On Brooklyn's waterfront, Red Hook learns to cope without power

Mon Nov 5, 2012 5:18am EST
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By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian

BROOKLYN, New York (Reuters) - At the 99 Cent Dreams store in Red Hook, a working-class neighborhood on New York Harbor, Ramon Rodriguez spent part of his Sunday hunting for fresh supplies as the disruptions from superstorm Sandy continued for a second week.

The 70-year-old is one of hundreds in the neighborhood's public housing apartments without heat and power after Sandy's floodwaters swamped the area.

"I feel like I've spent my whole Social Security check on batteries and candles," Rodriguez said. "The power's been out all week."

After Rodriguez paid for supplies, he set out to find ice to keep his freezer cold, but most of the shops nearby were closed.

"The ones that are open are running on generators," Rodriguez said. "At least it's cold enough to leave food outside the windowsill."

Rodriguez lives in a low-rise, public housing building that has been without power since early last week. So far, he has praise for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. government agency that helps storm victims.

"When this is all over, I'm gonna write them a letter saying how great they've been," Rodriguez said. "They gave us fruit, canned food, water."

Out of habit, he punched in a security code at the entrance of his building, only to remember that the intercom was powered by electricity. He pushed the unlocked door and walked in.   Continued...

A man makes his way through flood waters on a bike in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York, October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford