Neighborhood Chatter: Post-Sandy Help, LES Guns Off the Streets

Written by on . Posted in News Our Town Downtown, Our Town Downtown, Uncategorized.


By Nora Bosworth

Getting Post-Sandy Help

Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a statement explaining what recovery and emergency aid is now available throughout the city. The Human Resources Administration has established sites where people can learn how to apply for emergency and economic help. These centers are located at:

  • Mount Loretto – 6581 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island
  • New Dorp High School – Corner of Mill Road and New Dorp Lane, Staten Island
  • Coney Island – MCU Parking Lot, 1904 Surf Ave., Brooklyn
  • Rockaway – Walbaum’s Parking Lot, 112-15 Beach Channel Drive, Queens
  • Breezy Point – Fort Tilden Park (end closest to Breezy Point) – Beach Channel Blvd., Queens
  • Edgewater Firehouse Parking Lot, 1 Adee Place between Ninth Avenue and Edge Street, Bronx

There are also hurricane shelters, of course, with 15 operating throughout the five boroughs. A list of these sites for those in need of emergency housing is posted on nyc.gov.

The Human Resources Administration is offering financial help with covering relocation costs, a first month’s rent, a furniture stipend and more, for those eligible. People with no access to kitchen facilities can also apply for a restaurant allowance. For all the details of these modes of assistance, visit nyc.gov.

As the weather gets increasingly cold and concerns turn to those who still don’t have heat, the city has opened Warming Centers at the following downtown locations during the day:

  • BRC Senior Nutrition Program, 30 Delancey St., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • City Hall Senior Center, 100 Gold St., 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • John Paul II Friendship Center, 103 E. 7th St., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • La Guardia Senior Center, 280 Cherry St., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • NY Chinatown Senior Center, 70 Mulberry St., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sirovich Senior Center, 331 E. 12th St., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • University Settlement Nutrition, 189 Allen St., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Bloomberg also warned of wet property turning into moldy property, which can have various health consequences. He urged people with flooded homes to take careful measures to ensure the apartment is fully dried out, such as opening windows and using fans and dehumidifiers. If you have other concerns, such as food stamps, health insurance and small business support, the motto of the day is: go to nyc.gov.

For those who weren’t affected but want to help, the city has a website pulling in information about how to volunteer with or donate to several organizations, including New York Cares, Catholic Charities, Housing Works, Salvation Army, the Red Cross and New York Blood Center. Check out nycservice.org for more info.

Gas Shortage May Persist for Several More Days

Prior to hurricane Sandy, politicians and media outlets made plenty of predictions regarding its potential to wreak havoc on the city. But what went largely unmentioned was the gas shortage that New Yorkers, Long Islanders and New Jersey residents now face. Late Friday, President Barack Obama had deployed mobile fuel stations to New York and nearby ports, giving emergency response vehicles first dibs on the coveted gas. Gov. Andrew Cuomo requested that citizens use their cars as little as possible, saying now was not the time to drive. The first fuel shipment held 8 million gallons of gas, while 28 million gallons were on their way over. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie mandated that even-numbered license plates get their gas on even dates, and odd-numbered plates gas up on the other days. Many stations lost power during the storm and are still recovering. In addition, right after the storm the city’s ports were closed, blocking new gas shipments. They are now open, and hopefully by the end of the week gas will be as accessible as before.

LES Gun Buyback a Success

Two weeks ago, pre-hurricane, the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office held a gun buyback on the Lower East Side, the first in the neighborhood, at the Rutgers Houses Community Center. The event brought in 50 guns, 14 of which were semi-automatic weapons. The program, which was partly funded through asset forfeiture money seized by the DA’s office, paid $200 bank cards for each operable handgun turned in, and $20 bank cards for rifles and shotguns, with no questions asked and complete anonymity for those bringing the weapons.

“Every gun removed from city streets can be viewed in terms of crimes prevented and, hopefully, lives saved,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement after the event. He also praised the Lower East Side youth basketball program that the DA’s office co-hosts as another tool to keep violence down in the neighborhood.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who co-sponsored the event, said that Lower East Side community leaders have been expressing their “serious alarm” about gun violence in the area, and Community Board 3 chair Gigi Li said that the community is grateful that the program came to them.

There have been 154 people shot in Manhattan this year in 129 separate shootings, 19 of which have been fatal.

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