Steve Tarpin, 56, owner of Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie in Red Hook, Brooklyn, baked and delivered his first pies after Hurricane Sandy just a month after the storm — one dozen pies for friends on Thanksgiving. Four months ago, they moved to a new, bigger location a block down Van Brunt Street on the waterfront. “Red Hook invited us here,” Tarpin said. “We belong here.”
Mike Dresser, 31, moved to the Red Hook section of Brooklyn three weeks before the storm, and three weeks after, he and his girlfriend still didn’t have heat and hot water in their apartment. Dresser works as a bartender at Fort Defiance on Van Brunt Street on the Red Hook waterfront and said that the day after the storm the whole bar staff was out helping clean up. “Still a neighborhood of pirates and rednecks.”
Christine and Mike’s apartment in Jersey City was flooded, and they were without power for 10 days. “I love the view in our apartment, and I love New Jersey,” she said.
“I’m a New Yorker, born and raised, and I’m embarrassed,” said Carlos Santos, 36, owner of Brooklyn Motorworks. Santos was forced to move his business after Sandy did irreparable damage to his motorcycle repair shop, which was flooded with four feet of water during the storm. He set up on the Red Hook waterfront, 10 blocks from his old location, in the only place that would make space for him he said. Santos says he was “sold a line of bullshit” by the recovery groups promising short term loans and financial aid, and has a 390-page S.B.A. loan application he’s still waiting to get reviewed.
Raoul has spent his whole life in Hoboken, NJ. Even though his house was flooded during Hurricane Sandy, he chose to stay in his neighborhood. Moving was never an option. “This is my home,” he said. “Even if I wanted to move, I couldn’t afford it. My money went to fixing my house after the storm.” #WhyIStayed
“I stayed to be a part of the waterfront going forward,” said David Sharps, 57, owner and operator of the Waterfront Museum, housed on the Lehigh Valley Barge #79 in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Sharps lives on the barge, which he bought for $1 in 1985. During Hurricane Sandy, he stayed aboard and kept the barge afloat as it was raised by the rising waters above his dock, a point he marks with an orange band across a steel pillar. Sharps is still rebuilding from the storm and waiting to hear about several grants to help keep the museum, which turns 100 next year, alive and running.
Natalie, who lives and works in Hoboken, never even thought about leaving after her house was partially flooded in the storm. “When you grow up somewhere, it’s hard to leave,” she said, taking a break from her job at Hoboken’s The Taco Truck. “This is my home. I didn’t have anywhere else to go.”
Mother of six, Terry Boyle, and her oldest daughter Megan, live on Beach 119th in the Rockaways, in a house that belongs to Terry’s great grandparents. During Sandy, the house was flooded up the first floor, their car was destroyed, and they lost electricity and heat, which still had not returned by Thanksgiving. “It really makes you appreciate everything. Last Christmas with our family was the best one we ever had,” said Terry. They received $3,000 from FEMA to rebuild, which made a full recovery difficult. “It’s been a really long haul. Especially for anybody who didn’t have money.” However, compared to the damage their neighbors saw- including houses that burned down and family members who died- the Boyles agree that they were very lucky. “The generosity of people really struck me,” said Megan. “The whole community was looking out for each other.”
Even though Nick Muller, from Manalapan, NJ, lives about a mile north, he drove down to Belmar today to walk the boardwalk and reminisce about the storm a year ago. When Sandy hit, Nick lost power for a week, but experienced nothing nearly as bad as what happened on the shore. “Jersey is home,” he said.
Jessie Tufts (left) and Taylor Deehan (right), from Point Pleasant, NJ, are spending their day out walking along the Belmar, NJ boardwalk, because they can, now that it has been rebuilt after the storm. Why they stayed in Jersey? “Everything you see behind you,” said Jessie. “There’s nothing like a Jersey Shore summer,” said Taylor.
Keyanna Silverman from Red Hook. Stayed to help people in her community that where stuck in buildings with no power and unable to leave. Delivered food, water, and supplies daily.
Sheryl Nash-Chisholm from Red Hook said she stayed because she had “faith” in her community after Sandy.
Cheryl stayed after Hurricane Sandy because Red Hook is her home and “it is still a beautiful place.”
Whitney Lukens and her family stayed after Hurricane Sandy because she loves Red Hook, Brooklyn.