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.

Energy emergency: Sandy profiteers sell gas, generators at predatory prices on post-apocalypse Craigslist

Gas supplies remain extremely limited in New York and New Jersey, nearly a week after hurricane Sandy, and the power's still out for many in those states and others, such as nearby Connecticut.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed an executive order announcing a state of energy emergency and instituting gas rationing for the purchase of fuel by motorists in 12 counties, starting today at noon.

Make way for price-gouging entrepreneurs!

Try this, to get a taste of how bad it is: search for "gasoline," "gas," or "generator" on NY Craigslist right now. Gas sales I've found on Craigslist range from $5 to $20 a gallon, but there are probably ads at higher prices. My favorite was the 55-gallon drum of gas for a thousand bucks. Unleaded! Cash only, folks.

Not only is this exploitative, it's explosive. A black market of gasoline reselling, without appropriate safety measures, seems to me like a recipe for tragedy.

Read the rest

How Victoria's Secret saved the National Guard from Hurricane Sandy

Why do we love Noah Shachtman and Wired's Danger Room blog? Because they break very important stories like this:

On Monday night, Hurricane Sandy hit the armory of the New York Army National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment, leaving the soldiers without power, hot water, or anything but the most rudimentary means of communicating with the outside world. So the next morning, the Regiment’s officers made an emergency plea — to the producers of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

As they had done for the last three years running, the lingerie company was holding its annual television event at the Regiment’s historic armory, located at 25th street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. For the show, the producers had hauled in eight massive 500 kilowatt generators. Of course, the producers said, we’d be happy to help. Hours later, the lights flashed back on.

“We were dead in the water until Victoria’s Secret showed up,” says Capt. Brendan Gendron, the Regiment’s operations officer.

You'll want to read the rest at Wired.com.

Sandy hits vulnerable populations hard; disabled and elderly at risk, post-storm

On NPR's Talk of the Nation today, a segment about the particularly damaging impact Sandy has had this week on elderly and disabled populations in the storm's path. Many remain isolated "in cold, dark homes without assistance, food and running water." Related: News today that a 93-year-old man whose electricity was knocked out has died from hypothermia from prolonged exposure to the cold.

Gasoline shortage makes Sandy recovery harder for NYC

Snip from a New York Times update on the Sandy recovery in New York and New Jersey, and the impact of limited gas supplies on rescue and emergency services:

Read the rest

TWC setting up mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and recharging stations in lower Manhattan

Jeff Simmermon at Time Warner Cable's HQ in NYC writes: "To help New Yorkers in hard-hit areas like Lower Manhattan and Staten Island who are without power, we are deploying multiple vehicles with mobile charging stations and free WiFi access points. Local residents are welcome to charge their consumer devices such as smartphones and laptops and access a 4G WiFi connection. New Yorkers can follow @TWCable_NYC on Twitter to learn the location of the vehicles, which will make extended stops initially this afternoon in the residential areas of the Chinatown, Flatiron district and West Village."

New York City in post-storm darkness: photos by Randy Scott Slavin

NYC UNPLUGGED, a series by photographer Randy Scott Slavin documenting the darkness in New York City after Hurricane Sandy caused widespread power outages:

New York City is always bright. Street lights, business marquees, light from apartments and car headlights merge to light every corner of the city streets, even on the darkest nights. It is the night after NYC was decimated by Hurricane Sandy, downtown NYC is in the midst of a power outage that has plunged it into complete darkness. I felt the call to hit the eerily dark streets and show New York as it is rarely seen. Trekking around with my tripod I was able to get the long exposures necessary to see in the dark.

Read the rest

NYC's 911 system overloaded during Hurricane Sandy

The "Superstorm" that wallopped the Northeast US this week serves as another reminder of how easily overwhelmed New York City’s 911 phone system is. So much so that Mayor Mike Bloomberg again and again urged citizens not to use it to report anything but the most immediate life-threatening emergencies. "The city said it was receiving 10,000 calls per half hour—10 times the normal level—as the storm pounded the city late Monday," reports The Wall Street Journal.

Fake Hurricane Sandy shark photo migrates to Chinese web

A Weibo user identified “the U.S. hurricane” as the source of the "shark swimming in New Jersey streets" photo, which has been proven to be fake (we could totally tell by the pixels). He added of the shark, “In China, it would’ve been cooked already.” More at WaPo.

First-person account of Sandy hospital evacuation for cancer patient with recent liver transplant

In the NYT's live-blog of Hurricane Sandy's impact on NYC today, a riveting account of the NYU hospital evacuation as told through the case of Christine Chin, who has had a series of operations after part of her husband's liver was used to replace her cancerous one. The hospital lost power during the storm surge Monday night, and its backup generators also proved vulnerable.

Google's Superstorm Sandy crisis map includes eyewitness video

That Superstorm Sandy Google crisis map we blogged about earlier this week has been updated with tons of videos and webcam spots. Fascinating way to get a sense of which areas and populations are impacted, and how.

"After Sandy," Rob Delaney

ABC News coverage of the NYU hospital evacuation, via Gothamist

Rob Delaney, writing about those babies rescued by first responders from a hospital in New York City that lost power during Superstorm Sandy:

As I looked at these pictures of the babies being evacuated, I had a depressing thought. What are the financial situations of these babies’ parents? Are they poor? Do they have insurance? Are they on Medicaid? Medicaid is a health program that pays for medical services for those who cannot afford them. It is jointly funded by the federal and state governments. In some ways, I’d be happy if you were learning this information for the first time right now; the reason being that you don’t have to rely on Medicaid. Regardless, I suspect that if you had some “Medicaid” in your pocket last night, you’d have gladly given it to these precious babies to ensure their health and safety. It’s a good thing. If one of those babies were poor, I don’t suspect you’d want to punish her because her dad got laid off from his manufacturing job or because leukemia killed her older brother and bankrupted her parents just in time for her birth. If you don’t like these examples, tough shit; they’re how people get poor in the United States of America in 2012. I don’t want you to like them. 

Read the rest: "After Sandy" (robdelaney.tumblr.com)

Non-bummer Hurricane Sandy instagram of the day: Guy sharing power strip with strangers

Jen van der Meer snapped this wonderful photo of a nice man sharing power with strangers in NYC, after massive outages from Hurricane Sandy. Click for large. (thanks, @aileengraef!)

TV news reporter strong Darwin Award contender for live Hurricane Sandy coverage

Ted Scouten is a reporter for the Miami CBS station WFOR, and was in New York City this week assisting in hurricane Sandy coverage for network "sister station" WCBS-NY.

From TV Newser: "Scouten, stationed in the Rockaways section of Queens, got a real New York welcome Monday as Sandy’s surge sent waves into the street and took him down, as shown on CBS This Morning." (thanks, @milesobrien)

HOWTO follow FDNY radio scanners in an emergency

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During last night's storm emergency, I monitored the FDNY scanners to try and follow fast-moving and difficult-to-obtain details about what was happening where in NYC. For future reference, radioreference.com is an excellent way to do that (provided you have power and internet access). Along with that, you'll want to have two browser tabs open, for a cheat sheet on the codes the first responders use: Box Codes (find the location of the fire alarm boxes people use to get an FDNY response in an emergency), and FDNY 10 codes (shorthand developed in 1937 for common communication among first responders).

One good thing to keep in mind: not everything you hear on the scanner is confirmed fact. By definition, the first responders are often working with incomplete and unconfirmed calls for help, and chaotic situations. That, combined with the fact that it can be hard to understand what they're saying, make careful listening and sharing essential.