Sunny's Bar, Red Hook

Sunny’s Bar, Red Hook

When Hurricane Sandy lumbered through New York two months ago, I was wrapped up in my 6th-floor-level flat, with my only worry that my windows could break. A week later and without a damaged window in sight, my power was back on and it was easy to forget that just a few miles down the road people were homeless. And two months on, thousands still remain without homes, power or a livelihood.

It was just heartbreaking knowing that people, who don’t live that far away from me, are having to deal with the disastrous impact of Hurricane Sandy and what it has done to their homes. For some, they might just have a small amount of damage, but the majority of people have been left homeless due to this magnitude of a storm. You are notified about this sort of extreme weather weeks in advance, but many people (including myself on numerous occasions) don’t think that it would ever happen to them and they tend to not take much notice. I think we’ve learnt our lesson. Even the smallest of jobs, like contacting someone similar to this Clean Pro Gutter Cleaning Boston company and getting gutters cleaned could help to better support the roofing system of a house so that it has a better chance at surviving the storm. Not forgetting that the amount of water damage that would occur as a result of this would be limited. For some people though, even this won’t help them to keep a roof over their heads.

This morning, I travelled to Red Hook, a neighbourhood in south Brooklyn where many are still struggling to get back on their feet. In case you’re wondering, it’s here:

Red Hook map

While the area looked pretty unaffected by Sandy’s wrath on the outside, once we got to work in residents’ homes it was a shock to see just how the buildings had been gutted by three feet of floodwater.

I joined up with about 10 other volunteers from New York Cares and went to Sunny’s Bar where the owner, Tuna, handed us mops, brooms, buckets and hammers. For two hours, we scrubbed, wiped and lugged furniture and bags of linens and rubbish.

Left, prepping the wall for drywall. Right, water damage at Sunny's

Left, prepping the wall for drywall. Right, water damage at Sunny’s

It was so refreshing to be outside, using my hands and doing something useful.

One particularly eye-opening moment came as I spent an hour de-dusting an upstairs flat where an elderly resident had lived until the storm made her pack her bags. Reminding me just how the storm had put their lives on hold, a calendar in her apartment was open at October. It was a real Miss Haversham moment.

Sunny's Bar