Sandy Aftermath: Unsung Heroes of the Cleanup Effort
A seven-foot long burgundy sofa destroyed in the storm, now water logged and weighing twice as much, is hoisted into the jaws of the truck by these two men. A massive wood dresser is crushed in seconds as the men try to catch a few breaths before attacking the next piece.
But these men, and the dozens of other hard working crews dotting these Staten Island blocks, don’t seem to complain. They have been at it since 6am this morning and will continue with the back-breaking work with no days off in sight. They have their own family and friends, and even flooded homes to worry about, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from helping out this wounded community and others like it around our city.
Families whose own homes were destroyed in the storm put on gloves and join John and Anthony as they approach a monstrous pile of twisted metal and large furniture pieces. After a half hour the pile is gone. Then it’s on to the next mound only a few yards away. House after house John and Anthony continue to lift, toss and shove pieces of discarded objects into their truck that only a week ago were apart of these families homes.
As the end of the day approaches and the temperatures drop into freezing conditions, the piles of wreckage seem to slowly disappear and the block begins to open up. Perhaps allowing this Staten Island community a small sense of normalcy and a visual sign that some of the recovery and healing has begun. But there’s still a very long way to go and a lot more people to help in this neighborhood. So it’s on to the next home, John and Anthony silently do their part in this slow, painful recovery along with the townspeople by their side.
-Written by Evan Silver