Archive for November, 2012

Thanksgiving, Sandy, and America’s soul

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Thanksgiving, Sandy, and America’s soul
We know that Thanksgiving begins America’s annual month-long holiday season, and that it seems to bring out the best in Americans, a sort of giving spirit that represents the spiritual greatness of who we can be as human beings. I especially think about that this Thanksgiving week given the very ugly and divisive presidential campaign cycle we just concluded, and the equal ugliness of Superstorm Sandy that rocked us so badly in the Northeast that there are countless residents, of various backgrounds, still without house or home or, if in their own confines, without heat or electricity, or both.

Indeed I’ve not seen such nonstop calls for food, for supplies and resources since I did a year’s worth of relief and recovery work in the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Now like then a gigantic disaster, ironically, produces a sort of magic in our America: It shows that we can come together as a people, irrespective of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion (or not), disability or ability. It shows that Americans are and can be a kind and generous people, can rally to the aid and comfort of those in dire need, including the organized democracy of Occupy Sandy, an off-shoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, where you see folks on both sides of America’s capitalism working shoulder to shoulder in places like Far Rockaway, Queens. In short, there is an awe-inspiring brand of selflessness happening, as we struggle through relief and recovery from Sandy.

But as great as the above is, I also think of something Bono, lead singer of the rock group U2, once said: we must understand the difference between charity and justice. Charity means we give money, a bit of our time, to a cause, a disaster, a relief and recovery effort, then we keep it moving with our lives where the hardened boundaries of, say, race and class, are perpetually alive and in living color in our America. I thought of this as I listened to some well-meaning New Yorkers, clearly of the city’s upper class, discuss their upcoming “trip” from their cushy doorman high-rise to Far Rockaway. It felt as if they were describing incredibly patronizing missionary work in some foreign land or, worse, what I call a cultural safari where people, albeit with good intentions, are so detached from those different from them that they do not even get they are peddling forms of classism and racism simply by virtue of the words dropping from their lips. What is a field trip to the ghetto for some is a permanent and hardcore reality for others.

Moreover, justice means even as we unite for American traditions like Thanksgiving we never forget to acknowledge the slaughter and genocide of scores of Native Americans for whom Thanksgiving means something entirely different than to most of us. This is why I say a silent meditation for Native Americans every year around this time because they were here first and were forcibly and savagely shoved over to the tattered margins of American democracy. Justice also means we are clear that we, human beings, are sisters and brothers, we belong to one big family called the human race. And that it does not matter if you have privilege because of your race, class, gender, or sexual orientation. What matters, because humans do matter, is that you use your privileged space to empathize, to understand, to listen and learn, and to support the communities that are lights years away from yours. Think of Bobby Kennedy, a White man of tremendous wealth who, in the final years of his too-short life, was able to reach Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and others in a way rarely seen in American history. Think of Dr. King who did the same and who, at the end of his too-short life, was so unafraid of crossing boundaries, that he of the Nobel Peace Prize and world fame was working with garbage men in Memphis when he was killed. And organizing a poor people’s campaign of working-class Americans, too.

And think of that very brief moment, in 2008, of the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama. It had that same kind of soul and possibility. But it seems the exact moment he took the oath of office America tumbled backwards, the darkest chapters of its mighty saga updated and remixed for the 21st century. No, President Obama’s first term was not what many hoped for, not even remotely close. And I pray, very deeply, that his second term is far better, for so many reasons I cannot get into here. But unless you’ve lived under a giant boulder for the past decade or so there is no denying Mr. Obama was a superior presidential candidate to Mitt Romney in 2012. By a wide margin.

Yet if you do not believe in an America for we the people, if the America you believe in is for the haves and not the rest of us, is for people who look like you and think like you only, then you are also very likely to spew some of the most hateful, divisive, mean-spirited, and anti-human being comments, publicly and privately, we’ve seen since the height of America’s Civil Rights Movement. I am not playing the race card here because I have no cards to play, nor do I believe in games when we are talking about matters as serious as this. It is called truth-telling, completely, because that is the only way our country will ever go forward.

To be blunt, my friend Richard L. said it best to me just yesterday evening: there are White people in America and then there are those who happen to be White. White people are the ones who keep saying we need to take the country back. White people are the ones still accusing Barack Obama of not having a college degree, of not being an American citizen, of committing voter fraud, who are simply pissed that a Black man is sitting in the White House. So the questions beg themselves: Take our country back to where, from whom, and why?

But those who happen to be White understand that race is a human-made river of no return, that if America is to survive and thrive in the 21st century and beyond we’d better get to know our neighbors beyond the surface of charity, volunteerism, and writing checks to this or that non-profit in this or that ‘hood, or living vicariously through the coolest Black rapper or Black athlete of the moment.

