Sandy has been a horrible disaster for the New York area. I so wish I could believe that this was a 1-in-one-hundred year storm and all we need to do is help the people that have lost the most and clean up and repair the city. Sea level rise will be experienced as a series of increasingly intense storms. The question of how to build resilience into the city has now become acute.
On Thursday, after Sandy, I walked through Gowanus and Red Hook. There was little to see of the real suffering that I know took place and is continuing to take place because of the storm.
The Gowanus is achingly beautiful at dawn. Beautiful in the way a ruins are beautiful.
On this morning, it seemed like the brick buildings were relics from the past. I am sure that if I had been worried about its legacy pollution flooding my home during Sandy, it would not look so beautiful to me. It would look malevolent.
More garbage than usual was in the water but by Thursday there was little visible damage from Sandy to be seen.
I was so happy when I saw the F train go over the bridge. I will never take the F train for granted again.
Traffic appeared to be at a standstill on the BQE. Of course, that isn’t that unusual.
I then walked through Red Hook park which looked very normal except for the yellow tape across the entrance and by the farm where it looked like one of the temporary structures there had been blown over. Then I walked behind the Ikea. Workers were cleaning up. Everything looked normal except for a few tell tale signs that I remembered from Irene. There were boats in places where they are not usually having sought shelter from the storm.
The wooden fence that blocks off the area where the Revere Sugar Factory stood was temporarily down so I took the opportunity to get a closer look at the ruins.
As I walked out along the edge of the water, I could see the warehouses (I remember Francis Marrone saying it was these warehouses lining the edges of Brooklyn that gave it the nickname “The Walled City”) and how they were built to accommodate loading and unloading.
Looking back from the Revere Sugar Factory lot to the city which at the moment this photo was without power. It is possible that this storm will change the future of this site. Once there were rumors of building student housing here. I don’t know how parents would feel abut their children living in Zone A.
This is what is left of the factory. This was also a location in the movie Across the Universe.
Here I met a man named Sean who was fishing. He actually caught 3 fish while we talked. He was a construction worker who had fallen off a building 6 years ago. He hasn’t worked since then. But he loves fishing. He loves sitting at the edge of the water. We both sat there taking some solace in the water, the sunshine, the air. The same elements that wrought so much damage but now were all so peaceful. I felt grateful to be there.