The New Normal

January 11, 2013

Seventy days after the storm, for most Brooklynites, life is getting back to normal.

We’re thrilled to see “Open for Business” signs in storefronts from Van Brunt Street in Red Hook to Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, with more appearing each day. And in Coney Island, PS 288 welcomed students back on Monday and the #ConeyRecovers coalition began community planning discussions to build local resiliency for the future (pictured below).


But for many others, the struggles of living in post-Sandy Brooklyn remain, and intensify.

Relief centers are reporting fewer visits, but it appears that for residents still in need, the challenges now are much more complex than before.

Homeowners are fighting for resources to repair and rebuild. Many are waiting on flood insurance claims and FEMA applications to reveal their fates. For those who have been denied and cannot afford loans, the outlook is plainly grim. Still others, primarily new immigrants, have not sought out help at all.

Frustrations are surging. And the one word on everyone’s mind? Mold.   

In Gerritsen Beach, most residents are back at work and school during the day, but at night they still populate the local recovery center since so many homes have no heat and hot water. In fact, they’ve started to call these conditions the “new normal.”

In Canarsie, a neighborhood dominated by single family homes, preexisting economic pressures are being met with daunting repair estimates. In an area plagued by foreclosures over the past few years, it’s likely to get much worse.

Canarsie Households Late on Mortgage Payments and Affected by Sandy Flooding

Map Courtesy of the Center for New York City Neighborhoods

Across our region, more than $400 million has been raised by large nonprofits and foundations, which pales in comparison to the billions the federal government is likely to commit.

Here in Brooklyn, thanks to the amazing generosity of donors like you, the Brooklyn Recovery Fund has awarded $643,650 in grants to nonprofits aiding victims of Sandy in our borough.

The next round of funding will take on these urgent needs, while investing in community-wide coordination and infrastructure. We are focused on making the most of our private resources while working hand-in-hand with government support.

We assure you that the efforts of the Brooklyn Recovery Fund will not cease until Brooklyn is truly back on its feet.

Please continue to give. Make your donation today at

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Road to Resilience

Join us this Saturday, January 12th at The New School for The Municipal Art Society of New York's Post-Sandy "Charting the Road to Resilience" day-long program. Brooklyn Community Foundation President Marilyn Gelber will discuss "Community Responses & Ongoing Challenges" with Occupy Sandy Relief NYC and the NYC Dept of Environmental Protection.

Vaudeville in DUMBO for Sandy Relief

Think Conservatory & House of Genius invites you to a Vaudeville themed fundraiser for the Brooklyn Recovery Fund on Thursday, January 17th at 65 Jay Street in DUMBO. Enjoy libations, hors d'oeuvres, and entertainment by Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra. Tickets and event details at

WNYC's Annual MLK Celebration

We are proud to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Brooklyn with WNYC's Brian Lehrer and journalist Farai Chidaya on Sunday, January 20th at the Brooklyn Museum. Please join us for an afternoon of discussion and staged readings inspired by A. Peter Bailey’s play, “Malcolm, Martin and Medgar,” an imagined reunion of the slain civil rights icons. 3PM - 5PM. Details and Registration (required).