Waking up on Tuesday morning in Carroll Gardens, Hurricane Sandy's impact seem to have been minimal- internet gone, some flickering lights, and pretty scary wind. Brave local coffee shops like Maybelle's and Brooklyn Farmacy opened their doors to a grateful rush of cooped-up Brooklynites, comparing storm damage while musing when MTA transit would be restored.
That was our reality. Yet just three blocks away, beyond the evacuation zone, Red Hook was underwater. Our neighbors have been working tirelessly for 5 days, and still no power, no heat, no water and a lengthy, expensive cleanup/recovery effort ahead for small businesses & families. On Tuesday night at Jalopy Music Theatre, the saloon was packed with men & women like Richard, who has lived in Red Hook practically his entire life and is now scrambling for warm food and a power outlet. Their basement apartment is completely flooded, and there isn't even enough gasoline left to power the generators that would pump out the water. They will be displaced for weeks or months, and may lose all of their possessions to water damage and mold.
I've never been more proud to be a New Yorker, and to witness the resilience of my neighbors this week, but personal fortitude is not enough. We must come together as a community for the long haul- here and in The Rockaways, Breezy Point, Queens; Long Island, Hoboken, Lower Manhattan, Staten Island and so many other neighborhoods. There is no quick fix and practically everyone is affected.
My family is lucky (and grateful) to have hot showers and Internet...thankfully, our entire team has checked in during the week and everyone is safe. Overcoming limited transit options and increasingly poor cell phone service to make up an entire lost week of fundraising isn’t practical, and quite frankly, our hearts + minds are elsewhere when there are people with such an immediate need. So effective today, we will suspend our Kickstarter campaign so that everyone can focus on volunteering, raising funds to help those devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and restoring our homes.
Manufacture New York is much bigger than one fundraising campaign and we will not stop our momentum in reaching out to designers, local boutiques, city and state officials, and bringing people together in a coalition to create this dream of a centralized fashion district that is affordable and accessible to all. We will start fresh with our Kickstarter campaign after the holidays, and have received the full support of their team in this move forward.
There are many exciting developments in Manufacture New York on the horizon, including a designer meetup next Thursday at Brooklyn Fashion League, a Hurricane Sandy Relief Fundraiser on November 15th and a series of outreach events & pop-up shops throughout November and December. This weekend, please consider volunteering or donating to people in your community still rebuilding from the storm:
Director, Manufacture New York