A few weekends ago I spent a day volunteering in Rockaway with Team Rubicon, doing the not-so-glamorous job of tearing down walls and gutting basements. Basements that were once covered in children’s wallpaper – cozy spaces that held home offices, ping pong tables and art studios – were now relics of a past life, covered in soggy, broken drywall.
Water marks crept up way beyond the basements, six feet off the floor in many kitchens and living rooms. Hurricane Sandy has left the Rockaways in shambles, and although urgency has simmered significantly in the media, things are nowhere near back to normal.
As twelve masked, goggled strangers hauled wheelbarrows and buckets of sheetrock, wood and remnants from their basement to their curb, the families upstairs sat bundled in dark, unheated living rooms, trying to figure out what to do next.
After witnessing the gut-wrenching scenes of post-disaster Rockaway, I knew I needed to do more.
There’s a good reason I’ve been a blogger-slacker lately. I am one of the organizers of ROCKIN’ for ROCKAWAY, a live music benefit for Sandy relief, and it’s happening tomorrow, Tuesday, December 11th! A few weeks ago I partnered up with FriendsOfRockaway.org, a group of Rockaway natives on the pulse of what their hometown needs this minute. For example, “Our problem is we don’t have enough contractors and supplies,” says Michael Sinensky, co-founder of Friends of Rockaway. “We must work together neighbor by neighbor and block by block to rebuild more efficiently.”
Michael and his team have quickly learned to navigate the tricky and demanding territory of community disaster relief. From hiring a door-to-door mold inspector to handling personal requests like, “Please help me rebuild my home!” their grassroots effort is handling it all, case by case, helping more victims recover safely and return to a sense of normalcy.
So, to assist, I’m doing what I do best: bringing in an army of rock and roll, open bar included.
Less than 36 hours to go, wowowowow! Planning an event is always stressful, but in any moment of anxiety I just think to the extreme, even life-threatening sources of stress out in Rockaway in that same moment. Anddddd I’m okay.
We have a LOT of work to do. And you can help by coming to party with me tomorrow night. Get your ticket now!! Starting at $40 in advance or $50 at door. Did I mention 3.5 hour open bar?
Please take a moment to watch this Friends Of Rockaway video to learn a bit more about the real struggles happening in Rockaway right now. Also, I’ve shared a series of photos from my trip out to Rockaway on November 10th, from the car ride out to the dank, depressing basements.
Hope to see you tomorrow!