I have much, much more to share in the way of stories and images from my time on Staten Island yesterday and in Far Rockaway today, but it's after midnight here, I'm beyond exhausted, and I'll be leaving the house tomorrow at 7am to return to Rockaway to help with the polling stations.
All I'll share for now is that my eyes, ears and heart have been flung wide open for the people living in this area. With helicopters flying overhead all day, the navy scattered across the beach and the never-ending sirens of fire trucks, police cars and ambulance, I feel like I've been in a war zone and am shell shocked, and I'm just in the area for a short time. How the people who live here are managing to cope is beyond me.
They are eager to share their stories, the stories of neighbors rescuing neighbors when the waters flooded in. Stories of rescues using dive gear, surf boards and swimming goggles, and stories of neighbors dying from puncture wounds where they bled out, from being trapped behind doors and in basements, from being hit by glass, and on and on and on.
Many are willing to share their stories with me and I am planning to meet up with people I met today and record their memories. It is important for them to be heard and I'm here to help and to witness... What else can I do?
Visit facebook.com/FarRockaway for more photos of the area.