Sandy Storm In America Essay

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Wyatt Gallery is an award-winning documentary photographer and recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship, the PDN 30, and numerous other awards and grants. Wyatt’s photographs are in major collections such as the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and American Express. Wyatt’s first book “Tent Life: Haiti” was published with Umbrage Editions. He has been out on the streets documenting the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, meeting people who lost their homes and the volunteers who are pulling the City back together.

American Flag hangs on a tree in Rockaway point, Queens NYC. Hurricane Sandy caused flood waters to rush through this area damaging everything in its path. This neighborhood lost 52 people at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the flags were installed in their memory.

Beachside home destroyed in Belle Harbor, Rockaway, Queens NYC. Oct 31 2012. Every home I saw on the beach was missing its entire beachside wall of the house. 

Joe was crying while telling me “We need help! Please help us. Tell them we need help.” Belle Harbor, Rockaway NY. Nov 1, 2012.

Next to Joe, stood this beachside home that lost its outer wall to Hurricane Sandy. This community is really resilient but really needs help. Belle Harbor, Rockaway NY. Nov 1, 2012.

Michael showed us the two homes he grew up in that burnt down during Storm Sandy. Belle Harbor, Rockaway NY. Nov 1, 2102.

Michael saved 6 people from the burning homes by tying together extension cords and string to create a line across the street so they did not get swept away by the raging ocean water flowing down the street. Belle Harbor, Rockaway. NYC Nov 1, 2012.

Second floor door in what was a fabulous home in Belle Harbor. All residents were safe and neighbors all consider themselves lucky to be alive.

Empire State Building shines over lower Manhattan, still without electricity. 1:00am Nov 2, 2012.

Patio table. Belle Harbor beach. Queens, NY. Nov 2, 2012.

Second floor bar, destroyed beach home in Belle Harbor. The situation is bad out there. I’m not sure how to help, but lets all see what we can do.

One of numerous homes and cars that have been completely destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Belle Harbor, Rockaway. NYC. Nov 1, 2012.

Coast Guard Helicopter landing at West Side Highway Heliport. Nov 2, 2012 NYC.

Passing the Statue of Liberty with ominous clouds above as I arrive in Staten Island by Ferry.

John B. Caddell tanker beached in Staten Island.

Carmen waited for 7.5 hours in Staten Island to fill up these tanks. She said she needs the gas to get to work. Staten Island, NYC. Nov 2, 2012.

Brian, Erika, and Chris were part of the many people who came on a bus from the MoMa to volunteer in Rockaway Beach today. Organized by the Rockaway Surf club, They showed up and asked “where can we help?” This photo is taken in front of my friend Sarah’s house. The boardwalk ended up down their block. Everyone’s damaged belongings have been thrown out in piles on the sand covered street.

My friend Sarah’s block in Rockaway Beach, NY. Today we cleared out her finished basement. November 2, 2012.

Remnants of the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk and American Flag. The boardwalk is now blocks away and in people’s homes.

91st Street in Rockaway Beach. The boardwalk was destroyed and swept down every street perpendicular with the beach. Here it landed on a Mini.

Chris Romulo, a North American Muay Thai Champion & owner of Crom Martial Training in Rockaway Beach, lost the entire gym and all its equipment, plus his home. He’s going to need help getting the gym up and running again.

Fight. Muay Thai photos and Map of New York City showing the remnants of the 6ft high water line. Crom Martial Training, Rockaway Beach.

The Fleming family decided to drive around Staten Island giving out free coffee. Even that one cup of hot coffee made a big difference to people. New Yorkers are really getting on board these days by volunteering in the disaster areas. It’s a beautiful uplifting thing.

CNN was in the scene today in Rockaway beach, along with NY1 News and Inside Edition.

Two Rockaway residents take a break from shoveling sand out of their house to have a beer and watch the sunset on the boardwalk that was relocated to the home adjacent to theirs.

Check out these websites for information about volunteering to help the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy:

Get in touch with the photographer at @wyattgallery  and check out his website.

 Hurricane Sandy, queens, staten island

It certainly is not uncommon for people in society to watch the news and become enraptured by the sheer force and devastation of deadly hurricanes that inflict upon local communities. However, as soon as the news coverage stops addressing the hurricane, the majority of the country's population returns to their normal lives and is entirely unaware of the devastating economic effects of the storm, which sensational news stories often do not cover. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy began far from New York City on the eastern coast of the United States. Hurricane Sandy was by no means an ordinary hurricane. After a short amount of time that few foresaw, Sandy hit New York City, and the storm devastated the city with chaos and destruction. Sandy caused many deaths and injuries, and many people who were living in inundation zones were forced to evacuate. Moreover, the hurricane caused numerous homes to be lost, as well as loss of power/electricity, healthcare, education, and transportation; as well, billions of dollars and much time to repair the extensive damage became an immediate necessity. This catastrophic tragedy is important to study and remember because it left many people in poor living conditions and economically damaged New York City, which was extensive and long-lasting. The importance of natural disasters and the impact of their devastating events that American society needs to remember will remind people that destruction is very real, and we as a society need to stand together and not easily forget the importance of helping others who suffer under these unavoidable conditions.

The effects of physical damage to buildings were incredibly bad. The underground railroads were filled with sand after the flood. Many buildings were damaged, and some did collapse. According to "Sandy and Its Impacts," from the city's published report A Stronger, More Resilient New York, there were “90,000 buildings” damaged that were located in a flooding area, and to recover from the disaster, “$19 billion” dollars were spent to to repair and recover from the damages of Sandy (11). The recovery process, for the most part, took two years.

The effects of storm on the people of New York were dreadful. According to "Sandy and Its Impacts," this tragic event caused a reported “43 people” deaths and the majority of them occurred in Staten Island (13). The homes that families had tended to over generations were destroyed, and many other people lost electricity and heat. The power outage affected the functioning of transportation and telecommunications, among other crucial functions. The absence of subways and other transportation systems affected both education and people’s jobs, as an innumerable amount of local citizens rely on subway transportation every day.

The effects of this tragedy on the environment and economy caused New York City to lose billions of dollars, particularly due to the closing of airports, as well as minimum travel, open stores, functioning ferries, and more. “Damages to the transportation system were initially estimated to total $65 million,” and this only ended up being a fraction of the total damage to the city (Klaus H. Jacob, 5).

Hurricane Sandy was an unpreventable event caused by nature. Even though we tried to be prepared before it hit the city, New York had numerous vulnerabilities which we did not prepare for. Hurricane Sandy’s legacy is an important historic event because we can learn how to prepare ourselves if we should face a storm like Sandy again in the future.


Source: Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency. A Stronger, More Resilient New York. New York City: Government of New York City, 2013. Print.

11/28/2016 | Michael K.


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