As Queens Remains in the Dark, Panic and Fear Grow

Friday, November 02, 2012

Coney Island residents collecting food supplies from the National Guard. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Power has been restored to parts of Manhattan, but in Far Rockaway, Queens, it’s cold and dark. The NYPD says its adding extra patrols and lighting after reports of looting, but residents are still anxious and fearful.

Cars are still flipped upside down from the high waters and the roads are clogged with mounds of dirt and waterlogged furniture is filling up on sidewalks.

Waiting at a bus stop, Alice Bridges, 62, was getting panicky.  She has diabetes, and tried stocking up before the storm, but was told it wasn’t time to refill her prescription.

“I’m supposed to get 3 shots a day,” she said. “I haven’t taken any today at all, and I’ve been trying to get it. I know I need to eat, and I blacked out before for just missing lunch and I’m afraid it’ll happen again.”

There are four massive public housing complexes at Far Rockaway. Residents said at night, they hear people going door-to-door turning knobs, looking for an unlocked apartment.

Eddie Gale , 63, was pushing his son and niece down the street in a shopping cart to get supplies from the National Guard. He said the area is like a war zone.

“At night time here, it’s worse than the Vietnam jungle, where I was in ‘69, ‘68,” he said.  “Makes me think about this, [being a] survivor, you have to survive, here, and if you’re not strong, you won’t.”

Local shops are closed, and some have been looted. Some residents are afraid to leave their homes at night. The NYPD has sent extra patrols and has set up flood lights on the street.

Members of the Sikh Cultural Society in Forrest Hills, and the Karam Joth Sikh Temple joined up to make vats of rice, beans and vegetables for residents in the area. The National Guard was also handing out boxes of MREs and water Friday.

City Councilman James Sanders told The Daily News it could be four more days until power is restored in this area.

Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Firefighters putting out a small electrical fire in Coney Island.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Residents at Far Rockaway, Queens after Sandy.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Coney Island residents get supplies from National Guard.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Overturned cars in Far Rockaway, Queens after Sandy.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Child wrapped in blanket at Hammel Houses in Far Rockaway, Queens after Sandy.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Charging cell phones at Hammel Houses in Far Rockaway, Queens.


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Comments [6]

snow owl from Far Rockaway

No one cares about the poor. Especially the ones out in Far Rockaway, where the men are homegrown by the government to fill the prisons, to make hundred dollar products for 16 cents an hour. There has always been an overwhelming cloud of sadness. Overwhelming sense of hopelessness.................. I pray everyday n everynight for the appearance of God. LOL WE ALL DO!......."Vengeance is mine"! says the Lord. Every man shall have his day when he has to answer for the ways he has treated his fellow man. Many souls will be dark n heavy with guilt n regret. There is one thing we have and will never lose becouse of our trials and tribulations in The Rock.....Our Individual relationships with the Almighty. LOL He watches everyone and everything and is waiting until the appointed time to reset the time on the world.

Nov. 05 2012 02:55 AM
D. Wolf

I live in Far Rockaway and for over a week now me nd my family have been living in a hotel. I was lucky to get a room and I can afford to pay but I can not say the same for so many in Far Rockaway.

I did not see LIPA working in the area until today. It's a crime to see young children without food and adequate shelter. From Costco to Long Breach and Breeze Point there is no power or heat, what a crime. The thought of having to wait another month is not right in anyone's eyes.

The Mayor and other elected officials must do something now. It's getting colder and the longer this goes on the chances of more lifes being lost increases. Sandy caused it but because this community feels forgotten is the real crime.

Basements need to pumped and power is needed to light our homes and this Far Rockaway community. The city cannot continue to treat us like step- children.

We continue to help each other but we deserve more from the Utility Companys, Elected officials and The Federal Government.

Nov. 04 2012 09:15 PM
Terry from Brooklyn

I volenteered today in Rockaway. While the People in the community have done a wonderful job coordinating assistance for their neighbors, I saw no government relief. I didn't see one cop or government official walking the streets the entire time i was there. People in this area have been left to defend for themselves and their property while they shiver in their cold dark homes. On the other hand when I was in Manhattan this week there was a cop on every corner.

Nov. 03 2012 10:08 PM

I must agree with Mo. My heart goes out to ALL that has lost their properties, but most of all their loved ones. However the response time is sluggish here in Far Rockaway. It is now day 6 and nothing. I am in the area between Seagirt Boulevard and Mott Ave. Seagirt Blvd. is a notorious area for senior citizen residency. From what I have seen so far, supplies such as water, flash lights, candles has not been handed out, and let's not forget the necessity of food!!

On Mott Ave. the 101 Precinct made an attempt to allow people to charge their devices, I do not know how well that worked out. Some of Mott Ave's vendors were open for people to buy things, but what about the people that do not have the cash to buy anything or those that are not physically able to go out to shop, or those that live in the high rise and cannot go up and down stair cases. Then you have these characters standing on the corner selling candles/flashlights for a ridiculous price, which were probably stolen, who were taking advantage of this situation.

It is a grievance that Far Rockaway residence (those that are able) have to travel abroad to Jamaica Ave to get things that they need, to only stand at the bus stop and have overcrowded buses pass them by.

The Q113 bus is operational but with its limitations. But how could us Far Rockawayans know this, since we have no source of communications. There were people stranded in route to Far Rockaway. The bus drivers could not tell us about the bus schedule, and that's ashamed. There were no signs posted inside the buses. Sadly the Q111 bus drivers buses pulls up and tells the stranded crowd that there are no more buses to Far Rockaway and that we would have to catch the dollar van service.

I work out of JFK, so airport hours are 24 hours. Luckily my hours are from 12:00 PM - 8:30 PM. However I have to lose hours of work/money to catch the last bus coming from Jamaica to Far Far Rockaway. The thing is I refuse to stand on the corner of Farmers Blvd and Guy R. Brewer Blvd. for hours, to have several over-crowded dollar vans pass me by. In addition, I am not going to ride all the way into Jamaica to get a seat on a dollar van to ride all the way back to Far Rockaway.

The Q113 schedule last bus out of Jamaica is 5:00 PM and out of Far Rockaway at 5:45 PM. (this is what I was told today). So the people that work past 5:00 PM will have to ride the sardine packed dollar vans, cab it or have a friend or relative drive them in? Wow!!! The aspect of being safe (from what I heard) is the reason for this. Since there is only one way in and out of Far Rockaway, the cut off times are rather ridiculous!!!

Anyway I hope power is restored soon, because it is c-o-l-d outside especially in the Rockaways

Nov. 03 2012 01:50 PM

Thank you for covering the grim situation in the Rockaways. I am sure the South Shore of Long Island looks just as bad. If the response to Sandy was being coordinated by the government, it sure wasn't apparent to poor and displaced people in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. The response was late, inadequate and ad hoc. Why weren't kitchens set up by the city or the National Guard right away? Why weren't people stuck in public housing buildings (many without electricity) quickly identified? For once we needed a military-style response and what we got were press conferences, and controversies about the Marathon. Give me a break. Does anyone care about poor people?

Nov. 03 2012 09:03 AM

the way rockaways look now is just boardwalk, everything upside down,mess,dirt,sand everywhere... hard to believe. so sad.

Nov. 03 2012 06:24 AM

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