Some In Outer Boroughs Feel Ignored After Sandy

Four days after Sandy hit New York, the voices of complaint are growing louder. Residents of the outer boroughs say Manhattan is getting all the attention. People in Manhattan say without power and water, they're suffering too.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: I'm Robert Smith in Red Hook, Brooklyn, which I guess we describe as what?

LAURIE BEYER: I don't know, it's kind of like the very end of Brooklyn.

SMITH: At least that's the way it feels after a disaster. The neighborhood is still waterlogged, still without power. Laurie Beyer has been waiting for FEMA all day.

BEYER: People were very plucky in the beginning. They're like, OK, we got this, we got this. And I think it kind of sank in, like, uh-oh, we're starting to get really depressed now. Now the crying sets in.

SMITH: And this being New York, the crying contains a healthy dose of kvetching and impatience. After a very long, wet, dark week, New Yorkers are getting cranky. Deanna Cherry and Rebecca Fishburn just picked up gallons of water from a local charity. So don't get them started.

DEANNA CHERRY: It's been almost five days now.

REBECCA FISHBURN: It's been five days. I haven't had water since Monday.

CHERRY: Yeah, since Monday.

SMITH: They live in public housing, so that makes Mayor Michael Bloomberg their landlord. They're not happy that His Honor has insisted that the New York Marathon go on this Sunday. They picture all those free bottles of water just handed to the runners.

CHERRY: And I think that is very disrespectful to everybody. I'm walking up eight flights with water two and three times a day in the dark because our staircase don't have no windows, so it's dark in the hallway.

SMITH: How's that for a marathon? Everyone has a suspicion that other neighborhoods are getting better relief. They hear about the mayor and the governor going to this destroyed beach or that burned building, and they ask why not here. The funny thing is, I've heard that same complaint from every part of New York. Everyone feels forgotten.

Russel Barbara says that's because New Yorkers are used to things getting better much more quickly.

RUSSEL BARBARA: I think in this situation, things are sort of deteriorating. The prognosis looks more negative than it did initially, I guess.

SMITH: Just in time, the mayor announced this afternoon that the lights will be back on in Manhattan tonight and tomorrow in Brooklyn. Perhaps New Yorkers in those boroughs will forgive and forget. Angele Rodriguez promises he'll stop complaining if he just gets one thing.

ANGELE RODRIGUEZ: Hot water.

SMITH: In all the world, that's all you want?

ANGEL RODRIGUEZ: In all the world, hot water.

SMITH: Robert smith, NPR News.

RODRIGUEZ: Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.