Residents of the Rockaways braved dropping temperatures and a line that wound through Conch Playground and a block down the bordering sidewalk to receive food, water and other supplies at an aid distribution point Friday. Many said they were thankful to have help but also questioned why it started to arrive four days after Hurricane Sandy devastated the area.
In the distribution center’s second day, police officers and volunteers from state Sen. Malcolm Smith’s (D-St. Albans) office, the Salvation Army, airlines JetBlue and Delta, and OTG, an airport food and beverage operator, distributed free sandwich lunches, MREs, water and clothing.
Charging and Internet stations were also set up so people could repower their phones and communicate with loved ones. JetBlue brought in trucks that handed out pizza and cupcakes.
But people who had been without power since the storm hit and whose homes were damaged by floodwaters said they were angry the city was not better prepared to restore the Rockaways even though there was advance warning Hurricane Sandy was coming.
“We were left for dead for a long time,” said one person who would only identify himself as Man and said his apartment was without power and heat. “It’s been five days and five nights.”
Some complained that volunteers started handing out aid several hours later than when fliers announced the distribution would begin, and Smith said the city changed the start time four times on Thursday.
As of Friday, NYC.gov incorrectly listed the location of the distribution point as being on the corner of Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 51st Street. Conch Playground is on the corner of Beach Channel Drive and Beach 49th Street.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.
©2012 Community News Group
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