The Sun Shined Upon Hurricane Relief Work in Rockaway Park Today

by Connor Gibson

November 8, 2012


I cannot get my nose to stop running…

But in the full context of hurricane Sandy relief efforts here in the Rockaways of Queens, New York City, a runny nose doesn’t matter one bit. This incredible video shows why:

My runny nose indicates a major improvement from yesterday–we’re not caught in a slushy blizzard. All this junk floating in the air was suppressed by yesterday’s rain and snow. I’m allergic to dust, and there’s more dust and debris here than anywhere I’ve ever been.

Josh, who has been in Rockaway providing help for over a week now, washes the solar panels on the Rolling Sunlight. Rockaway Park, Queens, NYC.

But the sun came out today, charging the solar panels on our Rolling Sunlight. Lots of curious people take breaks from their obligatory cleanup tasks to chat about solar power, and we’ve been spotted by reporters withthe Guardianand the Daily Beast.

The sun is also charging our own sprits. I can be comfortable in a sweatshirt, whereas yesterday I was shivering in a winter jacket over several layers. There is no biting wind.People are more relaxed as they stop by the collection station where we are parked, nicknamed “YANA” for “You Are Not Alone.”

The irony that I described yesterday–that of people’s generally good attitudes and helpful dispositions in a disaster zone–continues today. I just overheard a teenage girl walking by assuring her father that she had done her homework as emergency vehicles and giant construction trucks amble by.

There’s still an immense amount of work to be done. There’s still no operating electric grid. Mud coats the streets and trash is strewn all over the place. Entire buildings-turned-rubble still need to be picked up and hauled out of here. Some people are still not answering their doors. Some are in need of more assistance than is immediately available, and relief organizers are working to create care packages that can be delivered.

We are doing what we can to lend a hand, giving heat to the new medical clinic we helped put up, keeping the outdoor kitchen operating and doing whatever other tasks and errands the volunteers here ask help with.

YOU TOO CAN HELP–check out for information on how you can donate money, supplies or your own time and energy to help this community pull itself back together in the wake of hurricane Sandy.

Connor Gibson

By Connor Gibson

Connor Gibson is a former member of Greenpeace's Investigations team. He focused on polluting industries, their front groups, and PR operatives, particularly on the Koch Brothers.

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