

Sunday, October 28

Today was mainly a day of preparation (as well as evacuation for hundreds of thousands of people in Zone A, which is mainly along the coastline). We were instructed by our professors that we should get non-perishables to last us a number of days, water, candles, matches, flashlights, batteries, etc. The subways in NYC were shut down at 7 tonight, which was just so weird as millions of people use them daily (I probably am on the subway at least 4 times on a normal day). Grocery stores were packed! A lot of them ran out of water and bread. I went to the gas station next to our apartment - a little less crazy (many gas stations ran out of gas, though). Now, it’s just a waiting game - we’ll be quarantined in our apartments the next couple days, so if I seem a little crazy in these posts - that’s why!

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