Monday, November 26, 2012

Rockaway Update: Positively Dystopian

But then I saw a light -- one store still standing seemed to be the HQ of Occupy Sandy with a big green sign saying "Global Warming?"
Monday, November 26, 2012
This is mostly cleaned up now

Sunday morning I felt I was in the final scene of the original Planet of the Apes (spoiler alert) when Charlton Heston, who thinks he has been on another planet, comes upon a wrecked Statue of Liberty and realizes humanity had destroyed itself.

We're a month into post Sandy. I haven't been getting out and about Rockaway much other than basic entering and leaving, with a few side trips to the parking lots where the cars were towed to grab certain items and my license plates. These lots, full of wrecked cars, are on the bay side, so I haven't really seen much of the beach side, though we did take one walk to friends on a beach block and saw some of the devastation to the beach houses around 137/8th St. where the wonderful singer Kenny Vance* who grew up in Belle Harbor, had his beach house totally destroyed.

My friend Susan who lives in a 10 story building facing the ocean on 106th St. left town a few days after Sandy after finding the boardwalk and 4 ft of sand in her lobby. She left us her car. She came home Sunday morning and I picked her up at Laguardia. As we came into Rockaway over the Cross Bay Bridge driving on Shore Front Parkway along the beach I felt like Heston. The concrete skeletons of the support structure the boardwalk had rested on were sticking up like ancient dinosaurs. There seemed to be no beach with the ocean running under the concrete structures.

We turned into the courtyard of the building where loads of cars were parked, along with all kinds of maintenance trucks and a trailer which was probably a boiler. "Drive to the lot behind the building so I can see if my spot is available," Susan said. The lot was full of dead cars mixed with some live ones, some of the cars had clearly floated. The entire Rockaway peninsula is a cemetery for thousands of dead cars. It is almost incomprehensible. Everywhere you do you still see dead cars.

Susan told me to take her car since there was not spot. On the way home I passed more devastation. The stretch of Rockaway Beach Blvd between 116th and 108th street had a few blocks of rubble -- all stores are gone. Looked like another fire had hit them.

But then I saw a light -- one store still standing seemed to be the HQ of Occupy Sandy with a big green sign saying "Global Warming?"

Up for today: Air conditioner guys come to replace the compressor that was hit by the storm. When it was put in 7 years ago I insisted it be raised off the ground --- it was -- 2 ft. Now I'm having the new one hung 8 ft -- I don't care how ugly it looks. Since it is also a heat pump it will give us heat in the main area of our house when/if the electrician comes to run another line to replace the one that was compromised by sea water. But if the plumber comes first to finish installing the boiler that will give us our regular heating system back. Hoping both are done by the end of the week.

Did you know that NY State law says the insur co can't remove your car until the turn your plates in? Tomorrow we pick up our new Honda CRV so I am paying ins for 3 cars even though I already relinquished the titles to the dead ones to Geiko. My first stop will be the DMV and then I go tool shopping with a chain saw my priority. Here's why.

Inundated by Mormons
If I knew I might have considered Mitt. These guys and gals are all over the place. A few stopped by -- father and daughter from Virginia and a guy from Astoria -- they have Mormons in Queens? I took them to my backyard to check out a 20 ft high leaning emerald gold arborvitae, which we planted as a 4 ft shrub almost 30 years ago. "Get a chain saw and cut most of it down to give it a chance to survive" the lead guy said. He seemed to know what he was talking about. I didn't say I would put it on the roof of my car and drive to Canada.

Who knows what lurks inside our walls? 

Mold: that is the fright word you hear all over. A group called Friends of Rockaway which will focus on the Rockaway Park (149-116th St) area is holding Sunday 3PM meetings at St. Francis church, the hub of relief efforts. We went to the meeting yesterday in the warming tent where volunteers were serving food, etc. and heard a mold expert scare us to death. The costs of spraying, washing, etc are high (65 cents a sq ft). Mix bleach or vinegar with water and start spraying. And don't close up those walls for weeks or put insulation in even with winter coming to let the air circulate. Mold spores hate cold. So do I.

*A Kenny Vance storm story I heard. Friends live on 136 on the bay block, 5 blocks away from Vance's former home. They found a box of Vance CDs in prime condition on their lawn and some letters that had floated over from his house --- just a sense of the power of the surge.

I hear The Wave office is reopening today. Yay!

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