NYC’s Music Community Talks Hurricane Sandy

October 31, 2012

If you suffered Sandy's wrath this week, you probably woke up after the storm with a pretty good grasp on all the damage she incurred on your block, but without much of a sense of what things really looked like on the other side of town. To bridge some of the gap, we talked to music community folks from all over New York City and northern New Jersey about their experiences weathering the wind and water. Some of them even sent in photos.


Where were you? In midtown Manhattan, right around Times Square.

How did you pass the storm? Partying hard.

How was the neighborhood impacted? It seemed almost random, which buildings had power and which didn't in our area. We live pretty high up, and you could feel the building swaying in the wind, and you could see our window's glass bend when the wind hit it. But we just kept partying, and everything was OK. Santos Party House, the concert venue club my friends and I own down in Chinatown, is also totally fine. Thank the gods! The worst part was having to cancel the awesome shows we had lined up. I had to cancel my own Halloween show due to damaged equipment in a different venue. The storm was less intense and also more intense than I had expected. I'm really sad about what happened to the subways and to the east side downtown. It's a weird feeling. We got wet without even trying. It's just water, but water is powerful, a life force but also a dark force. New York City will be back together in no time, though. It's the party nature of this powerful place.


Where were you? In northern New Jersey, stuck at my girlfriend's house.

How did you pass the storm? Power went out at like 7:30. Was pretty boring, we just passed the time playing cards and some board games like Life during the worst parts.

How was the neighborhood impacted? There's a lot of power out still and they said it could be out until around Monday. There wasn't a lot of flooding but seems to be a lot of damage from the wind and big trees falling. Didn't get hit as bad as by the beaches or the city because I'm further from the water.

Michelle McDevitt


Where were you? Gowanus and Park Slope.

How did you pass the storm? We made a lot of high calorie foods and incessantly refreshed Gawker and The New York Times while listening to NPR. Around 5PM we took our dog out for a walk and bought ice in case we lost power. Gusts of wind were so strong, you got the feeling a falling branch or debris could dead you instantly. During the peak of the storm, my husband Gavin, who runs Audible Treats with me and is also in the band Lightouts, worked on music while I went over to the neighbor's to unload some pumpkin muffins and make slushy Slurricanes (shouts to E-40 and The Click).

How was the neighborhood impacted? In Park Slope the damage was minimal. We never lost power or internet there. However Gowanus, where our office is located, was fucked. The water that infiltrated our neighborhood is toxic: the Gowanus Canal has tested positive for gonorrhea and contains a few decades worth of industrial filth, so all of that sediment being tracked into our offices and homes is cause for concern. I kept tabs on the area by searching for pictures tagged #Gowanus and saw that the canal had started breaching its walls around noon on Monday. By 4PM, water was flooding the streets.

In Gowanus on Tuesday, we discovered that the waterline had reached four feet on the first floor of our building. Most first floor tenants had prepared by moving everything to the top of their desks, never fathoming that the water would go so high, so they pretty much lost everything. A graphic design firm lost all their computers, devices and books. Other friends who make premium leather goods for dogs lost everything except for a printer that was on a high shelf. The Audible Treats offices are on the third floor so we were spared. Last year with Irene, two inches of water came in through the windows, so this week we prepped by sealing the windows with masking tape, lifting everything off the floor and covering our computers with tarps weighed down by jugs of water, in case our giant windows broke. We were lucky, but I'm going to lend a hand to the neighbors now.


Where were you? Philadelphia. I had a New York show before the storm and a Philly show as it was approaching. I got stuck in Philly and the party got shut down because they declared a state of emergency.

How did you pass the storm? Watching Netflix, texting, eating, music and Twitter. I watched Harlem Nights and The Grey. Twitter verified me during the storm, so I was in a great mood. Really just wishing for the best and keeping my mind off the bad. The storm could've been a lot worse. I actually walked to 7-Eleven and they were open, that will forever be my have store now.

How was the neighborhood impacted? Let me start off by saying keep your head up, NY! Even though I wasn't back in New Jersey where I live, I kept in touch with a lot of people. Trees fell, cars caught on fire, gates fell and lights went out for days. It's crazy that you really can't predict what's going to happen in this world. My heart goes out to all the families that lost love ones. I'm finally heading home today to see what's what.

[Above photo by Tameil Payne, in New Jersey]

Katie Garcia


Where were you? My apartment in Greenpoint, with Dustin [of Beach Fossils] and our neighbors.

How did you pass the storm? Soaking up the luxuries of having power and watching a Y2K survival guide video. Around 11PM when the rain and wind had calmed down, we all decided to take a walk.

How was the neighborhood impacted? The cops were blocking off Greenpoint Avenue. The north side of McGuinness Boulevard looked like a river. Friends on Java Street said there were cars almost completely covered with water. In true New York fashion, we're back at the office today. Our street had little to no damage, even though it's right next to the East River.

Max Eisenberg


Where were you? Far Rockaway. Bay 25th St in a ranch house on half an acre, surrounded by old trees and hedges. Rockaway's got families of all nations and cultures living on the edge of the modern world. We have a home here and we love to protect each other. There was never an option to evacuate.

How did you pass the storm? Slow-cooked chicken stew. Went outside to take things in every 20 minutes. Smoke and liquid spirits. Acoustic guitars and candles when the power went out.

How was the neighborhood impacted? There's no shortage of tree limbs and odd debris around the streets, but we're a ways from the devastation further down Rockaway Beach. This morning we drove south down Beach Channel. Made it just past the still smoldering fires around Beach 90th Street before the road ahead seemed too real to dabble in. We realized the red glowing faintly out of a black distance last night was an actual inferno on the beach. A night without power gave us a look at our hood through the twilight zone. There was something grim about the atmosphere, but mostly it was an inspiring view.

Aaron David Ross


Where were you? In South Williamsburg, by the Williamsburg bridge.

How did you pass the storm? We prepared in the typical ways: stockpiling groceries, weed, and iPad battery life. Since we have a basement prone to flooding, we panicked trying to clean, prepare our pumps, block off all grates and tie doors shut. When the wind really started charging around 5PM, we ventured down to the pier near North 5th Street and ducked under the police barricade. It was full of similarly reckless people climbing on the railings, posing for pictures and getting whipped back and forth by extreme gusts. It literally felt like the wind could pick you up and throw you into the river. The turbulent waves looked so severe, huge tides and extremely fast currents made everything really exciting. Cops soon came and forced everyone out. The rest of the night we spent working on music and mourning the loss of our internet, which went out around 8PM.

How was the neighborhood impacted? Williamsburg didn't lose power and the flooding was minimal. The morning after, the streets were packed with people, I guess coming from other areas to charge their phones. In the afternoon, Matthew [Arkell, of Gatekeeper] embarked on a rescue mission to the West Side of Manhattan to check on his grandmother, who was thankfully safe. Wandering around the city without power was incredibly eerie, especially once the sun set.


Where were you? Fatima Al Qadiri’s house in South Williamsburg.

How did you pass the storm? Watching Shahs of Sunset, drinking Bulgari water and smoking mad weed with my homegirl.

How was the neighborhood impacted? The lights didn't go out but the WIFI stopped for a bit. The building was just shaking and then it stopped. No drama.

NYC’s Music Community Talks Hurricane Sandy