Hurricane Sandy affected millions of people on the East Coast, hitting New York and New Jersey especially hard. Thousands still don't have power back yet. And now, as the initial shock wears off and debris is cleared, residents can finally assess the damage and beginning planning long-term repairs to their homes and property.
Coney Island in Brooklyn was hit hard by Sandy. Anna Lemler, a volunteer with People’s Relief, has been helping with the clean-up effort on Coney Island.
Part of the issue on Coney Island is that the neighborhood is not designed to function without electricity.
"No power means no elevators," Lemler says. "And when you live on the 20th floor, especially if you're disabled or elderly, that means you are not leaving your apartment."
"It's a pretty sad and scary sight," Lemler says of the situation on Coney Island.
Unlike in developing countries, where people are prepared for the worst, New York is vulnerable because of how dependent the city is on power, running water, and a functioning transportation system. In some ways, the city is worse off for having had so little experience with this kind of natural disaster. As Lemler says, "there's no plan B."
Hurricane Sandy also hit home for us here at The Takeaway. Takeaway senior producer, Jen Poyant, lives in Arverne, Queens in the Rockaways, one of the hardest hit parts of New York City.
"Last week it looked a little bit like Zombieland," Poyant says of her neighborhood. Though conditions are improving, it is a slow and difficult process.
Poyant is staying in Brooklyn, and says it is surreal to drive from one neighborhood to the other. "You know, it's very emotional coming back into the Rockaways," she says. "A lot of people are calling it a tale of two cities right now."