A new campaign by local relief workers aims to preserve the memory of what Hurricane Sandy was like in Red Hook, one of Brooklyn's hardest-hit neighborhoods. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
There are signs of recovery all over Red Hook, four months after Hurricane Sandy crippled the Brooklyn community and its businesses. But the memories of the devastating storm remain, and it's those memories residents are being invited to share in a "Tell Your Story" campaign.
"I have never been through anything like this before, so I was able to share something so crazy to me," said Red Hook resident Julie Sombat.
Dozens of people turned out to participate Saturday. The campaign, sponsored by Emergency Management Methodology Partners, a local relief organization, aims to document exactly what people went through, in the hopes of helping better prepare for future storms.
"We came up with a strategy document for full-time recovery for Red Hook that is very tailored to this very specific community," said Noel Kepler, an EMMP organizer.
The community came to a virtual standstill when the flood waters rushed in.
"It smelled like gasoline, everything was ruined, there were cars thrown up onto the sidewalk. It was just unbelievable," said Sombat.
Business ground to a halt along popular Van Brunt Street. Many people lost power for days and even when it came back, it was sporadic for months afterward.
For resident Ira Vanderpool-Ramos, it was difficult caring for a disabled child and an elderly mother.
"When the power went off, I couldn't get them downstairs," Vanderpool-Ramos said. "And then she's sickly. Ice, medicine, sugar medicine, I didn't know where I was going to go if these people didn't stick together and bring it to us."
The group is hoping to record 200 testimonials throughout the week the center is open. The recordings will be used in a documentary that will be shown at a fundraiser for small business owners in Red Hook in April.