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As a public service, NY1 provides special coverage of Hurricane Sandy's aftermath with no login required for video content.

Brooklyn Record Company Continues To Clean Up Mess Left By Sandy

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TWC News: Brooklyn Record Company Continues To Clean Up Mess Left By Sandy
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A Brooklyn record company that was rocked by Hurricane Sandy is still cleaning up the mess left behind. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

For nearly nine months, Daniel Gillian has been cleaning vinyl records by hand, one by one, to try to save thousands that were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.

"You get your act together with enough repetition, so I've become quite the master of this by now," he said.

Gillian works for Norton Records, which has been selling 45s and LPs since 1986. The Brooklyn-based record label has its main office in Prospect Heights but its storage facility in Red Hook.

You can see some pictures at right of what happened to their inventory after Hurricane Sandy came barreling through.

"It looked like demons had been on the loose in there," said co-owner Miriam Linna. "Everything was soaking wet. We saw immediately that the water line was about seven feet high."

There were records in the rubble, master tapes, artists' files and books. The company had recently expanded to publishing, creating Kicks Books. Hundreds of books were lost, as well as a quarter million records.

"The insurance wouldn't help us. The landlord wouldn't help us. The city wouldn't help us. FEMA wouldn't help us," said co-owner Billy Miller. "I just have to tell myself, 'What would the Little Rascals do?' So I just called my friends. I said, 'We have to rebuild the clubhouse. Simple as that.'"

Dozens of volunteers came out to help peel off corroded album covers, strip and buff the vinyl and then spin clean it. The efforts helped salvage some of the stock.

To help generate business, the Norton Label put together Sandy packs. They're 10 different 45s packaged together with a Sandy stamp and a spindle. They sell for $20.

As for the book division, most titles have been reprinted. As for the vintage collection that was housed there, the company turned to the Brooklyn Historical Society for its expertise.

"After the books got dry, we packed them very tight, at their advice, into cardboard boxes," Linna said. "And now, they say in August, when it's the hottest, let's get those out of there and see what the next step is."

Step by step for an independent book and record company that's hoping to spin its misfortune into a happy note.

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