Brooklyn After Sandy

Photo by: Dora Grossman-Weir
A lady ran out of her house to tell us the block association had planted this oak 35 years earlier, "when the neighborhood had no trees." She shook her head and said the ... more 
Photo by: Dora Grossman-Weir
A lady ran out of her house to tell us the block association had planted this oak 35 years earlier, "when the neighborhood had no trees." She shook her head and said the owners had neglected to water it. less 
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Tue, Oct 30, 2012 2:15 PM EDT

The wind battered our windows last night, but as I listened to the news and texted with friends around Brooklyn and Manhattan I knew we were getting off easy. Emerging from the house this morning, there were piles of leaves and branches, but being situated on a hilltop spared the neighborhood from the watery deluge that hit other parts of the borough. When the wind calmed and the rain stopped, my 14-year-old daughter, Dora, and I went for a drive along the Brooklyn waterfront to see how other areas had fared--especially Red Hook, which we heard had been completely flooded during the storm surge the night before. I thought we'd probably hit some roadblocks since low-lying areas along the coast were supposedly evacuated. We snaked our way to DUMBO, an affluent, artsy area under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. The streets were clogged with garbage and cars, covered in weeds, were spun into the middle of some cobblestone streets. Still, families were out walking their desperate dogs, taking pictures, and showing their kids that life goes on. People were chatting, greeting neighbors--inquiring how they had fared the night before. Some kids clung to their parents' hands with their gazes dropped to the muddy ground, others splashed in deep puddles. Returning to the car, we carefully made our way south, easing through intersections because all the stoplights were continuously blinking red. A few bikers navigated through slippery mounds of leaves along the roadside. The waters had mostly cleared in Red Hook, though the streets were slicked with a greasy coating. People bailed out their cars and assessed the toppled trees, fences and scaffolding. A guard stood in the gateway of a Fairway, a huge supermarket on the first floor of a loft building built in a historic brick warehouse. He described the water roaring in up to the height of a man's chest ruining everything inside from computers to cantaloupes. He said they would reopen in a few weeks. Brooklyn will be back--New York City will be back--it just may take some time. By Sarah B. Weir, photos by Dora Grossman-Weir