But the burden is not simply on my White sisters and brothers. Black people and other people of color also need a soulful gut check, too, more than ever. Protesting just for the sake of protesting and reactionary politics are dead, and it has become very tired to blame every single thing on racism. Any leader of color who does that should not be respected nor followed. But it is also not an either or proposition to me: yes we need to be very loud and focused when there is clear and present racism: like the prison-industrial complex; like the police tactic of stop and frisk; like failing public schools in communities of color; like stereotypical and destructive images of people of color in the media, film, and tv; like the absence of diversity in corporate America or other institutions. Put another way, every American should have the opportunity to have an opportunity, just as I did, because of the Civil Rights Movement, and in spite of the terrible circumstances of my single mother and the poverty of my youth. And no American should have her or his life reduced to hopelessness and despair simply because of the circumstances of who they are or what they were born into.

Yet we also need to challenge, for example, Black and Latino elected officials who represent areas most devastated by Sandy and ask some very basic questions, like: What consistent resources and services were some of you funneling to your voters before this disaster hit? Like, Why were some of you not raising your voice before Sandy about the gross inequalities in New York City around race and class, and why are some of you silent now as it becomes very clear that even the recovery efforts are unequal due to race and class?

And I will most certainly point the finger at myself. I now deeply regret a “debate” I had with one Ann Coulter on Current TV, in the weeks leading to election day. I do not agree with anything she has to say. However, I should have never talked above her or put forth an energy that was not constructive to those who were watching. And I deeply regret the tone of the blog I wrote about her afterwards. For that I apologize publicly to her and to anyone who may have watched or read and did not appreciate how the exchange went down. That is not what we need more of in America, and that is not who I am these days, nor who I want to be. When we talk about America’s soul, we’ve got to bring ourselves and our country to a place where we can agree to disagree civilly, with grace, class, and respect. To a place where love is the way, not hate, and we need to fight as hard for love as others have fought for hate. We need an America where nonviolence and peace are our anchors, not violence in its many vicious forms, nor a spiritual chaos that keeps us torn asunder, from ourselves, from each other.

And we’ve got to get to a place, in our America, where Thanksgiving is not merely one day a year, or one holiday season, or about Black Friday and being consumed with material things, but instead a spiritual movement and awakening that has a lasting place in the hearts and souls of us all. Where we will no longer wait for disasters to hit before we find the generosity and caring that has been there all along. For when we do that we will truly understand what it is to be born, again, not for any religious purpose, not for any one holiday or season, but as human beings, for the rest of our lives….

Kevin Powell is a writer, activist, public speaker, and author or editor of 11 books. Email him at, or follow him on twitter @kevin_powell



Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Created by Kevin Powell

Out of great love and concern for our wonderful city my team and I have been posting to Facebook and twitter what we hope is very useful information as we’ve dealt with Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. Given my experiences doing extensive relief and recovery work around Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast, we’ve decided to put together a quick info and resource guide for New Yorkers. We are certain it will change often, hence its place on my blog page. And we know it is far from perfect, but we do hope it helps New Yorkers of all backgrounds in some way. Here you go:

EMERGENCY SERVICES: Here’s a website for emergency info about Hurricane Sandy and a special hotline for New York residents: 1-888-769-7243 / 1-518-485-1159. For power outages and gas issues, call 1-800-75-CONED. Here’s the Red Cross website.

LOCAL SERVICES & 311: We have not been able to get through to 311 today due to call volume and busy signals, although we encourage you to try if you need to. As an alternative, you can reach out to your local elected official’s office. Click on these links to find your City Council Member, State Assembly Member or State Senator. Do NOT call 911 unless it is a real emergency!

Still need to find a shelter? Text SHELTER and a Zip code to 4FEMA (43362) Volunteers are needed in various areas; please click here for more opportunities.

New York State law forbids those selling essential consumer goods and services — like food, water, gas, generators, batteries and flashlights, and services such as storm clean-up and disposal — from charging excessive prices during an abnormal disruption of the market. If you believe you are a victim of price gouging, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Helpline
at *800-771-7755* or find a complaint form online at: **.

The District Office at 67 Hanson Place, and has been assisting residents in emergency shelters, and facilitating fallen tree removal and other Hurricane Sandy-related issues. The District Office may be contacted at (718)260-9191 or via email at (while City Council email addresses are unavailable).

A great resource to assist parents, children, teachers and those working with families affected by Hurricane Sandy is the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network. Their website includes very specific suggestions and guidance: click here

President Obama has declared New York City a federal disaster zone.  This means that ALL New Yorkers are eligible for FEMA support.

You can apply to FEMA for disaster assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.govor by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  You may apply for this disaster assistance whether you have insurance or not

Types of FEMA Assistance

The following list shows the types of assistance that are available through IHP and what each provides.

Temporary Housing (a place to live for a limited period of time): Money is available to rent a different place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available.

Repair: Money is available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.

Replacement: Money is available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.

Permanent/Semi Permanent Housing Construction: Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.

Other Needs: Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and storage, and other expenses that are authorized by law.


The Legal Aid Society Is Providing Disaster Relief Legal Assistance For Families and Individuals Affected By The Storm: To help New Yorkers in need at this difficult time, The Legal Aid Society is providing disaster relief assistance to local residents affected
by the storm. Please visit for a list of our services and local offices in your area or call our central telephone number at 212-577-3300.

