"In the first two weeks after Sandy, residents in Red Hook didn’t have power or electricity -- but they didn’t have to worry about lootings at their businesses, being mugged for their smartphones, or an attack by a sexual predator in the darkness of the blackout."
"Despite desperate conditions in the Red Hook housing development and residences nearby, there was virtually no crime -- and no storm-related deaths. Other neighborhoods like Breezy Point and Coney Island haven’t been as lucky."
"Police sources have credited the drop in crime to an unlikely coalition that included the NYPD, Occupy Wall Street activists, and local nonprofits working together to keep storm victims safe." Said one of these unnamed sources, "This crisis allowed us all to remove the politics and differences we had to do our job, and come to the aid of the people. We all rose to the occasion."
But will this camaraderie last? And will the NYPD finally reimburse OWS for the stolen pop and pizza?
Democracy Now! is broadcasting under power outage conditions as they, and much of New York City, are without electricity after Superstorm Sandy pounded the East Coast. They continue their coverage of Sandy by looking at how it has impacted an economically divided New York City, especially in Manhattan, where the the richest fifth make 40 times more money than the poorest fifth. Inequality in Manhattan rivals parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Amy Goodman is joined in New York City by Reuters journalist David Rohde, whose new article for The Atlantic is "The Hideous Inequality Exposed by Hurricane Sandy." Rohde writes: "Those with a car could flee. Those with wealth could move into a hotel. Those with steady jobs could decline to come into work. But the city’s cooks, doormen, maintenance men, taxi drivers and maids left their loved ones at home." Rohde is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a former reporter for the New York Times.
Indeed, where else is the great divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots" more evident than in New York City? In the financial district -- Wall Street -- Goldman Sachs, and other financial institutions light up the night sky, while elsewhere in the city people need food, water, and wait for power for lights as the nights grow ever colder. But, the stock market... it's business as usual.
David Rohde explains what he's experiencing in NYC:
"There were two different maids I remember talking to that were still sort of walking through this hotel. It just seemed absurd, actually. The power had gone out in the hotel the night before, yet this one maid came in and sort of changed our sheets. And I just sort of felt—just felt ridiculous. I asked her about her family. She said that she had been in touch with them in Queens."
"There was a garage attendant I talked to nearby. He had not talked to his family at all since the storm struck. He was an immigrant, said most of his family is in another country. And I said, "But do you have any relative here?" And he said that he did have a sister in New Jersey, but he hadn’t been able to speak with her at all since the storm broke. He—I honestly let him make a call on my cellphone; he left a message for her. But what struck me was I asked him, "What did you do? How did you get through this storm?" And he had just stayed at this garage where he works, right near Union Square. And he said that throughout the storm, he just had slept in his car."
A photo from what’s left of the Breezy Point neighborhood in Queens. Via the official FDNY Flickr account.
Occupy Wall Street & 350.org have teamed up with Recovers.org – a people-powered disaster relief platform – to help coordinate response to Hurricane Sandy in NYC. At Recovers.org we are launching support pages where people can GIVE help or post a NEED. For ongoing updates and info about this evolving relief effort, and to find out how you can help, be sure to sign up and stay informed at the Occupy Sandy Hub!
• NEW YORK: Mandatory evacuation in Zone A. MTA suspends subway and bus service. Public schools closed on Monday. NYSE suspends operation on Monday, likely Tuesday as well. Pres. Obama declares state of emergency.
• NEW JERSEY: NJ transit shut down across the state. Schools closed in over 250 counties. Barrier islands evacuated (evacuation routes). Pres. Obama declares state of emergency.
• PENNSYLVANIA: SEPTA suspends services. Flights in, out of Philadelphia Int'l Airport cancelled for Monday. Pres. Obama declares state of emergency.
• DELAWARE: Level 2 driving restriction starts Monday at 5am ET, bans anyone from driving on the road except "essential personnel" (read more).