Portraits of devastation in Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy: Charles le Brigand

Stéphane Missier, aka Charles le Brigand, has been photographing people and scenes in and around New York City in the week following Hurricane Sandy.


  1. I’m not an alarmist, or a conspiracy person, but things here in NYC are much, much worse then what they are reporting in the mainstream news. These photos show how bad it is in Rockaway. Out where I live in South Brooklyn, Coney Island is in a similar state. There is general looting and lawlessness. Robberies, muggings and carjackings have become common in flooded areas. The temp dropped below freezing last night, and there are large numbers of people without electricity and heat.  I’ve lived through 911, and two NYC blackouts and this makes those events look like a dance party.

    If you can lend a hand, we can really use the help. We especially need technical people, like engineers, heavy equipment operators, plumbers and electricians, to get infrastructure up and running fast. We’re expecting another pretty nasty storm on Wed., so I can’t imagine what is going to happen then.

    1. Michael, thanks for sharing that.  Do you know of any information outlets that are available with up to date information on relief efforts, what’s needed, etc.?

      1.  It’s really tough to get current into out of the worst parts of Staten Island, Rockaway, Coney Island and Red Hook because there is zero communication infrastructure at the moment. No lights, web, and limited to know cell phone services because the towers are either gone or without power. The best info I have is either first hand from what I’ve seen, or via Twitter. Not a great answer.

        I’ve been working with some people here to help get a bunch of my friends into some sort of temporary housing: http://rhicenter.org/tag/hurricane-relief/  They seem to be doing some good work despite all the obstacles.

        In Staten Island, they are just asking people to show up in any of the destroyed areas (New Dorp, etc.) and the locals have been organizing volunteers. Seems a bit crazy, but hearing from people there it is working and things are getting done.

    2. I hope that the people who live behind signs like those have the bullets to back them up.  AFIK, NYC is not too open about firearm ownership (back alleys from movie plots like “The Brave One” notwithstanding).
      This could be a problem for law abiding people as soon as word really gets out about how vulnerable they are.  Is that why the news is not reporting how bad the situation is?

      1.  You make a good point. Firearms laws in NYC are the toughest in the US, no question (which I’m all for). As someone who does own firearms here, I can shed some light on this. It’s basically impossible to get a carry permit here. There is around 3,000 carry permits for all 12 million or so NY’ers, and they are only given to security people, celebrities, and people who are under legitimate physical threat. It is expensive, and there is a lot of paper work involved, but getting a range and premises permit to keep a weapon in your home isn’t too difficult. There are a lot of legal weapons in the city. There is an indoor range at the end of my block, and it’s always packed. In addition (sadly) NYC is also filled with illegal weapons. Add the number of NYPD who live in the devastated areas, and I would say yes, there are plenty of firearms here to back up those boasts.

        I only know of two cases so far where firearms have been used to scare off looters, and I’m really hoping things stay that way. The last thing we need is vigilante justice breaking out everywhere right now. I do sympathize though with people protecting their homes and families, and the threat is real. I had a friend who was carjacked Saturday afternoon, at gunpoint, on the border of Coney Island/Bensonhurst, so safety is a real issue.

  2. The photo of the cop-looking car with the word “SANITATION” printed across it creeps me out a little.

    I realize that’s out-of-context, or whatever, but, y’know.

    1. Why? In a large city there are plenty of reasons to have cars for management-level sanitation personnel.  They’re orange lights, so it’s not like they’re going to go screaming down the road in a high-speed garbage chase.

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