On Friday night I drove out to Staten Island with Animal New York's Bucky Turco to marvel at some real, live FEMA-worthy destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy, where many homes of New Dorp Beach are now just soggy trash heaps awaiting a proper disposal/burial.
Although some of the traffic lights up and down Hylan Boulevard worked and there were dimly lit shopping centers with Subway sandwiches still for sale, once you turn down some of the coastal side streets it's all cop sirens and sanitation trucks circling single-family homes doomed to be condemned. Most of the front yards we saw were now fortresses of muddy furniture and useless household appliances. There were drowned toys and ruined stereo equipment and a crate of fitted Yankee caps. It's like the bleakest flea market in history, yet some of the residents who chose to wait inside their cold homes until the lights come back on still felt it necessary to spray paint plywood signs warning trespassers that they "Have Gun" should anyone want to walk off with an official natural disaster souvenir.
And the cars left behind have either flooded engines or are covered in tree limbs and won't be a priority until the bulldozers can finish demolishing the bigger houses with the roofs smashed in and push them off to the side until another truck carries them all away. I can't imagine the residents of this neighborhood will have their lives un-fucked by this anytime soon.
Here are some of the pictures we took like the evil tourists we were—but none of the exhausted cops and cleanup crews seemed too annoyed by our presence unless we stepped on a fallen power line and made their jobs more difficult. So if it makes you feel good to help go to Staten Island Recovers and see what you can do, but lugging over blankets and cans of soup won't do a whole helluva lot.
[Photo by Bucky Turco for ANIMAL.]