Reporting Sandy

A rainbow, projected into the sky at night, in memory of Sandy’s victims. Photo taken at the corner of Hudson and Bleecker, in lower Manhattan.

Some of my reports from around New York on the storm’s impact on the city:

At Slate, “Staten Island Households Reduced to Piles of Debris.” A dispatch from one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the city:

At the corner of Hylan Boulevard and New Dorp Lane, about 30 residents of Staten Island lined up for gas, red cans in hand. They were there at 9:30 a.m. when I walked past the station and still waiting an hour later just outside the yellow caution tape wrapped around the Hess Express’ perimeter. The thing was, there was no gas to sell. The station had shut down the night before in a tense scene as cops directed lines of cars and people away from one of the few stations on the island that had been selling fuel. The line in the morning was anticipating a delivery later that day.

At Religion and Politics, “The Sunday Before The Election.” I was asked to participate in a group reporting effort on American houses of worship the weekend before the presidential elections. This was just after the storm hit, so I went to Staten Island and reported from a church with a lot more on their minds than voting booths:

The lights flickered back on at the Crossroads Church in Staten Island about 24 hours before services began Sunday morning, five days after Hurricane Sandy devastated large portions of the island’s coast. In the lobby, tables filled with food, cleaning supplies, and toiletries lined the hallway to the sanctuary of the storefront church building. Matt Parascando paced in front of the bounty on his cell phone, trying to figure out where the supplies needed to go, and how it’d get there, since a gas crisis across New York City has made car travel a precious commodity.

Congregants trickled in for the 11 a.m. service, some carrying, some needing supplies. Chatter before the service was of clearing houses, gas lines, and neighbors who lost everything. For the most part, those at Crossroads this morning were faring a bit better. Many were volunteering, and, as founding pastor Ray Parascando (Matt’s brother) told me, some had been working since the night of the storm. With an election days away, talk of politics was in terms of FEMA and Mayor Bloomberg, of relief needs, police keeping order, and a notion that the current attention being paid to Staten Island’s disaster would be swept away by increasing media attention on the election.

At Columbia Journalism Review: “An Occupy Sandy Faux Pas.” The actual story behind a viral photo:

A photo depicting a cluster of men in military uniform listening attentively to a woman with a plastic “OCCUPY” armband shot around the twittersphere this past weekend, cited as evidence of something pretty unusual: Occupy Sandy training the National Guard in relief work.

At the New Humanist: “The Allure of Armageddon” – my report from the safety of central Virginia, where I was stranded when Sandy hit:

I spent Monday’s hurricane in the mountains of Virginia, just outside of the worst of the so-called “Frankenstorm”, including the freak blizzards hitting the Appalachians as Sandy met New York City. While my home city was thrashed, burned, blacked-out and soaked, the worst catastrophe I witnessed was the winds of Sandy knocking a beverage glass into a hot tub, spilling its precious cargo of a fine single malt scotch.

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