LIVE FROM THE OCCUPATIONS OF NEW YORK CITY

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Status Updates: From the Rockaways to Chinatown

Far Rockaway, near the beach

Occupy Wall Street participants have been pitching in all around the city. The below updates have been collected from coordination emails and facebook status posts on Occupy Sandy's facebook page. Shoot your relief stories to submissions@occupywallstreet.net and we will publish them as they roll in...

Michael Premo: Rockaways

'The air was thick with water spray and smoke.... a line for food at the community hub just opened tonight at B113th Street and Rockaway Blvd. We had the generator up and running with lights and served 60+ people warm food and distributed clothing, blankets (It's cold tonight!) and supplies. We also met some really great new friends from the neighborhood. The FDNY continued to battle a fire throughout the evening behind us.'

Jackie Sheeler: Harlem

'I made 60 sandwiches at home & gave them out to residents at Baruch Houses. NYCHA workers suggested a fire hydrant as a good place for food distribution, & they were right....people (were) carrying their  buckets & bottles of water up many flights of pitch-black stairs in the projects. many of them are doing it for elderly or disabled neighbors as well as their own families. the few open bodegas can't take food stamps (the card readers are out) and some of them are price-gouging. $8 for a half gallon of milk. sickening.'

Timothy Wheldon: Chinatown

'...many of us spent the entire day in chinatown at the CAAAV office talking to residents; manning our portable generator/cell phone charging station; handing out food, water, flashlights, and batteries; and going door to door in buildings to make sure people are okay and have what they need.

At one point, almost ten cops came with their lights flashing to tell us we had to stop, because all the people on the sidewalk were creating a "safety hazard," and they were worried about "rioting" and "theft of iPhones." they said this was all in the name of "helping the community."

they made several announcements to the crowd of residents to disperse, at no point letting us interpret what they were saying so that the crowd of mostly chinese mandarin/cantonese/fujianese speakers could understand what the cops were telling them.

We were able to negotiate with them to keep our adhoc relief center open, but it was a stark reminder of who actually keeps our communities strong and resilient - our residents and our neighborhood organizations who actually give a damn.

At no point did we see anyone else from a city agency, or any relief agency (red cross, where you and your billions at?), or any elected officials office.

SO MUCH LOVE to caaav members, staff, volunteers, and supporters who came out today to help. i'm feeling very tender-hearted today towards the city that i love and its people who keep it going.'

Danette Chavis: Chinatown (Smith Towers)

'...please inbox me as soon as you hear "electricity" has been restored in the area! I couldn't get any information about it and went there personally this morning... (There are elderly tenants in those high rise building, in the dark, with no heat and the elevators are not working) The manager of La Guardia apartments told me they had just got the "cold water" turned on today, and the information they're receiving about the "electricity" being restored in the buildings "keep changing".'

Stephanie Johnstone: Chinatown

'There is definitely still a great need for...especially humans to go door to door - there are so many people stranded (especially in the projects at Cherry St.) who are without food and water.  And those who could get down all the stairs often didn't have clear information about what is going on or when power would be back on, etc....

...one woman, who barely spoke English said to/about us "This is why America is Number One.  Because it is built on love. People loving each other."  I felt great warmth towards this woman, and also the statement is so layered, I don't even know where to begin!'

Maria Gianas: Chinatown

'We were there yesterday and although building doormen are saying they are knocking on doors, we contacted and gave bags of food and water to elderly residents who had not been contacted by anyone....especially on upper floors. Just show up with water and food and knock on doors. give them time to get to the door!!!'

"Trick or Aid": Greenpoint

'North Brooklyn was hit hard in places too, but since many of us retained power and stayed dry, we may have a lot of resources direly needed by others...let's go "trick or treating" for direly needed supplies. Wear your costumes -- or don't worry about it - but make sure to dress warm, it's getting chilly out there!'

Daniel Florio: Central Jersey

'Call for assistance: I've had no power since Mon night. We've been using a generator for my respirator and the boiler.

Will run out of fuel tomorrow and there doesn't seem to be any in the area. My brother has tried many gas stations today! If anyone in N or Central Jersey can get cans of gas please do so! I live in Maplewood, but someone in my family could pick it up from you if necessary. I don't have Internet or phone access.

UPDATE: I’m literally overwhelmed by the generous response from friends, acquaintances, and strangers to my posting asking for gas. I’m just now in a place a few towns away from home with internet access, so I literally haven’t started reading all of your posts. I’ll respond and thank you all individually when I’m better able, but I’m very grateful for your thoughts and concrete steps to help alike.

I now have enough gas for a couple more days, and there are some solid leads on getting more.... Thanks to my Aunt Elaine for the acting as Coordinator. This role was sprung upon her, and we had no idea how daunting the magnitude of the response would make this task. Thanks again, and hope you’re all safe.'

Udi Pladott: Rockaway

'I would (send) some pictures of what I saw at Far Rockaway, but since the entire place is smothered in utter darkness, there's little to see. You couldn't really fully grasp it from the pictures, without breathing in the smell of recently burnt down city blocks. The scene is post-apocalyptic: entire streets blocked with huge pieces of the boardwalk thrown around like you would cast a bunch of tooth picks on your dinner table; some streets are just not passable with a conventional car because there is no remnant of the pavement; countless cars lying on the street at odd angles, some perched on top of other cars; more than anything - entire city blocks completely lifeless, without even the flicker of candle lights in the windows. But then, in the midst of all that, there are small groups of people huddled together, either around a bonfire, or around a generator. They need food. They need blankets. They need flashlights and batteries, and so much more. Some of them just really appreciate knowing that they're not forgotten. They thanked us for simply being there.'

Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department: Rockaways

'PBFD firehouse has severe damage we lost most of our equipment, our 2 engines are still operational but on borrowed time, we lost a Chevy Tahoe, everything was under 4 feet of salt water. If any departments have spare supplies we could really use it, flashlights, radios, turnout gear, 4x4 apparatus, office equipment, mobile trailer, etc. We rescued many people and saved a lot of houses under some extreme conditions. FEMA and OEM have been useless. Please spread the word and repost and share. Thank you'

Agnes Johnson: Rockaways

'NADLER SHOULD BE CALLED " The National Guard and FEMA were to distribute meals at 3:00 pm in Coffee Park, where over 200 people stood in line since noon to receive food. At 3:00 pm the supplies and foods were not at the site. I asked one of the lead Guards/Organizers at what time was the food expected, only to get a pathetic "I don't know" look.

This is yet another example how the people cannot rely on the government to fulfill the needs of our people. When this system has never been able to serve the basic need of our people, we must take a step back and evaluate the work that we do and who we are working for. Only People Power can ensure the survival of our neighborhood no matter how many lies Bloomberg, the President and the Ruling class wants to feed us.'

Sofia Gallisa Muriente: 4 a.m. 11/2/12, Far Rockaway

Homeland Security personnel in military gear, bulletproof vests and holding long rifles pull over three young black men in the middle of blacked-out Far Rockaway as they walk down the street for a glorified Stop and Frisk justified as crackdown on looting. Meanwhile, the streets are full of people in desperate need for help, food, water, electricity, support and other resources.

Kelli Daley: Brighton Beach

The Warbasse houses are still without power making it difficult for the many elderly immigrant residents on the upper floors to get adequate food and water. On Friday there was amazing outreach as several unconnected groups teamed up to make sandwiches, donate groceries and bring those supplies to those in need. That could only be done by navigating the dark stairways, up to 23 floors,  with headlamps and flashlights. Everyone was pitching in to share their lights and translation skills.

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