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Sandy's Cultural Impact


For the next several months, in lieu of a single "Your Place Moments," we will be building a list of local businesses and cultural organizations that could use your help. We are getting this list started, and hope that you will both contribute to these worthy places and to expanding our list, as we have surely missed many in need. Please send suggestions to molly@citylore.org.

Added Value Farm, Red Hook, Brooklyn 
Located in Red Hook since 2003, Added Value farm has provided on-going, standards-based educational programming, service-learning and informational sessions for youth and adults, a farmer’s market, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, a community composting initiative, and participates in responsible restaurant partnerships. Hurricane Sandy submerged their farm in several feet of sea water and ruined plantings, seeds and infrastructure.
Bay Improvement Group (BIG), Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
The BIG storage site was flooded, and the organization's supplies, including over 30 years' worth of historic archives that included objects dating to the mid-1800s, were damaged or destroyed. The BayFest supplies including almost 50 American flags, a few dozen banners, BIG t-shirts and supplies from the event were all destroyed by sewage/diesel salt water. They also now have no safe clean storage that they can access on weekends and evenings for their activities. 
Bruckner Bar, Grill and Art Gallery, Mott Haven, Bronx
The Bruckner is a South Bronx favorite. For the past 5 years, The Bruckner Bar, Grill and Art gallery has provided much needed free space and electronic equipment to a variety of community based cultural, arts, and education organizations. Unfortunately, the Bruckner was completely submerged under water by Hurricane Sandy. The manager of the establishment, Joseph Diaz, is urging the public to donate to ensure that his 22 staff members can have some money to tide them over until the Bruckner can be reopened. They have had to dispose of all of their food and liquor, electronic equipment such as microphones, computers, soundboards, and projectors, and even some of their art. Help the 12 kitchen staff and 10 servers see it through this tough time while the Bruckner cleans up, rebuilds, and reopens to serve the community.
Bungalows, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens
On Sunday, November 18, the New York Times reported that the city plans to demolish hundreds of one- and two-story homes in waterfront communities including Rockaway Beach, Belle Harbor and Breezy Point in Queens, Fox Beach, South Beach, Midland Beach on Staten Island, and Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn. As the Times grimly noted, “some of the houses that are being torn down were built more than a half-century ago as summer bungalows, then winterized and expanded. Current building codes would likely prohibit reconstruction of similar homes.”
Trailer for The Bungalows of Rockaway (2010) documentary film: http://www.thebungalowsofrockaway.com/index.php?/project/images--trailer/

Website for the film, where you can leave comments and memories: http://www.thebungalowsofrockaway.com/index.php?/project/memories/ 

Sheepshead Bay’s bungalow colonies were also devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Chelsea Galleries, Chelsea, Manhattan
Hurricane Sandy had a devastating impact on Chelsea’s famed art market. Galleries and basements were flooded, the art they both displayed and stored was destroyed. Art dealers will have to renovate and artists will have to recreate their lost bodies of work, or accept their inestimable losses. The Warhol, Rauschenberg and Lambent Foundations are providing support for artists affected by Hurricane Sandy. Emergency relief funding is being administered by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Coney Island History Project, Coney Island, Brooklyn
Founded in 2004, the History Project has been collecting, preserving and sharing stories from people who have lived, worked, laughed and cried at Coney Island. Last year they moved to a commercial space under the entrance to Deno’s Wonder Wheel, where they inaugurated a permanent museum featuring exhibits, artifacts, ephemera and films. Over the winter they expanded the space and built a custom recording booth for oral history interviews. Unfortunately, artifacts and ephemera that were on display were lost or severely damaged, and the center itself is in bad shape. Newly-purchased equipment like display screens and digital picture frames will have to be replaced. The insulation lining the new recording booth was saturated and had to be thrown out, along with the bottom third of the walls.
Coney Island USA, Coney Island, Brooklyn
Founded in 1980, 1980, Coney Island USA has developed and produces a number of different programs including some of New York City’s best loved summer programming, such as the Mermaid Parade and the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. Coney Island USA also operates the Coney Island Museum and produces Ask the Experts, Burlesque at the Beach, the Coney Island Tattoo and Motorcycle Festival, Creepshow at the Freakshow, and the Coney Island Sideshow School. Coney Island USA also produces the Coney Island Film Society and the Coney Island Film Festival in association with indiefilmpage.com. They saved their snakes, but their historic building took a terrible hit during Hurricane Sandy. They have had to gut the first floor and throw away antiques and the compromised Freak Bar furniture. Iconic Denny’s Ice Cream Shop, which Coney Island USA purchased last year, will not reopen.
Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn
Deno’s Wonder Wheel was constructed in 1920, and it was designated a New York City landmark in 1989. Every year it is overhauled and painted to protect it from wear and tear, and from the weather. The Park, which includes numerous rides and attractions, was covered with sand blown from the beach. The antique Grandma Predicts fortune teller has been sent away for restoration, but the Zoltar Speaks fortune telling machine was destroyed. The Wonder Wheel side of the park, including their workshop under the kiddie park, was flooded and had to be pumped out, and everything from ride cars to tools to photos has to be cleaned and washed. Salt Water caused electro-mechanical damage to the Wheel’s new frequency drive, and new solar lighting on the cars was wiped out and will be rebuilt. The Vourderis family, owners of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, have every intention of being up and running in time for next season, but they have a lot of work ahead of them.
Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Chelsea, Manhattan
Eyebeam provides residencies and fellowships for artists and technologists working in a wide range of media. At any given time, there are up to 20 resident artists and fellows onsite at Eyebeam's 15,000-square foot Chelsea offices and Labs, developing new projects and creating work for open dissemination through online, primarily open-source, publication as well as a calendar of public programming that includes free exhibitions, lectures and panels, participatory workshops, live performances and educational series. Their space was damaged and they lost much of their archives, computers and other electronic equipment, and all of their ground floor furniture. They are estimating that the damage will cost us between $200,000 and $250,000, depending on how much they can salvage. They will remain closed through November, but their Residency and Fellowship application process is open.
The Harbor Lights Theater Company, Snug Harbor, Staten Island
The theatre company had already sold 600 tickets for the upcoming weekend’s production of The King and I, and they had to cancel all shows as a result of the storm. They had expected 1,000 attendees, which would have been between $25,000 and $30,000 of revenue in a production that cost the company $85,000 dollars. Four shows with a capacity of 340 tickets sold each had to be cancelled. In addition, because Snug Harbor closed its doors, they lost precious build time and had to hire additional paid crew. As they are under union contract they were also required to pay the full week of work even though no one was able to work. Furthermore, they have no idea how many additional tickets would have been sold that will now be lost due to stresses and expense of storm. For the company, the storm has caused unthinkable loss.
Mark Spencer’s Tape Kitchen, Gowanus, Brooklyn
The Tape Kitchen music studio, located a few yards from the Gowanus, was also destroyed by the hurricane.
Nathan’s and Gargiulo’s Restaurants, Coney Island, Brooklyn
Long-standing, off-Boardwalk neighborhood restaurants, including Nathan’s Famous and Gargiulo’s were among the area businesses hardest hit. Nino Russo, an Alliance board member and Gargiulo’s owner, said his business suffered more than $1 million damages and is “working hard to re-open” by Christmas.
Nathan’s Famous website: http://nathansfamous.com/PageFetch/
Gargiulo’s website: http://www.gargiulos.com/
New York Aquarium, Coney Island, Brooklyn
The 14-acre New York Aquarium complex was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Power and life support systems have been restored, but there was significant and long-lasting damage throughout the park.
Donate: http://bit.ly/URPdC8
Norton Records, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Norton’s has been collecting and reissuing rare records for over 25 years. Their Red Hook warehouse facility was flooded, and most of their catalog stock was destroyed.
PowerHouse Arena Book Store, Dumbo, Brooklyn
The PowerHouse Arena sits several blocks from the beautiful Brooklyn waterfront, and while they moved everything off their floor in preparation for the hurricane’s 3-11 surges, they were not prepared for a 14 rise in water level, which resulted in an inundation of 28 throughout our 5000 sf main floor. Tubs of kids books, event copies, and stationery and totes were lifted off the Arena steps and sunk; cabinets bobbed in the rushing onslaught; in 20 short minutes the Arena was flooded and then emptied, breaking out the front door glass window and taking more than a few items with it. They have reopened, but estimate several tens of thousands of dollars worth of losses.
Rockaway Boardwalk, Rockaway, Queens
The iconic, historic boardwalk was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The worst damage is from Beach 80th to 106th Street, where, according to the New York Times, “entire sections ripped off their concrete moorings in the storm surge and washed into the road and up against homes.”
Sheepshead Bay’s Boating Clubs, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
Both the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club and the Miramar Yacht Club were devastated. Properties were submerged under water and debris, and vessels were destroyed. At the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club boats, moorings, and marinas were deposited on the club’s back porch.
Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club website: http://sheepsheadbayyc.com/
Miramar Yacht Club website:http://www.miramaryc.com/
Smack Mellon, Dumbo, Brooklyn
Founded in 1996, Smack Mellon is a gallery space and artist studio program. The upstairs gallery faired well, the seven first floor artists’ studios were flooded with six feet of water, destroying all contents including their artwork. The studio program's media lab, kitchen, and wood shop also sustained severe damage. Smack Mellon will need support to rebuild, and to help the artists to relocate and acquire new materials to begin to recreate the body of work they had developed while in residence this year.
The South Sound music and art space, Gowanus, Brooklyn
The South Sound is a music and arts building constructed by professional contractors who have been building sound studios for over a decade. The owners are musicians and had the facility constructed with the goal in mind to be more than just practice spaces, but a music and arts community.  With two well-known recording studios on the premises, Translator Audio and The Civil Defense, and rooms designed for far above average sound separation, they are a boutique facility that offers rooms below market value. However, they were inundated with 5 to 6 feet of storm water. The building’s structure was damaged, and the equipment inside was completely destroyed.
South Street Seaport Museum, Seaport Historic District, Manhattan
Three floors of galleries in Schermerhorn Row opened on January 25, 2012, with 16 historic and contemporary installations interweaving the city, the sea, and the Seaport neighborhood. Also welcoming the public once again are the lightship Ambrose, with a brand-new hull, and schooner Pioneer, with new sails and a new transmission—as well as the 19th-century letterpress print shop Bowne & Co., Stationers. The museum is currently closed due to ongoing power shortages caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Sunny’s Bar, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Sunny’s is Red Hook’s legendary watering hole and music venue. The bar was flooded and damaged, and they are closed until further notice. A message on their website reads, “we are hurt but OK in the grand scheme of things, so please try to devote your attention to those who need it most.” We’re sorry to share the news about Sunny’s hopefully temporary closure, but we’re happy to share their good will and positive outlook.
WBAI, Financial District, Manhattan
WBAI Free Speech Radio 99.5fm was evacuated from their 120 Wall Street studios. Hurricane Sandy hit at the height of their fall fund drive and right before their major fund raising event, the 1st Annual WBAI Art Auction. They were forced to cancel the auction, which has happily been rescheduled for December 5, 2012.