I am a third generation Gerritsen Beach resident and Irish Catholic American. My home, like most of the homes in Gerritsen Beach, was flooded with over six feet of water. Homes and cars of residents are completely destroyed.
Physically and emotionally, people are distraught.
We were in a Zone B, so we were not forced to leave, many residents never imagined the storm could be that bad because we trusted the city officials judgement. Trust is lost. Mothers have had to send their children to relatives out of state, families are freezing in 35 degrees temperatures with snow, and one Gerritsen Beach man was tragically taken during the storm.
The conditions are terrible, unsafe, and heartbreaking. We have seen some representatives from FEMA, the Red Cross, and the NYC Food Truck Association, but many families have not had this opportunity.
Gerritsen Beach needs heating stations, supplies, and volunteers to help remove debris. Being without heat and power for over a week in these conditions is anything less than ideal.
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The sanitation department have been a tremendous help in throwing out our items, the FDNY and NYPD have been here as well and many of them are our own. Gerritsen Beach is a tight knit community and many are city employees who on their off hours are helping their neighbors and repairing their own homes.
Many of the families who were displaced have nowhere to go because their families reside in the surrounding areas of Rockaway and Breezy Point.
One of the items saved from my basement was a steel cross made out of the metal of the World Trade Center from September 11, 2001. This is now sitting in my kitchen as a symbol of hope to rebuild and stay strong.
The storm has really brought out the qualities of love, loyalty, and friendship throughout my family and neighbors.
We are very blessed to have each other and I do believe the Irish Eyes of Gerritsen Beach will be smiling again soon.