Reaching Recovery

A recovery period is acknowledged as a time in which essential services are restored, preliminary construction is planned, and sense of normalcy returns.  However, a recovery period is best described as a spectrum because services, construction, and normalcy often exist in various degrees.  For example, in different ares of New York, services and normalcy have not fully been restored even though efforts are being made strategize for future disasters.  I recently read two articles, published only last week, that explored how recovery from Hurricane Sandy is not nearly complete. 

When I read, “Superstorm Sandy Victims Tormented By Bitter Bold,” I learned that some residents from a neighborhood in New Dorp Beach on Staten Island have not had heat since the October storm and the continued cold weather further adds to their aggravation.  As a result, many have sought refuge in tents set up by aid workers.  One of the men explained his current situation, “Every day it’s something, either it’s frozen pipes or getting jerked around for two months by insurance companies. I just kind of want to wake up one day and have no surprises” (CBS NY).

Similarly, Long Beach residents wish that the problems resulting from the storm would be fixed sooner.  According to a Times report, “about 40 percent of the population [in Long Beach] has not returned after Hurricane Sandy because there’s little to come back to.  Houses inundated by the storm surge are still waterlogged and molding” (Coscarelli). 

 Both these descriptions of people’s lives in Staten Island and Long Beach allowed me to recognize the realities and limitations of a recovery period.  Without knowing when their lives will return to normal, how are these people supposed to remain hopeful? Is it natural for them to hold grudges against the institutions that do not seem to be providing them with immediate help? Will these grudges subside? What are the best ways for these people to move forward?

Apparently, the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) is already trying to determine how to maintain cellphone and Internet services for future natural disasters.  Some of the proposals consisted of longer-lasting batteries as well as the installation of femtocells, mini cell towers, into homes (Chen).  Even though Jack Schnirman stressed that during the impact and immediate post-impact period, “The lack of communication and response from service providers was extremely disconcerting,” I wonder if planning for the future makes people feel comforted or ignored? Are such efforts productive when people have yet to achieve normalcy in their lives? While I believe that short-term and long-term action should occur simultaneously as a mean of productivity, I would like to know how those still recovering from Sandy react to such measures. 



CBS New York, “Superstorm Sandy Victims Tormented By Bitter Cold.” CBS Local News. 24 January 2013. Web. 6 February 2013. <;.

Chen, Brian X. “F.C.C. Seeks Ways to Keep Phones Alive in a Storm.” The New York Times. 5 February 2013. Web. 6 February 2013. <;.

Coscarelli, Joe. “Hurricane Sandy Recovery Is Far From Over.” New York Magazine. 22 January 2013. Web. 4 February 2013. <;.


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monica byrne

novelist . playwright . traveler . futurist . feminist


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