New Dorp, Staten Island, New York, USA

From All Souls in New Dorp

Adrianna’s Catering Hall in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island was flooded along with the rest of the neighborhood, and with enough force to deposit this boat on a car out front. The neighborhood is still, three weeks later, without electricity, heat or hot water. But Adrianna’s didn’t shut down. All around the community, people are living on the upper floors of their homes, with extra comforters on their beds and cold showers in the morning.  Then they come here for hot food and the invaluable company of their friends and neighbors.

In front of Adrianna’s is this tent, where rows of tables are piled high with donations from across New York City and around the country. There are canned goods, shoes, toilet paper, bleach, pick-axes and workgloves, and lots and lots of bottled water.

They dispatch teams around the neighborhood to do a variety of things, primarily demolition work like “mucking and gutting,” as they called it in New Orleans. Mucking means dragging all the waterlogged and destroyed belongings out of a house. Gutting is stripping the floors, walls and often the ceilings of those houses down to their studs so that the interior can be rebuilt.

While families are still filling out paperwork, getting inspections and wading through the inevitable bureaucracy of a huge cleanup project like this, teams of volunteers can do in a few hours the hard physical labor that would take days or weeks to do oneself. And with payouts rumored to be as little as $3000 per home, volunteers may be the only way many of these families can afford to rebuild.

From All Souls in New Dorp

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