Thursday, November 22, 2012

New York Is Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and while this holiday usually conjures images of succulent roasted turkey and the rowdiness of football and family, New Yorkers may have a slightly more sobering outlook on this year's festivities. In the wake of the disaster that was Hurricane Sandy, many residents of this great city may be questioning their good fortune and wondering exactly for what they have to be thankful.

To those displaced, mourning, or devastated New Yorkers, we here at the Wall Street Walks Family would like to personally take a moment to express our most sincere and heartfelt condolences, and while it is undeniable that we have felt the effects of Sandy on our business, we cannot begin to comprehend the nightmare with which some of you are dealing. We are certinaly trying to do our part to raise awareness of the devastation that happened in Lower Manhattan and beyond, and we have launched a series of  Sandy Benefit Tours the proceeds of which will be donated to the recovery efforts of the South Street Seaport Museum.

It seems to be a tried and true fact that when this great city is faced with adversity, its people inevitably join together and help in whatever way they can. Our efforts are just a small drop in the bucket compared to the city-wide (and beyond!!!) push to get New York back on her feet. All over, people are donating their time, goods, and hard-earned money to those affected, and that is something we all can be thankful for. 

We would like to acknowledge the ever-growing list of other businesses organizations, and individuals that have worked tirelessly since the waters receded. Obviously, there are far to many to count, but here are a few...

  • Battery Park City Cares, a local charity, coordinated the collection and distribution of blankets, batteries, and bottled water. 
  • The BPC Dog Association first made sure that pets and their owners were safe, then began collecting pet supplies. 
  • The Manhattan Youth put out a call for volunteers to man a bucket brigade and more than 500 people heeded the call.
  • Julie Menin, former chair of Community Board 1, organized a six-day volunteer effort of 300 who  who knocked on 9,000 doors, bringing food, water, and blankets to stranded elderly and disabled residents throughout Lower Manhattan.
  • The Downtown Alliance announced the "Lower Manhattan: Back to Business" grant program to support retailers, restaurants and service providers affected by Hurricane Sandy. The program will provide offers grants of up to $20,000 to small businesses.  See their press conference here.
  • Chop't,  The Diamond in Greenpoint, Park Avenue Autumn, Pegu Club, Meatball Shop, Sfoglia, Shake Shack, Rooftop Supperclub in Greenpoint, Battersby, Pies-n-Thighs, Tasting Table, and countless other restaurants have donated money, food, and goods as well as played host to various charity events. 
  • MTV has round up the cast for “Restore the Shore," a special that will air live from the Times Square studio. The TV network is partnering with nonprofit Architecture for Humanity and viewers will be encouraged to donate via text to assist with reconstructing the Seaside Heights boardwalk and supporting re-building efforts of businesses and residents in the area
  • NYC Young Professionals Group will donate proceeds from their networking event at the Lower East Side's the DL to hurricane relief efforts. Get on the guest list here. Admission is $20 and includes one free drink.
  • At Industry Bar, Ally Sheedy and photographer Mike Ruiz will host a fundraiser to benefit the , an LGBTQ youth organization that had its drop-in center destroyed by the Hudson River storm surge. The event runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets, which are $20, will be available at the door.
  • Lucille Roberts in Forest Hills will host a Zumbathon for Hurricane Sandy relief. Members and nonmembers can donate $10 for a 12:30 p.m. Zumba class that will be doubly worthwhile — all proceeds go to the Red Cross and other efforts.
  • Cubana Social has joined forces with the Hester Street Collaborative to assist the Lower East Side and Chinatown's elderly and disabled residents stuck in housing development by doubling as a drop-off point for donations (food, water, batteries, flashlights, generators).
By most accounts, even the ones hit hardest are still counting their blessings and acknowledging the fact that they and their loved ones are still alive. Many are quoted as saying how material possessions can always be replaced and, while devastating, their loss cannot hold a candle to that of a family member or friend. Some are even taking a break from the cleanup, demolition, or re-building of hard-hit areas to celebrate Thanksgiving and are using the time to try and forget their current woes and enjoy the company of the ones they love. And for the rest of New York spared from Sandy's full wrath, perhaps that sentiment can serve as a meditation on what we all really should be thankful for on this holiday.

From the Wall Street Walks family to yours - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!