CON EDISON has IMMEDIATE openings (900) for Safety Site Inspectors stationed in every borough. Duties to include placing yellow safety tape around areas with downed trees ensuring that the public stay away from trees or downed lines. Candidates must have their own vehicle, clean driver’s license and work boots. Shifts from 7AM – 7PM, and 7PM – 7AM paying $25 per hour. (Company will waive background checks).

Also, Bi-Lingual Customer Service Reps (any language plus English) stationed in Brooklyn to answer and field incoming calls. $17 per hour. These positions are open to the public at large. Resume and cover letter required—please carefully proofread your letter and resume before submitting. Email resumes or letter of interest to:

The Queens Chamber of Commerce is committed to the safety and success of its businesses, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us should you need any assistance or have any questions at all. Please visit the following websites to learn more about the assistance available to you and your business: how to find assistance/apply for assistance, interactive map from ConEdison which lists outages and includes projected service times/dates, New York City Business Assistance Programs. Please be careful during this time of recovery. Many dangers may be hidden by water and debris. Do not hesitate to reach out to the Queens Chamber should you have any questions at all. Our phone number is 718-898-8500.

For small to mid-sized businesses that are facing business interruption, NYC Business Emergency Loans will be available, with loans capped at $10,000. For information, click or call 311.

For businesses facing displacement, the City is making short-term “swing” office space available at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, free of charge for 30 days. EDC has about 40,000 square feet of space at the Terminal that is now available for this use. Learn.
For businesses requiring other emergency assistance the SBS Business Outreach Team and Emergency Response Unit is available to help impacted small businesses. Learn.

For mid-to-large-sized businesses that need to undertake rebuilding, an emergency sales tax letter from New York City Industrial Development Authority (IDA) is available to allow businesses to avoid payment of New York City and New York State sales taxes on materials purchased for rebuilding. Please contact Shin Mitsugi for information.

NY Tech Meetup and New Work City are organizing volunteers with technology skills to help with relief efforts and help New York-area businesses and organizations get their technology back up and running after Hurricane Sandy. Fill out the info form here.

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has created a resource guide with vital information and phone numbers businesses need to contact in order to get assistance and emergency loans. The guide can be accessed here Emergency loans will be made available to small-to-midsize businesses through the City, with caps at $10,000. Please see here:, or call 311 for NYC Business Solutions.

Midsize-to-large businesses that need to rebuild should contact the NYC Economic Development Corporation for further information on an emergency sales tax letter from New York City Industrial Development Authority (IDA) that will allow businesses to avoid payment of New York City and New York State sales taxes on materials purchased for rebuilding. IDA will also waive all fees and look to streamline its normal procedure. This program is expected to offer economic benefits to reconstruction projects costing $500,000 or more. Please contact Shin Mitsugi at for further information on this program.


The Department of Sanitation is making scheduled garbage collections as conditions permit. Recycling collections are suspended at this time.


City parks are closed until further notice. Mayor Bloomberg indicated today that they will hopefully be open by the weekend.

The city has not lifted its mandatory evacuation of Zone A and will not until the areas can be completely inspected.


IF YOU LIVE ON UPPER EASTSIDE OF MANHATTAN, my friend Jeff Halevy and is his fitness center, Halevy Life, are making space available to those in need of showers, cellphone recharging, etc. 802 Lexington, at corner of 62nd Street. BUT you must email to let know you are coming:

Here is a list of evacuation shelters where you can go and or volunteer in all 5 boroughs:

NEW YORK SPORTS CLUBS: go to the website to find locations near you.

Cellular service is very limited in certain areas related to the power outages, please locate someone with a traditional “land-line” hard wired home phone in case the need to make emergency phone calls may arise – develop a plan!

As of October 31, 2012, Con Edison was able to return service to many Manhattan and Brooklyn customers who have been without service since Hurricane Sandy touched down. If you are still without service, please report to 1-800-75-CONED. The Con Ed outage map is available here: Please be aware that the NYPD has set-up light towers in areas that continue to be without power.
The Department of Buildings has begun inspecting buildings in Zone A areas to assess their structural integrity. By and large, these inspections are taking place outside of the 35th District.

However, please be aware that buildings will be tagged with one of three
color placards to indicate their safety:
*Green*: the building is safe to enter
*Red*: the building is not safe and may not be entered
*Yellow*: it can be occupied conditionally (i.e. one floor may be safe while another is not.) These conditions would be explained on a placard attached to the building.


