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Hurricane Sandy Report, 4 Days After [UPDATE 14]

by Hrag Vartanian on November 2, 2012

It is now four days after Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy hit New York and the surrounding areas and power has not returned to Lower Manhattan, parts of South Brooklyn, whole counties in New Jersey, parts of Long Island, and elsewhere. It is almost hard to believe for many people that the greatest city in the world could be devastated for so long by a single storm.

But the city is rebuilding. Things will return back to normal, but until then we will conclude our week of Sandy reports with today’s liveblog of news from the New York area as we receive it.

If you have any information, photos, news, or commentary, please post them in the comments below or email us at tips [at] hyperallergic.com.

UPDATE 1: MoMA-PS1 curator Klaus Biesenbach shared a document via Twitter that outline’s MoMA conservators’ emergency guidelines for art disasters:

Download the Google doc here. Some of the advice includes this general guideline for photographers on what to recover first:

Salvage color photographs first, then black and white prints, gelatin silver, albumen, negatives and transparencies. If facilities and personnel are available, air dry; pack and freeze if not.

UPDATE 2: The South Street Seaport Museum can’t cut a break. After financial problems that always destroyed it in the last few years, the Museum is now launching a new fundraising drive to make sure it can continue. Sandy, they explain, didn’t only damage the building but greatly impacted its revenue. Their email explains:

It is not just that there was five feet of filthy, oil-laced surge in our lobby, wiping out the systems that run the escalator, the elevators, and the heating and air conditioning, it is not just the clean-up; it is the loss of revenue that we had been building so diligently. Consider the following:

  • Our rental tenants, Josh Bach’s store on Fulton Street and Skipper’s outdoor restaurant on Pier 16, suffered extensive flood damage and may not be able to reopen. Indeed, the surge reached Skipper’s eaves — it is amazing that it is still there at all.
  • Bowne & Co., Stationers was most seriously damaged in that 217 drawers of accessioned type were soaked by the surge. Efforts to dry the type and keep it from deforming are hindered by the lack of power downtown.
  • School programs, a good source of income, will be slow in returning, given the loss of classroom time during this week’s closing.
  • In spite of the elevation of our lobby, the café, the admission desk and its computer, and the Museum Shop have been destroyed.
  • The Seaport District has been devastated. Even if we are able to open next week, we face outside a huge loss in passersby and tourists. To-date, there are only gawkers.

The museum is asking that any and all donations be mailed to Susan Henshaw Jones, South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton Street, New York, New York 10038. Not sure why there is no online way of giving such as PayPal.

The museum tweeted us and let us know that there is a way to give online:

UPDATE 3: Artinfo’s In the Air blog reports that the Whitney Museum’s downtown construction site was spared during Sandy. They relayed the Whitney’s statement:

Although the site for the downtown Whitney experienced flooding, our initial assessment is that there is no significant damage to existing construction, and no delay is expected in the project schedule.

UPDATE 4: MoMA is hosting a presentation by AIC-CERT that is ”designed to be of special help to the many artists and galleries whose works were affected by Hurricane Sandy.” The event will take place on Sunday, November 4, from noon to 2 pm, at MoMA (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan). There is more information on the MoMA website.

UPDATE 5: Yesterday, I stopped by 99 Commercial Street, where many artists on the ground floor awoke on Tuesday to fully flooded studios. The scene was very sad as this photo of debris from artist studios stacked in their common alley demonstrates:

On the bright side, I spoke to artist Rachel Beach, whose studios was flooded at 99 Commercial Street, and she said she has been overwhelmed by the amazing response of volunteers who responded to her call for cleanup help.

She mentioned that some individuals — strangers to her until yesterday — walked two hours from Bushwick (each way) to lend a helping hand. It was an amazing scene to see people coming together to help a local artist. I spoke to one woman, who is a public health worker, who heard of the need and traveled from Bed Stuy to help out Beach, even though she doesn’t know her personally and is not directly involved in the art community.

These volunteers were doing everything from scrubbing rusted metal sculptures (the building was flooded with toxic salt water from nearby Newtown Creek) to bleaching tools or hanging prints to dry (pictured below). It was an amazing scene to witness and be a part of. People coming together to save an artist’s body of work.

I also ran into Phong Bui, artist and publisher of The Brooklyn Rail, who said his studio was decimated by Sandy. This comes of the heels of another flooding that impacted Bui’s studio earlier this year and destroyed 20 percent of his work at the time. Bui currently has a show at Show Room gallery on the Lower East Side which includes works inspired — is that the right word — by his first flood experience. Some artists can’t get a break it seems.

UPDATE 6: Hands down, the most creative and intellectually stimulating response to Sandy has to be Storefront for Art and Architecture’s “In the Dark” event, which is taking place tonight at their Soho/Nolita location. The institution is taking the opportunity to explore the concept of darkness and architecture. It’s an amazing idea. Their notice

This week, Hurricane Sandy has left many areas devastated and Downtown Manhattan in the dark. In light of these crippling and urgent circumstances, and as the Storefront gallery is still victim to the blackout, Storefront would like to view this as a constructive opportunity to discuss the relationship between darkness and architecture with an event made “In the Dark”.

