talking about the weather

How Storm Victims Avoid Freezing Their Butts Off

Two days into our brutal cold snap, whatever novelty the unseasonable weather may have brought is starting to wear off even if you have a warm place to retreat to, which many victims of Hurricane Sandy don’t. According to The New York Times, construction teams with New York Rapid Repairs have yet to finish work on 1,893 storm-damaged buildings, “a substantial portion of which … remain without heat.” That means residents of the Rockaways, Gerritsen Beach, coastal Staten Island, and other storm-hit neighborhoods have to keep warm however they can. The methods vary from household to household, but they share the common trait of sounding damned uncomfortable.

In Rockaway Beach, Queens:

DeCarolis said his son Randy is practically living in his kitchen so he can be near the warmth provided by the oven.

He’s piled everyone into the kitchen,” DeCarolis said. “We put a sheet up over the kitchen door and we use the oven. That’s where the three dogs, my ex-wife, my son, my daughter-in-law, and both my grandkids sleep.”

In Staten Island:

In a storm-damaged neighborhood near the beach on New York City’s Staten Island, people who haven’t had heat in their homes since the late October storm took refuge in tents set up by aid workers. The tents were equipped with propane heaters, which were barely keeping up with the cold, and workers were providing sleeping bags and blankets for warmth.

Eddie Saman is sleeping in one of the tents because the gaping hole in the roof of his home has rendered it uninhabitable. Heat has been restored to the house, but much of it escapes through the hole.

It’s very cold,” Saman said, “and mainly I sleep here next to the heater here.”

In Far Rockaway:

Devon Lawrence’s home in Far Rockaway, Queens, was washed through with ocean water that damaged his boiler and heating system beyond repair. At night, he tucks his 75-year-old mother, who has dementia and suffers from diabetes, under two blankets — she never takes off the four pairs of pants, three jackets, and hat she wears indoors to hold off the seeping cold. Though the boiler was replaced by contractors from the Rapid Repairs program, the repairs have not been completed, he said. For now, Mr. Lawrence, 48, is heating his home with a kerosene heater and has spent $450 on kerosene in the past few weeks, dipping into money he was given by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that should be going to repairing his house, he said.

In Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn:

It was too cold for Daniel Choi to stay in his storm-gutted home in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, so he left his two pet turtles, Michelangelo and Leonardo, behind to move in temporarily with friends. But on Wednesday, when he stopped by his home to feed them, he made an upsetting discovery. Plummeting temperatures in the still-heatless house had left the two turtles frozen under a sheet of ice.

How Storm Victims Avoid Freezing Their Butts Off