Redfern Houses Playground

1462 Beach Channel Drive (Redfern and Beach 12th St)

Rockaway, Queens

Hammel Playground

220 Beach 85th Street (84th and Rockaway Beach Blvd)

Rockaway, Queens

Conch Playground

51st & Rockaway Bch Blvd (near Ocean Bay & Beach 41st)

Rockaway, Queens

Surf Ave Playground

West 25th and Surve Ave

Coney Island, Brooklyn

Chelsea Park

27th between Ninth and 10th Ave

Chelsea, Manhattan

Red Hook East and West

Red Hook Coffey Park, 85 Richards

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Vladic Playground

Tenth Ave between Ave C and Ave D

Lower East Side, Manhattan

Smith Playground

Catherine Street between Cherry and Monroe

Lower East Side, Manhattan

Hamilton Fish

Pitt and East Houston

Lower East Side, Manhattan

Halletts Cove

Veron Blvd and 30th Rd and Astoria Blvd

Astoria, Queens

Parking Lot

Corner of Mill Road and New Dorp Lane

Staten Island

Confucius Plaza/Beekman Gold Pearl

Confucius Plaza on Division Street


Empty Lot

Yetman and Hylon Blvd

Staten Island

Grand Street Settlement Houses

413 Grand Street



The Federal Government has a website that allows people to apply for assistance online: .

This website consolidates the application process across several Federal agencies, including FEMA and the Small Business Administration. The website also reduces the number of forms you will ultimately have to fill out, shortens the time it takes to apply, and allows you to check the progress of your applications online.

If you want to apply by phone rather than the Internet, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362).

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued a guide to New Yorkers recovering and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, including tips on how to avoid scams as they restore and rebuild their homes and businesses. The Attorney General’s guide includes tips to protect consumers from scams related to home repair, clean up services and tree removal and he’s urging individuals who believe they have been scammed to contact his office at *800-771-7755*.

“New Yorkers have already suffered tremendous losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy and I will fight to make sure they are not victimized again by unscrupulous individuals,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “As hurricane and flood victims work to get their lives and property back in order, it’s important to know how to identify, avoid and report scammers.”

*Recovering from the Storm:

*Property Cleanup and Repair* Repairing buildings and driveways, clearing downed* *trees — you may need to hire professionals to complete* *these jobs. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
*Check with your insurance company.

*Before making any decisions, be clear about what will be covered and any steps you will need to take.

*Ask for references, check for licenses.
*Ask about local work contractors have done. Talk to the people who hired them; look at the jobs if you can. Make sure the contractor has any license required by your local government.

*Estimates are important: get it in writing.
*Ask that all estimates for work be in writing and include a description of the material to be used. Be clear that you will not pay for work done that is not agreed upon in writing. Verify that the material used is the same as described in the estimate. Make sure any changes to the estimate are in writing.

*Use a contractor with an address you can verify.
*If your contractor is “here today and gone tomorrow,” you may find it difficult to enforce the guarantee.

*Never pay the full price up front.

*Establish a payment schedule and adhere to it. Withhold final payment until the entire project is completed to your satisfaction and all required inspections and certificates of occupancy are finalized.

*Always be sure the contractor has valid insurance.

*If a worker is injured, or damage is caused on your property, you could be held liable if your contractor does not have the required insurance.

*Check with your town or city for required permits.

*Don’t let a contractor work without the necessary permits. Failing to get approvals can delay your project, or prevent you from occupying a completed building.

Around the district, there are still many downed trees. While it is little consolation if one of those trees is in front of your home, there are many neighborhoods that still have hundreds of downed trees. We have been in touch with many of you who have a downed tree on your block and are working with the Parks Department to ensure that they are dealt with as soon as possible. Parks staffers have been doing amazing work, pulling 16 hour shifts, but there are only three teams in all of Brooklyn, so it will take a while to deal with all of the trees.


GAS BUDDY (application for phones), you have to click on the gas station and scroll down to comments. They inform you of long lines or no gas.


Food Distribution Center opening at 1pm…


Beach 51st Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd
Beach 84th Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd
West 25th Street and Surf Avenue
Mill Road and New Dorp Lane
West 27th Street bet 9th and 10th avenue
East 10th Street bet Ave C and ave D
Pitt Street and East Houston
Stanton and Pitt Street
Also go to for more food distribution centers and info regarding Ready for NY and organization that deals with disasters.


As the MTA and New York City Transit recover, Governor Andrews Cuomo has announced that free transit will be available for Thursday (Nov 1) and Friday (Nov 2), and limited subway service will be available. WNYC has a helpful Transit Tracker available here: Multiple outlets are reporting that the MTA-operated Brooklyn-Manhattan “bus bridge” is slow-moving, as is acquiring gas. Please be aware that cars entering Manhattan must have 3 passengers between the hours of 6:00AM to midnight. Roughly 4,000 taxis and livery cabs are available and allowed to do street hails and pick-up multiple fares. The city suggests an additional $10 charge per fare and notes that drivers must quote prices up front.

At least 4,000 taxis and livery cabs are on the streets and are allowed to pick up multiple fares. The city suggests an additional $10 charge per fare and notes that drivers must quote prices up front.

Staten Island Ferry will be running starting at Noon 11/2
NY water taxi providing free rides from Ikea to lower Manhattan

Useful Links and Resources for public transportation updates:

MTA Updates –
NYC Government Updates-

The Transit Forward Coalition has launched a service to help New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

If you need help or would like to volunteer to help New Yorkers, please visit our Hurricane Sandy Assistance pageat

To view the Hurricane Sandy Modified Subway Map, click here or visit

Special thanks to the incredible hard work of our City’s transit workers to make this happen in less than 72 hours.