“In the Dark” will address the connections between Darkness and Architecture from different points of view. From the phantasmagorical connection between darkness and spaces in fairy tales in various cultures, to the understanding of “dark” as a hidden or dangerous space, to the perception of space and urbanism through a lack (or abundance) of visuals and ‘blind’ perspectives, this is a crucial and opportune moment to reflect on the consequences and possibilities of urban recovery in the aftermath of a natural event like Sandy effecting so many urban centers. The event is also an opportunity for us all to share resources, time and availability to help bring NY back.

Join Storefront for Art and Architecture tonight to intimately define and discuss architecture’s relationship to darkness, “In the Dark.” Visitors are asked to bring flashlights and a small excerpt of text with a commentary on Architecture and Darkness that will be shared with and discussed in the group.

The final paragraph is the best:

Please note that all of Lower Manhattan is currently experiencing a blackout. The gallery and surrounding streets will be completely dark. Storefront encourages only those who can safely join us for this conversation to do so. 

In response to our UPDATE regarding their event. Storefront responded:

https://twitter.com/storefrontnyc/status/264457172551868417

Gotta love ‘em.

UPDATE 7: If you’re interested in volunteering your time for some Sandy cleanup, AFC has a list of places that are looking for monetary or volunteer help.

UPDATE 8: The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that its branch museum in Fort Tryon Park, The Cloisters, will reopen to the public on Tuesday, November 6.

UPDATE 9: The newly opened Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island says they survived #Sandy with no damage:

We published a review of the park yesterday.

UPDATE 10: Most event in New York have been canceled or postponed this week, this upcoming weekend, in New York. Among those postponed events is the Pratt Open Studios. We received the following note about the new date:

Due to the hurricane the Pratt Institute Open Studio’s has been postponed. Originally planed for this weekend it will now take place on November 9th and 10th. More info on http://mysite.pratt.edu/~pal/ and from Monday also on prattmfa.com.

UPDATE 11: The Joan Mitchell Foundation has long supported the visual arts community and in light of this week’s Sandy disaster they are doing what they can by reminding artists that they have some emergency funds for artists. They recently sent a letter to supporters and friends, which we’ve excerpted here:

… If you are — or know of — a visual artist who has been affected by the hurricane please contact us. The Foundation has funding allocated specifically for emergency assistance to painters and sculptors affected by natural disasters. Additionally, we have access to information about other organizations that may be able to assist you.

If you are an arts organization working with visual artists and have been negatively impacted, please reach out to us as well. We are working in partnership with other funders to assess the needs of the visual arts community and identify the best ways of supporting its recovery.

In the meantime, for anyone who has been impacted, we urge you to document your losses as thoroughly as possible. This should be done by taking photographs and keeping records of damage to your home, studio, office, and/or artwork, as well as keeping records of all related expenses going forward.

Please note that due to the hurricane, the Foundation’s office is closed and we cannot be reached by phone until power is restored to West Chelsea.

We know that communication for many is very limited now, but our staff can be reached by email at: info@joanmitchellfoundation.org.

… Please share your stories, your experiences, and let us know if you need assistance. We’re here to help.

We’ve reached out to the Mitchell Foundation for more information.

UPDATE 12: The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has put together a list of emergency resources for artists impacted by Sandy. It included some state-specific resources for artists in Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and elsewhere. (h/t In the Air)

UPDATE 13: The director of the Noguchi Museum has released a statement giving a vague sense of how Sandy impacted the Astoria, Queens museum. It appears that some works were damaged but the Museum doesn’t think they will permanent [emphasis ours]:

Dear Friends of the Noguchi Museum,

No doubt you are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as are so many in the Tri-State Area and beyond.  We only hope that the impact to you was not too dire or adverse.  We have received the most thoughtful e-mails, tweets, phone calls and Facebook notices expressing good wishes and hope that all is well with the Noguchi Museum, and we appreciate them immensely.

In immediate proximity to the East River, Hurricane Sandy’s wrath was received by the Noguchi Museum in full force Monday night at around 10:30 pm. Since that time, a small but incredibly dedicated staff, assisted by Museum colleagues who volunteered their time and skills, have done all they can to mitigate the impact of the storm. We believe that no art works have been permanently damaged and the building itself is secure.

My colleagues and I are extremely appreciative and grateful for the inspired volunteer effort our own Museum community has demonstrated. I, too, am inspired by the Noguchi team. Through the collective effort, an incredible amount has been accomplished in a very short time. However, we still have much to do in the week ahead.

As the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum is devoted to the preservation, documentation, presentation, and interpretation of the work of Isamu Noguchi, the care of our collection is our top priority. Therefore, the Museum is closed to the public through Friday, November 9, for a period of assessment. On Saturday, November 10, the Museum will reopen. We hope that you will be able to join us for the first artist-in-residence weekend featuring Paul Discoe, a San Francisco-based Japanese Master Builder and Zen Buddhist teacher.  This program is organized in conjunction with the exhibition Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi’s Studio Practice. Please check the Museum’s website, www.noguchi.org, for further updates.

Thank you for your support and concern as we all move forward.

Jenny Dixon
Director

UPDATE 14: The power is back on in much of lower Manhattan:

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  • http://bespangled.tumblr.com Janelle

    loves the gif! and the fact that the lights are back.

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