There are no words, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. There are no pictures because I think it’s important not just to see the pictures again and again, but to hear the stories of the people whose lives are reflected in those images. Turn on the news. Don’t look away even if you want to. I know that for many Hurricane Sandy was a storm that made a lot of news last weekend, and is now fading from our national consciousness, but please remember, there are people here who have not had power since Monday. The elderly, the sick, newborns and pets without power or water or heat and with not much to eat. And, in many cases, they are the lucky ones. Many others have nothing at all and some perished in the storm and the days following.
I was born and raised in New Jersey. Like most Jersey kids, I spent at least a week of every summer at the Jersey Shore. Chris was born in Staten Island and moved out to NJ as a kid and spent the weekend after prom and more than a few others at the beaches. We both went to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and then moved to Jersey City. We’ve got framed maps of Jersey on our walls, Bruce Springsteen on our iPods and I’ve got Jersey’s outline tattooed on my ribs. It goes without saying that we live and breathe New Jersey.
We are heartbroken. The days that have passed have done little to ease our pain. Our shoreline is devastated. Landmarks we thought we’d show our kids some day have been washed out to sea. We lost power and water on Monday and regained it yesterday, but our neighbors in Hoboken are still underwater. Our friends all over New Jersey are waiting in 3 hour long gas lines to fuel the generators powering their homes. We look across the river at lower Manhattan at night and see darkness. And still, we are the lucky ones. They death toll is still rising in Staten Island and crews are only now beginning to clean up the ashes of the homes destroyed in Breezy Point. The kids in our state never got a chance to trick or treat on Halloween, and so many will not have a home to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas in this year.
We have been and continue to count each and every one of our blessings and thank God that our little family as well as our extended family and friends stayed safe and suffered little to no damage in the storm. It is truly a miracle. We were reminded how fortunate we were when our neighbors and family welcomed us in for warm food and a hot shower in the days following the storm. We will never take any of that for granted. Still, our roots run deep and it makes us sick to see our neighbors in Jersey and Staten Island suffering so much.
We will rebuild because we’re New Jersey and New York and can’t nobody hold us down, but there is so much that can’t be replaced. There is so much that will never be the same. So, as time passes and the memory of this horrible disaster fades in the minds of many, please know that New Jersey and Staten Island are in our hearts. We think of the people effected constantly. We’re praying for them, and we want to help however we can. Please don’t forget about us. Please don’t think that we are ok because, as a whole, we’re really not.
The fact that the New York City Marathon is being run tomorrow is reprehensible and disgusting. It is thoughtless and hurtful and any other spin put on it by officials or others is false advertising. It will not lend a sense of normalcy to the city, as the marathon is anything but normal in a good year. Besides, we’re working on a new normal now, and we’ll adjust to it when we’re good and ready. If even one emergency responder, police officer or elected official spends even one moment of time on the marathon instead of the recovery effort, it will be a waste. Mayor Bloomberg, you still have time. Cancel this race. It grossly disrespectful for the people of New York City and a disservice to all those runners who participate in it.
I don’t blame the runners who choose to do the race. You can’t really understand how horrible Sandy was for this area unless you were here. Ultimately the error lies with the officials in charge, but as you toe the start line in Staten Island, before you race over the bridge and out of that forgotten borough, keep in mind that they are still pulling bodies out of the water around you. When you use the pre-race port-a-potties, keep in mind that NYC residents who have been without running water for a week were chased away from those bathrooms by race officials. When you warm yourself at the post race tents, remember that thousands were still without power as those generators sat unused in Central Park. When you have your post-race bagel, think about the last time you had to worry about where your next meal was coming from. When spectators seem less than enthusiastic, don’t write it off as another example of a rude New Yorker (I have seen more kindness in the days following the storm than I have in a long time) remember that residents are still shaken and will be for a long time. And if you’re not from New York, don’t you dare go home and tell your friends you think the news is exaggerating the damage because “Central Park looks just fine!” Remember, resources were diverted from cleaning up the remains of people’s homes and businesses to tidy up the park for runners.
Again, I’m not blaming the runners. I understand that those who participate in the race are not actively trying to hurt the people suffering in our city. I’m just asking you not to forget about them. I’m asking you to remember. If nothing else, keep all who were effected in your thoughts and prayers.
New Jersey we love you. New York we love you. We’ll be here today, tomorrow and as long as it takes.
If you’d like to donate… The American Red Cross is one of the most reputable organizations around, so rest assured that your money will go to those in need.
If you’re local and would like to get hands on… Serve.gov has a list of needs and
For projects specific to New Jersey information can be found on the New Jersey Needs Facebook page.
If you’re in Hudson County and still without power, water or food, please email me.