Categorized | Featured, Hurricane Sandy

Without Power, and Feeling Powerless


Rescuing one of Hurricane Sandy’s many four-wheeled victims on the Lower East Side.

With no job to go to today, Sam Rosado was free to stay home and fix his minivan. The car needed his help. Just hours before, it was submerged in four to five feet of water, one of many four-wheeled victims of the flooding that swamped vehicles and knocked out power on Manhattan’s Lower East Side during Hurricane Sandy’s rampage through the city.

Sam Rosendo spends the morning in the Lower East Side trying to fix his minivan that just hours before had been submerged in water. Credit: ALMA FAUSTO

With his tools spread out on a sidewalk caked in wet leaves and garbage, Rosado and a friend were among the few people out and about at the Lower East Side corner of 8th Street and Avenue C this morning.  A handful of others swept their stoops or walked dogs, accompanied by the neighborhood’s new background sound: loud pumps removing water from basements and dumping it onto the street.

“This is like Katrina for us. 58-years-old, I’ve never seen anything like this.,” said Rosado. “To see Manhattan, New York City in this shape—with no water, no electricity, no food, the cars are totaled, the cars were swimming. The water was a good five feet I would say. It’s just…you feel helpless. There’s no help.”

With electricity off for thousands of city residents, and public transportation limited to buses today, Rosado complained that the state and city governments were caught unprepared by Sandy.

“They’ve done nothing,” he said. “Okay, they’ve opened the doors to a shelter, so what?

Even the shelters get knocked by Rosado. It’s better to stay in his apartment, said Rosado, than have to share shelters with “muggers” and “low-lifes.”

Rosado tosses off a litany of dire predictions for the days to come, in Sandy’s aftermath: homeless people will take over buildings, he warned, sanitation will worsen, and “People are going to start to loot now.”

 “We’re waterlogged here. The aftermath is unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

As if to explain his pessimism, Rosado pointed a greasy finger to a water line on the window of his van, where the flooding had reached, then to a poster on the concrete wall nearby showing where the water hit there – a good four feet above the street.

 Rosado, a native of Brooklyn, is a driver for the city but couldn’t work today because offices were closed. He sought to dry out the minivan by opening its doors, then dove under the car to drain water from the transmission.

His home, shared with his wife and adult daughter, is in a high rise apartment down the street. He has to climb six flights of stairs to reach it now; with no power, there is no elevator ride. Rosado said he and his family are running low on the water and food they stocked up for the hurricane.

 “There should be trucks out here. Even if you get a bucket of water, it’s enough to at least wash your face and brush your teeth,” he said. But city officials don’t care, he said. “They’re up there in Uptown and they’ve got power. But send somebody here to help us.”

Then his mood shifted a bit. Rosado smiled as he said he’s sure he can get his minivan’s engine running. Once that happens, he’ll drive to Brooklyn for auto parts. There is no insurance on the van, but Rosado says he’s got enough car repair experience to fix it himself.”

“You got to make do,” he said. “We’re New Yorkers, we’re strong, we help ourselves.”



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