Monday, September 21, 2015

Memories of 2012

This past week, I made two trips to Brooklyn.   One trip was (as it turned out) to say goodbye to a seriously ill friend.  The other trip, yesterday, was to sit shiva (a Jewish mourning ritual) with her family. 

The house where you visit is unlocked.  When you enter, you do not speak unless and until you are spoken to.  The immediate family of the deceased sit on stools or boxes lower than the visitors.  They do not wear any leather.   Mirrors (in some houses) are covered. There is a lot of other symbolism, something that is comforting to the mourners.

Most importantly, memories are shared.

 The past few days my memories of my friend have been running in my mind, almost like a movie.  It was comforting to sit with my friend's sisters and nieces and share some memories.

I was with my late friend when we took the walk that resulted in the pictures below.

I'd like to share these memories with you, my readers, also, with some updates and edits.  In the midst of destruction, there is also hope, and renewal.  I will remember that in the days to come.

Memories (September 2012)

We were there a month before Sandy.

So many of the scenes were too familiar, 14 months after my neighborhood in Westover, near Johnson City, New York, flooded - except we didn't have the strong winds, or the sea water, or 15 foot waves bearing down on us, like the waterfront neighborhoods of NYC.

It took me a month to search online for the fate of Red Hook after Sandy hit.  I already knew it in my heart.

I don't want to show you pictures of the destruction, although the NY Times wrote a heartbreaking article about the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook that won my heart during two visits this year.  And now it's been undone by the same sea that gave it identity.  Can the community be rebuilt?

(The answer was "yes").

New York City is not just midtown Manhattan.  Its people will surprise and amaze you. 

Let us remember the Red Hook of September, 2012 and not the Red Hook of late October, 2012.

The best Key Lime pies in the world - will they be able to recover?  (They did, and reopened a block or two away, in a better location.)
Pre Civil War warehouse.
And a view from afar.

The Fairway, in another historic warehouse building, was flooded with over 7 feet of water, and they lost everything. (They reopened, too.)

One more view of Fairway.  My friend loved this store and loved the key lime pies of Steve's. At one point, they helped sooth her and allowed her to get some nourishment.

In spirit, I walked down Van Brunt Street in Red Hook yesterday.  In spirit, I visited the Pier 44 gardens as the imaginary winds of late fall blew against me.

And now, like Red Hook, I move forward.

This is my post for the #Septemberchallenge, hosted by Everyday Gyaan.


  1. I got chills looking at your pictures. Sorry to hear about your friend, but glad that sharing memories about her helped.

  2. Oh, Alana, I am so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to lose a friend. Comfort to you, and your friend's family!

  3. I was exactly in Princeton, NJ during Sandy last year and I know how bad all surroundings are impacted. We were out of power more than 5 days I think. It's good that communities are rebuilt :-)

  4. My condolences on your friend's passing. It's so important to revert to rituals at times like this, unless the deceased specifically requested the family not to do so.
    It's amazing how resilient the human spirit is!

  5. Beautiful photos. So much was lost during Sandy. Nice you were able to preserve those memories.

  6. I'm so sorry. But it's good to remember good times. And see how some things have come back from something that might have completely destroyed them.


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