My NYTimes debut: experience of an expat Staten Islander during Sandy

My New York Times debut: A journalist found my post on my experience of helplessness as a Staten Island expat, far away during the Hurricane Sandy disaster. After some emails and a phone call, my Staten Island-based mama and I became the lede of his article on New York expats taking action during crisis.

Here’s the article, in this weekend’s paper in the New York Times Giving section:

Tied by Heartstrings to Calamity

It was kinda cool to be on the flip side of reporting as the interviewee. Probably made it a lot easier for the writer, too. And I also got a kick out of collecting info for him to find other local Israeli resources.

The experience reminded me of my old reporter ambitions (which, since abandoning them, I’ve partly pursued here for the last 8+ years; so one might say). It got me thinking that I might want to revive that old life a little, perhaps staying online, maybe starting with guest posts? Might be fun to give it a shot.

Next stop… byline somewhere!

Heels in Israel, heart in Staten Island

Not over how odd it is to live in the Middle East and watch your North American hometown get knocked around by the Universe.

[Hylan Boulevard is a river… I used to cruise along Hylan for Staten Island Advance assignments…] 

For the past week, my heels have been in Israel, but my heart is in Staten Island. The forgotten New York City borough. I wish I could pick up and fly over and help people sort through their property… hand out warm clothes… pack food packages. Alas, it’s not to be, and all I can do is call my mother a few times a day and make a donation online and hope it helps.

Isn’t it supposed to be the opposite?

Thinking of my family and friends and neighbors in Staten Island, lower Manhattan, Queens, Connecticut, New Jersey, Long Island, north of NYC…

There are probably tons of lists, but if you got here, this is a selection of online donation spots and volunteer mobilization [UPDATED Nov 6]:

  • Staten Island Assemblyman Matthew Titone’s Amazon Wishlist – purchase items directly c/o the assemblyman, who is taking care to deliver them to Staten Islanders in need (other local groups in NYC listed here).
  • Red Cross Disaster Relief – The American Red Cross response to Sandy is very large and will be very costly, affecting a massive area spanning much of the eastern half of the country. Financial donations help the American Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-HELPNOW or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • The Salvation Army Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts
  • Jewish Federation of North America: Hurricane Relief Fund
  • Tablet has a comprehensive list for helping schools, communities, social services, and blood donation centers.
  • Brooklyn Based also has a long list of links for volunteering/donating.
  • JCORPS volunteering and events.
  • LBNY Hurricane spreadsheet for donations and mobilizing volunteers.
Plus Israeli local efforts by expats:

There are also local efforts by stores, companies and newspapers… Pretty much a matter of Googling it.

Thinking of my hometown. If you know of more online donation efforts, please leave in comments.

Fifty-Two Frames: Dirty.

Visiting my hometown this week: Staten Island.

Need I say more? So much opportunity: the landfill, the sanitation building, New Jersey, the beach, American cash, the natives, the tanning salons… But I ran out of time and good weather.

Week 8: Dirty

There was a Snooki the day before, but I messed up and forgot to take it so I settled for Paris. Who doesn’t settle for Paris, though?

Me and Irene.

Our trip to New York City is down to its last 24 hours. It was too short, and I’m not just saying that because it’s always too short. It was actually on the short side. But, alas. We spent the weekend with Irene, same as the millions of other peeps across the East Coast. I tend to come to New York for the exciting times: the 2005 Blackout, the 2006 Blizzard, Hurricane Irene. The hurricane that wasn’t. Yet, was. Parts of Staten Island got smashed; we were five minutes into one that wasn’t. After the rain stopped, I walked in the drizzle and got dramatic:

Among the ‘wreckage’ I found a survivor…

Surviving. Another trip to visit family, another reminder of the long distance relationships I’ve created. Another dilemma. Another flight. Another next time.