Below please find the Transit Foward representatives in your borough.

Manhattan: Yetta Kurland | 917-701-9590

Queens: Jacques Leandre | 347-613-2315

Bronx: Mona Davids | 646-807-4191

Brooklyn: Rodneyse Bichotte | 718-744-8410

Staten Island: Ahmed Tigani | 718-312-9105


Our friends at New York Communities for Change have been working tirelessly to deliver aid to those in need in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island—and they’ve already run out of food and diapers at one of their distribution centers.

The NYCC Downtown Brooklyn office will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day and is in urgent need of donated supplies, which can be dropped off at their conveniently-located office. They’re also accepting volunteers—especially those with vehicles who can help deliver aid. Have questions? Email or call (347) 410-6919 extension 286. Their address is 2-4 Nevins St, 2nd Fl Brooklyn, NY 11217.

Here is a list of supplies needed:

  • Non-perishable food
  • Bottled water
  • Baby food
  • Baby blankets
  • Diapers
  • Batteries of all sizes, but especially D and AA

Make the Road—If you can make it to Staten Island, Make the Road needs supplies to distribute there, especially non-perishable food and warm clothes and blankets. Their Staten Island office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 479 Port Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY, 10302. For more information, email or call (718) 727-1222 extension 3445.

While neighboring communities are on the way to normal following the storm, Red Hook is still in bad shape. The neighborhood, which includes thousands of public housing residents, is without power, meaning that people have been without running water, lights, a refrigerator, or other electronics since Monday.

Red Hook Initiative is coordinating and dispatching volunteers to where they are most needed in the neighborhood. You can contact RHI at 718-858-6782, or show up to volunteer at their office, located at 767 Hicks Street. There is a particular need for volunteers with medical training.

Red Hook Initiative is also in need of donations. To make a financial contribution, visit their website. The following much-needed items can also be donated at their 767 Hicks Street office: non-perishable food, baby formula, diapers, and baby wipes, ice, water, batteries, flashlights, candles, toilet paper and other toiletries, garbage bags, rubber gloves, cleaning supplies.

The Park Slope Armory shelter needs volunteers who can work at least an 8 hour shift, even longer would be great. Shifts start at 8 AM and 8 PM. If they have too many volunteers, you may be asked to try again another time, so be prepared for that.
Also, if you have experience providing physical therapy for seniors and are interested in volunteering, please contact my office.

The John Jay High School shelter (237 7th Avenue, between 4th & 5th Streets) needs overnight volunteers (especially, but not only, people with medical training). You need to be able to dedicate at least 6-8 hours and cannot bring your children.

Staten Island : Visit to see where you can help!

Update on the current state of the Lower East Side Manhattan:

We are still without electricity. Some developments now have water but many are still without. We are especially worried about our seniors – those who are unable to leave their apartments without the elevator as well as those who are out of money, as EBT cards and ATM machines are not working in the neighborhood.
Info for residents:

National Guard will be dropping off food and water today at 3pm at the following locations: -10th St Playground between C & D (Dry Dock) -Hamilton Fish Park at Pitt and Houston -Smith Houses Playground at Catherine and Cherry St. -Confucius Plaza in Chinatown -Vladek, location not confirmed

NYPD will also be going door to door to each home to check on folks and let people know about emergency relief.
If you are in need of an ATM, there are buses running uptown – there are working banks and ATMs above 40th St. as well as 24 hour Duane Reades north of 40th bewteen 2nd ave and Lexington

Info for Allies:
We would love support in the following ways: 1. Donations: we are in need of flashlights, batteries (AA, AAA, D), nonperishable food, candles, first aid kits, vehicles or bikes with trailers (to bring supplies around). We are also accepting donations via our website (top right).

Volunteer: We need help knocking on doors to distribute supplies, calling our members to make sure they’re ok, posting information, coordinating, etc.
If you are able to offer either, our office is located at 169 Ave. B between 10th and 11th and will be open today between 3-6 and tomorrow (Friday) between 12-6.

Social Media: We have very little internet connectivity right now. Can you coordinate volunteers, repost needs, and be in communication online, from the LES, NYC or from afar? Email or .
We only have one phone line working at the moment 212-358-1223 or you can call Maisha @ 646-765-8604

VOLUNTEER: Occupy Wall Street is working with our allies to organize volunteer opportunities in Red Hook, Chinatown and other areas affected by the storm. Check out their Twitter feed. VOCAL can also use volunteers with harm reduction services and supporting HIV/AIDS housing programs affected by the storm. Contact Jaron at (718) 864-3932 or

VOCAL EVENTS: Our events are cancelled for the rest of the week. Get in touch if you need anything or want to volunteer!

If you lost food during the storm, e.g. spoiled food due to an electricity outage, you can apply for emergency food stamps. Go to the nearest HRA or HASA Center and fill out a 2921 Form.

St. Francis de Sales church will be a place to give and get supplies like clothing and toiletries. There are a bunch of bags of clothes nearby and more on the way. Also, wanted to share some bars that are accepting donations and acting as drop-off centers. They are:

Good Co., 10 Hope Street, Williamsburg
Pour House, 7901 3rd Ave, Bay Ridge
Mullanes, S. Elliot & Lafayette, Fort Greene
Park Ave. Tavern, 39th & Park, Manhattan
Sean James Aiken, 118 Freeman St. b/t Manhattan & Franklin, Greenpoint (not a bar, just a house I think.)

Please share this info and encourage people to go to SFDS if they need things. We’ll be sorting through everything tomorrow.

Council Member Letitia James urges Brooklyn residents to consider volunteering or donating toiletry items to Brooklyn Technical High School, which is currently serving as one the New York City’s 65 emergency shelters following the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Currently, towels and other personal supplies are desperately needed by the Brooklyn residents currently displaced and staying at the school. You may deliver items to: Brooklyn Technical HS at 29 Ft. Greene Place, between DeKalb Avenue and Fulton Avenue in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.

Please donate financially to help Masbia provide hot meals at Park Slope Armory: Yesterday, the Park Slope Armory got more than 500 evacuees from Adult Care Homes in flooded parts of the city. Everyone who is staying there needs special attention, including elderly people and many people with physical or mental disabilities. People came in cold, wet, and hungry – and the Armory had only limited cold food for them to eat. For people in wet socks who can’t go home, you can imagine how important that was. They are doing the same thing this evening, but it is a big expenditure for this small non-profit, so help them raise funds to help Masbia cover its costs:

Shane Paul Neil and Valoneecia Tolbert of Rapid Realty will be having clothes; toy and food drive to assist the Brooklyn victims of Hurricane Sandy. Drop offs can be made at the South Park Slope Rapid Realty office located at 681 4th Avenue. Brooklyn NY 11233. Any questions feel free to email Shane at or call 347.850.3278.

There will be various ways to volunteer to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy – Want to Volunteer? Please email with your name, email address and borough. There will be ways to volunteer today and over the next week as opportunities arise

Volunteers still needed at the Park Slope Armory (361 15th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues). Volunteers needed for this evening and overnight (especially at this Armory).

If you live in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill neighborhoods, please know that Brooklyn Tech High School, South Elliott between DeKalb and Lafayette, is now an evacuation shelter and can use volunteers. Just show up and sign up. They are bringing residents from the Coney Island section of Brooklyn there.

If you see any downed trees or other debris from the storm, your first call should be to 311 (If there is an immediate danger to life, call 911 right away). Make sure to write down the tracking number from your 311 call. We should remember that the effects of this storm are being felt across New York City, and agencies will rightly be prioritizing trees on power lines and other especially dangerous situations.

Where to Volunteer & Donate

The Red Hook Initiative is collecting toilet paper, water, candles, food, flashlights, cell phone chargers, batteries, paper towels, and paper for printers for those who have been without power for three days. If you’re in the neighborhood and would like to donate supplies, Freebrook Academy at 375 Stuyvesant Ave. (at Decatur St.) is accepting donations and will drop them off tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

Brooklyn Technical High School at 29 Fort Greene Place is currently being used as a shelter for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Brooklyn Tech is currently serving a large population of evacuees from Rockaway Beach nursing homes and they need your help to serve and prepare meals! Volunteers are most needed after dark, when daytime volunteers go home. All meal times listed below:

Breakfast: 7am-9am
Lunch: 11:30am-1pm
Dinner: 5pm-7pm

If you can’t donate time at Brooklyn Tech, they are also taking donations of money and baggy clothing. Please visit for more information.

Park Slope Armory
361 15th St between (6th & 7th Aves.)
Is an emergency shelter site in need of people & donations

John Jay HS Evacuation Center
7th Ave (between 4th & 5th Streets.)
Is need of volunteers

Before Sandy arrived in the Northeast there were already a record number of homeless families in New York and a total of 46,000 homeless individuals filling NYC shelters. With the central office and email blacked out, HELP Staff across our sites serving this same population pulled together to organize emergency shelter, transportation, and provide calm when it was needed most. Now more than ever, for our permanent housing sites and for our general shelter residents, we need your help going into the Holiday season.

People in the tri-state area are in emergency need of food, water, batteries, clothing and household supplies. Please make a donation to HELP USA so we can provide these essential services
Donations of food, water, and batteries can also be sent directly to the following locations: Newark at our Genesis JBJ Soul Homes 68 Mt. Pleasant Ave. Newark, NJ 07104, Clinton Hill Apartments 640 Clinton Ave. Newark, NJ 07108, Lower Manhattan (Genesis RFK Apartments 113 East 13th Street New York, NY 10003

Now more than ever HELP is seeking to provide more housing and to expand our job training program to continue to provide solutions to homelessness for veterans, families, the elderly and single adults. To support this work you can contribute now at

St. Bernadette’s Church is accepting donations for hurricane relief. Items can be dropped off to the rectory Mon-Fri 9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm and 6pm-8:30pm. 8201 13th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11228 (718) 837-3400

NYPD Community Affairs Bureau Request for Donations:

In order to provide assistance to our fellow New Yorker’s in this time of urgent need we have established a donation point at the following location: Resort World Casino (Former Aqueduct Racetrack) 110-00 Rockaway Blvd ; Jamaica, NY 11420, Next to JFK airport – Enter from 109th Street & Rockaway Blvd. Any questions can be directed to the Community Affairs Bureau at 646-610-5323 or via email at *Store owners, or other large businesses interested in bulk donations should contact the above number to coordinate logistics.

