Thursday, December 6, 2012

NY Times on The Wave and Rockaway Film: Together We Will Rebuild

The NY Times has been doing some great articles on Rockaway. Today they made me kvell. I was so happy to see the first post storm issue last week. I just hope it survives the storm.

City Room: Newspaper Born of a Fire Is Back in Ink After a Storm

The Wave, the weekly newspaper in the Rockaways, has resumed printing after Hurricane Sandy ruined its offices. On Wednesday, Susan Locke, the publisher, worked on the computer, while Sandy Bernstein, the general manager, tried to keep the phone lines working. Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times The Wave, the weekly newspaper in the Rockaways, has resumed printing after Hurricane Sandy ruined its offices. On Wednesday, Susan Locke, the publisher, worked on the computer, while Sandy Bernstein, the general manager, tried to keep the phone lines working.
Never has the name of The Wave, the weekly newspaper of the Rockaways, seemed so apt.
“Wave of Fire, Wall of Water,” read the headline atop The Wave on Friday. It was its first print edition since Hurricane Sandy sent over four feet of water crashing through its offices on Rockaway Beach Boulevard five weeks ago, forcing the newspaper to stop publishing for the first time in its 119-year history.
Like everybody else fighting to recover from the storm, many of the employees had lost almost everything. Like everyone else, they needed cars, electricity and a dry place to sleep.
Like other local companies, The Wave has had to cut back on labor. It may be in the news business, but it is also a small business, and the staff members knew it would live or die by how quickly they could start putting out a newspaper again.
More on The Wave story

The makers of the film below, Friends of Rockaway, focus on the Belle Harbor/Neponsit/Rockaway Park section from 149th to 116th Street, the most economically advantaged area in Rockaway. Yet you can see even in this area there are many people without the resources to get back on their feet without help. What makes this an interesting area is that you find city workers -- police, fire, teachers, sanitation and doctors, lawyers, corp execs etc. living in this area. There is some diversity, mostly people from China or India/Pakisatan. Black and Latino/as mostly live in poorer areas downtown. Just in case you were thinking that Rockaway is an all white area, as the film seems to suggest whereas the majority of people in Rockaway are not white. Many live in public housing but quite a few own homes further downtown and must have gotten hit quite hard. We don't see all that much about people who live in the 80's down through the 20s. I would hope someone is doing a film about those areas.

At the UFT Exec Board meeting I met an African-American woman who lives in the 20s while I was talking to Queens Borough Rep Rona Freiser who lives in Long Beach. We're all in the same literal and proverbial boat it seems.

Yesterday there was a Town Hall meeting at St. Francis Church on 129th St.
I hear all the agencies were there but reports of Rapid Response which will pay for basic heat, hot water and electrical is very slow with 2500 on a waiting list. Luckily we have the resource to pay up front with the hope of getting all or most of it back from flood insurance. We just don't see how people can wait for RR with winter coming.

When people came out to volunteer I urge them to go help out further downtown -- the lower the street numbers, the more help people may need.

Check in with Occupy Sandy on Rockaway Beach Blvd around 110th St.



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