By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, residents and business owners in southern Brooklyn began assessing the damage the storm brought and started making plans to clean up the mess thr storm left behind.
Homeowners and business owners whose properties sustained significant damage as a result of Sandy can apply for federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn).
Golden urged anyone needing help to call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or visit www.disasterassistance.gov to file a claim. He cautioned, however, that callers need certain pieces of information at the ready to give the FEMA representatives. The information includes: the address of the property that was damaged, insurance information, and the caller’s Social Security number.
Sandy caused significant damage to several parts of Brooklyn, according to city officials. Coney Island was one of the hardest hit neighborhoods, officials said. Coney Island is located in a Zone A, meaning that residents there were under a mandatory evacuation order by the city before Sandy hit.
Scores of homes and businesses were flooded, officials said. Sand from the beach at Coney Island was blown far inland and covered the sidewalks a block, and in some cases, two blocks away from the waterfront.
Police made several arrests in Coney Island in the wake of the storm, according to the New York daily News, which reported that the suspects were charged with looting stores in the neighborhood.
Residents of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst began the process of cleaning up their sidewalks, front yards, and backyards.
Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), who conducted several inspections tours of the three communities, said he was shocked by what he saw.
“My staff and I have spent the last 48 hours on call and touring the district to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. I saw dozens of giant old trees lost throughout the district, I saw people without heat, electricity and phone service, I saw people who had their cars crushed by falling branches,” he said in a message he posted on Facebook.
Gentile added that he also witnessed signs of resilience and hope in his tours of the area.
“I also saw people coming together and that familiar resilience New Yorkers are famous for. I saw people across our neighborhoods pulling together in an incredible way and it was truly an awesome sight. First responders are hard at work responding to devastation across the city and by all accounts have done a tremendous job. There is still a lot of work is ahead and we'll be working to ensure we get the city to respond to issues like downed trees and the remaining power outages in our community,” Gentile said
The city is looking for volunteers to assist with the big cleanup, according to Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge-Staten Island).
She invited residents to email her at NYSassembly60@gmail.comfor information on how to sign up. The city is looking for people to help clean up parks, residential areas, and commercial districts, Malliotakis said.
“The details are still being worked out, but it would involve light cleaning, sweeping, raking, and bagging debris,” she said.