Right after the hurricane Sandy cut hundreds of thousand New Yorkers out of power, I wrote an article that insisted on the symbolical aspect of Manhattan cut in half between the non affected city and the ‘dark zone’. The ability for us to visualize two worlds separated by one line, was an easy metaphor of the world we live in. However, the efforts to bring back the power in the South of Manhattan were considerable and it took four days to go back a certain form of normality. The urgency that constituted the Manhattan situation does not seem to be applied with the same intensity when it comes to poorer neighborhoods like the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Coney Island or Red Hook. Many of those places still do not have power (nor subway system) and spent the last three weeks trying to survive while adjusting to the recovered New York’s rhythm of life’s frenzy in order not to fall into processes of pauperization.
To be fair, things are getting better little by little and the Rockaways and Coney Island, by their geographical situation (see the flood survey map on the NY Times’ site), were more likely to be severely hit than Manhattan. The relief adaptation of Occupy Wall Street into Occupy Sandy and its unanimously recognized organization was also very helpful to bring immediate help to people, who sometimes live in the 12th floor of project building without power nor running water.
Nevertheless, one cannot help to coincide a certain map of poverty with one of powerless (one might want to insist on the double meaning of that word) neighborhoods in New York City. In Red Hook for example, Ikea is fully operative but the public housing buildings still live with few generators linked to light spots that provide punctual light zones in the ambient darkness (see the photos below).
All following photographs are ones I took myself. One may found much more expressive ones through the internet, but for this kind or argument it seems important to reduce the amount of degrees that separates the photograph and the viewer in order to avoid the usual dramatization or instrumentalization. Please note that most of the pictures in the Rockaways have not been taken in the poorest neighborhoods.