Two weeks have now passed since Hurricane Sandy hit our City. Since then, New Yorkers have shown their true colors by donating food, checking on neighbors, and cleaning up neighborhoods that suffered the greatest destruction. Throughout the boroughs, we have witnessed countless acts of heroism and an outpouring of generosity. Emergency workers, first responders, and volunteers have rushed to our aid and inspired each of us to help.
Last Thursday, I joined up with Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, State Senator Andrew Lanza, and Councilmember Vincent Ignizio to deliver much-needed blankets to 200 Staten Island families left without heat by Sandy.
And on Sunday, I teamed up with Congressmember Jose Serrano and Assemblymember Eric Stevenson to serve lunch to Far Rockaway families displaced by the storm.
If you would like to help out, there are many relief organizations looking for volunteers and donations. In addition, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John C. Liu and I are hosting a food drive at the Municipal Building, located at 1 Centre Street. Any donation to the food drive will be greatly appreciated, and all supplies will be donated to The Food Bank for New York City. Please note that donations will not result in preferential treatment by City officials.
As New York City begins its recovery from Hurricane Sandy, business owners face daunting challenges. They need to know what programs are available to help them recover from the effects of the storm.
Here are some key sources of assistance that are coordinated by the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Economic Development Corporation:
In addition, the following Federal Aid Programs for State of New York Disaster Recovery are available:
Further information about these programs and others is available in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Guide to Disaster Assistance and Relief Funding and Senator Charles Schumer’s Hurricane Sandy recovery website.
New York City has now seen the worst of Hurricane Sandy, but as we survey the damage this morning from The Bowery to Breezy Point, it is clear that we have a lot of work to do. And by working together as New Yorkers, we will get it done – starting today.
I want to first thank the heroes of the NYPD, FDNY, Con-Ed, National Guard, hospital workers and all the other emergency responders who are working so hard to keep us safe. I know you share my appreciation for those who are working on the front lines to save lives and restore essential services.
My advice for everyone else is stay safe, stay indoors and let rescue workers do their job today. For the best, most up-to-date information, you should stay tuned to TV and radio. But we know for sure that the job ahead is enormous:
I’d like to echo Mayor Bloomberg’s two crucial requests: Please call 911 only in life-threatening emergencies. For all other problems, please call 311. We cannot afford to overload our emergency response system at this time.
Perhaps the most helpful thing the rest of us can do is check in on our elderly or disabled friends and neighbors, to make sure they have everything they need.
We have much work ahead, and many unknowns to confront. But this much I know: New York will rise to this challenge with courage and compassion, just like it always does. I want to thank you in advance for all your help as we now move forward together.