Helping Hands for the Disabled Request for Donations:

Many of our clients lost food due to power outages. We could use some food or gift cards to help them recoup. If you can help call 718-606-9712, Helping Hands for the Disabled of NYC.

Here are the Donation Centers organized by boroughs and state:

Manhattan Bowery Mission
Open 24/7
227 Bowery Street (Between Houston and Christie)

Park Ave. Tavern
39th & Park, Manhattan

The Saloon
83rd and York, Manhattan

46 Hester Street
New York, NY

Salvation Army Thrift Store
208 East 23rd Street
New York, NY
(212) 532-8115

The Salvation Army Greater New York Division
120 W 14th Street, New York, NY 10011

Happy Warrior Playground
Annunciation Park
Carl Schurz Park
Anne Loftus Playground (at Fort Tryon Park)
Randall’s Island (Friday and Saturday only)
Click here to volunteer in Manhattan

Prospect Park
McCarren Park
Click here to volunteer in Brooklyn

Fort Green/Clinton Hill
45 Waverly Avenue
just off of Park Ave in Fort Green/Clinton Hill
(Hours for Nov 1: 10am-6pm)

Park Slope
New Hope Church
120/122 16th St btw 4th and 5th ave
Contact: Pastor Craig: (718) 768-5275

Good Co.,
10 Hope Street, Williamsburg

Pour House,
7901 3rd Ave, Bay Ridge

Mullanes, S. Elliot & Lafayette, Fort Greene

Sean James Aiken (private house),
118 Freeman St. b/t Manhattan & Franklin, Greenpoint

Red Hook
The Red Hook Initiative
767 Hicks Street
Contact: Mariya (347) 770-1528 (but please just show up!)

Specific Requests in Redhook:
(Will be updated at
prepared food (including food for children)
batteries, flashlights, power strips, toiletries (including toilet paper and paper towels), utensils such as spoons and bowls, jugs of water

Bay Ridge
9108 Colonial Rd. Brooklyn 11209 #E9

Sunset Park
St. Jacobi Church
5406 4th Ave
Contact: Ronnie 646-353-5194

Specific Requests in Sunset Park:
steam table foil pans full or half size w lids, blankets, cleaning supplies, tin foil, and saran wrap

Williamsburg (starting Nov 1, 10am)
306 Leonard St, apt J1 (between Conselyea and Metropolitan)
Contact: Jennifer (917) 586-4153

136 Jefferson Ave, apt 2 11216

East Billyburg (Beginning Thursday Nov 1 at 12 noon)
House of Yes
342 Maujer st
Contact: Kae Burke (525)217-7209

Downtown Brooklyn
2-4 Nevins Street, 2nd Floor

collect toiletries and clothes (esp. socks, underwear, sweatshirts) and bring them to any of the locations below:
Park Ave. Tavern, 39th & Park, Manhattan
The Saloon, 83rd and York, Manhattan
Good Co., 10 Hope Street, Williamsburg
Pour House, 7901 3rd Ave, Bay Ridge
Mullanes, S. Elliot & Lafayette, Fort Greene
Sean James Aiken (private house), 118 Freeman St. b/t Manhattan & Franklin, Greenpoint

Staten Island
Rab’s Country Lanes
600 Hylan Blvd. in Dongan Hills
They need clothing, blankets, food, towels, water, pet food and anyone willing to volunteer at the site– report to Rab’s.

Petrides Evacuation Center
715 Ocean Terrace
Staten Island, NY 10301

Wagner HS
1200 Manor Road
Staten Island, NY 10314

Queens (Friday and Saturday only)
Brookville Park
Baisley Pond Park
Click here to volunteer in Queens

Evacuation center at Tottenville High School
100 Luten Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10312
Needs volunteers, soap and other basic supplies.

Van Cortlandt Park
Orchard Beach
Click here to volunteer in the Bronx

Long Island Lindenhurst

Text iCARE to 85944 to donate $10.


