In the weeks and months following the 2013 storm, I photo-documented what I could to help make it real for those who didn't see it in person. It was hard to fathom and it was very personal. I know several people who lost their homes and my nephew, an FDNY firefighter, waded through chest high water to reach stranded people.
The Verrazano Bridge was lit on the Brooklyn side and dark toward Staten island. Sheepshead Bay rose over the seawall in Manhattan Beach, delivering a flood of water and mud into people's homes and filling basements to the ceiling. The Atlantic Ocean crashed violently over the famous Rockaway boardwalk, destroying concrete and asphalt as though there had been an earthquake. Countless tons of beach sand surged into Breezy Point homes where an electical fire took out 100 homes. Sections of Rockaway looked as though they had been bombed. Walking on deep sand covering concrete sidewalks was disorienting; seeing pile after pile of treasured possessions turned into garbage was heartbreaking. Seeing the physical wreckage of homes and buildings was overwhelming.
Through all of this, I was continually struck by the resillience of the people who continued to bail and dig and sweep to try to salvage their homes. Seeing so many fellow New Yorkers step up and help in any way that they could restored some faith in humanity.