We have all had that moment, post-Sandy, where the breadth of the storm’s damage has finally sunk in. For New Yorkers for Parks, that moment came on Nov. 9, when the group was asked by the Coney Island Development Corporation to do a survey of the neighborhood’s public spaces. What its staff found shocked them.
“The open spaces of Coney Island felt forlorn and forgotten when the staff of New Yorkers for Parks arrived,” wrote the group in an account on its site. “Scenes were eerie as we began our assessment. The neighborhood seemed frozen in a moment of shock. Formerly flooded cars were parked hopelessly with open hoods. Residents waited on corners below broken traffic lights, asking when food would arrive. Some lingered by waterlogged couches, chairs and dining room sets waiting for garbage pickup. Boxes of rotted bananas, once slated for delivery, stretched half a block near the Haber Houses. There was little moving, other than the occasional utility truck or emergency vehicle. The next day, several hundred volunteers would arrive, eager to help. But that Friday provided a tragic post-Sandy snapshot.”
It’s another reminder that much of the city still needs help as it recovers from the storm. Help that is, in large part, being provided by New York volunteers like Michael Samuelian, a New Yorkers for Parks group leader, who was supporting the survey.
“It was daunting at first,” Mr. Samuelian explained to the group, “and when you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to get a sense of what you’re accomplishing. But then when I stepped back, there was a real feeling of pride; we had a sense of the difference we had made. It was especially meaningful because we were working so far from the areas most people visit near the boardwalk.”
The city is recovering, but if you were in any doubt if there was still work to be done, New Yorkers for Parks has your answer: Yes.