Monday, November 05, 2012

Hurricane Sandy--how to help


fallen trees in Prospect Park after Hurricane Sandy

I spent much of last week glued to the news on TV and online as horrific images of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy swept in. I was lucky to be in a part of Brooklyn that never lost electricity, and amazingly, I never lost internet or cable, either. But many of my friends and colleagues were hit hard--some are still without power, which is getting more and more problematic as the temperature drops.

The Hachette Book Group offices were closed on Monday and Tuesday, and had skeleton crews the rest of the week--as most of the public transportation was down all week, it was difficult for many to make it in. I made it in Wednesday and Friday, but had over two-hour commutes each way--and half the time ended up walking the 6 miles--on Wednesday night I walked home with two colleagues through pitch-black lower Manhattan and then over the Manhattan Bridge:
a dark street in the East Village
one generator-powered light on the Lower East Side
On the Manhattan Bridge--we finally reached light halfway across--this is looking back on the Manhattan-side darkness.
On Friday morning I chose to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge--it was a gorgeous day, at least.
Lower Manhattan was much less ominous in the daylight, but it was oddly deserted--police on some intersections, a few walkers here and there, some cars, but for the most part, it was empty. No traffic lights were working, no stores or restaurants were open. I had bought a breakfast sandwich in Brooklyn, and several people asked me where I got it when I started eating it while walking in Manhattan. "Sorry...I bought this in Brooklyn!" I told them.

Power was finally returned to most of Manhattan Friday night, by midnight. Some subways started running from Brooklyn to Manhattan soon thereafter. I'm hoping my commute this morning will be fairly normal, but we'll see--there are a lot of subway lines still down, so the ones working will no doubt be more crowded. But I can put up with a long, crowded commute. I know I am very, very lucky.

There are so many people in the area who are still in need, still without power, or water, or heat, many without homes. Some have lost their lives, or their loved ones.

There are many ways to help, but the quickest is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Donate other amounts at their website here.

If you're in the New York area, check out the Occupy Sandy website for how to volunteer and/or donate.

There's also a great online Kidlit Cares: Superstorm Sandy Relief Effort going on right now at author Kate Messner's website here. You can bid on anything from manuscript critiques by editors, agents, and authors; to Skype visits; to a three-day writing retreat. I'm planning on donating something--if anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in the comments (I could do a manuscript critique, but maybe there's something else, short of a book contract, that people might find more valuable?).

Stay safe, everyone.


Anna Alter said...

I'm so glad you're ok Alvina and that things are slowly getting back to normal! Thank you for the links to donate.

Heather said...

Thanks for the update Alvina. I've been thinking about the River Cafe since this happened - and how much I hope to have dinner there again someday!

You might consider a query critique for the auction - or a one-page synopsis critique?

Tina Cho said...

I enjoyed your photos, Alvina, especially the beautiful clouds at the end. Good always comes out of the bad, huh!?

Tina Cho said...

I enjoyed your photos, Alvina, especially the beautiful clouds at the end. Good always comes out of the bad, huh!?

Libby Koponen said...

Thanks for posting this. What's going on in Staten Island especially sounds awful!