Blood Drives in NYS
Kingston Donor Center
51 Albany Ave, Kingston, NY
1:00 pm to 8:00 pm

IBM East Fishkill Donor Center
2070 Rt 52, Bldg. 320, Hopewell Junction, NY
1:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Elmsford Donor Center
525 Executive Blvd., Elmsford, NY

8:00 am to 8:00 pm

Upper East Side Donor Center
310 E. 67th St., NYC

9:00 am to 7:00 pm

New York Blood Center- Westbury
1200 Prospect Ave., Westbury, NY

9:00 am to 9:00 pm

Brooklyn Donor Center
120 Lawrence Street, Brooklyn, NY

8:30 am to 8:00 pm

Staten Island Donor Center
2791 Richmond Ave, Staten Island, NY

12:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Rockville Centre Donor Center
290 Sunrise Highway, Rockville Centre, NY
7:30 am to 7:30 pm

Lake Success Donor Center
2500 Marcus Ave., Lake Success, NY

7:30 am to 7:45 pm

Poughkeepsie Galleria Mal
2001 South Road, Poughkeepsie

10:00 am to 8:00 pm

Grant D. Morse Elementary School
70 Harry Wells Road, Saugerties, NY
3:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Orange County
30 Harriman Drive, Goshen, NY

9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Sugar Loaf Engine Company
1408 Kings Highway, Chester, NY
10:00 am to 8:00 pm

Avon Products Midland & Peck Avenues, Rye, NY
8:00 am to 2:00 pm

SUNY New Paltz- Student Union
75 South Manheim Road, New Paltz, NY
12:00 pm to 6:00 pm


The Department of Education schools are closed Thursday (Nov 1) and Friday
(Nov 2). Teachers and administrators are expected to report to work on
Friday for updates.

CUNY is open on Friday (Nov 2), except: Borough of Manhattan Community College, College of Staten Island, Baruch College and Kingsborough Community College.


NYC Health Department is urging people to exercise caution when using portable generators in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Never use stove burners or ovens for heat. For more information:
2) Tips on food and water safety after a flood.
3) For tips on coping with stress caused by Hurricane Sandy, please see these fact sheets
Protecting Children from Disturbing Media Reports During Traumatic Events
Tips on Coping with Disasters and Other Stressful and Traumatic Events
Tips on Taking Care of Your Family During Stressful and Traumatic Events
4) The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene advises that direct contact with the Hudson River, East River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay and the Kill Van Kull for recreational activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing or any other water activity that would entail possible direct contact with the water should be avoided until further notice

Water Distribution sites:

CONed Dry Ice locations:

HHS information on protecting health immediately after a hurricane or to prepare for disasters is available at In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have health tips available by texting SANDY to 87000. Additional information about the storm and status can be found here.

Food and Water Distribution Stations:

For a list of NYC food and water distribution locations, please visit: Additional sites will be added to the list as information becomes available.

HASA: The 14th Street, Coney Island and Staten Island HASA Centers appear to be closed. Please call to confirm. You can go to the closest HASA Center if yours is currently closed. Please scroll down to the bottom of this email for a list of HASA Centers and phone numbers. The HASA Service Line is 212-971-0626, although no one was answering the phone today.



400 8th AVENUE, 3rd FLOOR
(212) 620‐5128 / (212) 971-2054

530 WEST 135th STREET, 3rd FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10031
(212) 690‐9764 / (212) 690-9239

WAVERLY CENTER [Appears to be CLOSED temporarily - call to confirm]
NEW YORK, NY 10011
(212) 352-0444 / (212) 620-9420


GREENWOOD CENTER (around the corner from the VOCAL office at St. Marks and Fourth Avenue!)
(718) 694-8994 / (718) 694‐8774

(718) 637‐8830 / (718) 637‐8928

CONEY ISLAND CENTER [Appears to be CLOSED temporarily - call to confirm]
(718) 333‐3340/41 / (718) 333‐3343


(718) 716-‐3352 / (718) 716-‐5168

(718) 716-2687/80 / (718)716-3471

BRONX, NY 10452
(718) 590-6553/6554 / (718) 590-7425

260 EAST 161st STREET, 7th FLOOR
BRONX, NY 10451
(718) 664-1040 / (718) 664-2057


(718) 610‐3844 / (718) 610-3888


STATEN ISLAND CENTER [Appears to be CLOSED temporarily - call to confirm]
(718) 390‐8531/ (718) 390‐6757

METHADONE: Methadone maintenance treatment programs appear to be offering guest dosing and multiple days for take-homes. If you cannot get to your regular program, go to the nearest one and ask them to call your counselor to confirm your dose. To find a program near you, visit this OASAS website. We have been unable to reach OASAS staff regarding any troubleshooting, but please let Fred know if you have problems: (646) 321-5282 or

MEDICAID: Fee for service Medicaid is waiving prior authorization requirements for urgent health needs during the state of emergency. Contact the CSC Call Center at 800-343-9000 for more information.

Bronx Emergency Blood Drive This Friday:

The New York Blood Center (NYBC) has lost approximately 4500 units of blood due to cancellations Mon – Wed. They anticipate that they will continue to be forced to cancel blood drives throughout the weekend and perhaps even into next week. In all, NYBC will likely have lost 6000 or more donations, and types O-, B- and platelets are in extremely short supply. The Bronx was hit very hard in the storm but if there is anything you can do to help we would really appreciate it. This Friday from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Bronx County Building.

Bronxworks and Resources for Bronx Residents:

Bronxworks Drop-in Center has remained and will remain open 24 hours a day. They have been transporting individuals to and from hospitals and other evacuation shelters throughout the Borough. Their team is currently canvassing Bronx neighborhoods and checking on fragile individuals. To find out more information go