Tag Archives: Frankenstorm

Guest Blog: What I Learned Volunteering In Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath

Today my journalist friend Brett Schweinberg shares his experience volunteering in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath on Staten Island. It’s been a month since Sandy hit. Many people in the area Brett visited remain in need. Learn how you can help here.

I journeyed to Staten Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy feeling uneasy about my reasons for the trip. The plan called for two neighbors and I to drive from Chicago on Friday night after work, volunteer on Saturday and Sunday, and drive through the night Sunday to get home in time for work on Monday.

On the 13-hour car ride in, my travel companions and I wondered aloud whether the money we were spending on gas and lodging would be better spent through any of the dozens of organizations collecting for the relief effort. I feared a shameful sort of voyeurism drove my desire to volunteer as much as a true desire to help.
Between the thrill of participating in a relief mission, the fun associated with driving halfway across the country and the incessant praise I received from friends and family, I worried I might be gaining too much from what was supposedly a selfless act.

What I found once I arrived in Staten Island erased my doubts.

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Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100: “Frankenstorm”


This is the 13th installment of Cajun Tomato‚Äôs NYC 100, a daily series chronicling my experiences and observations as a new New Yorker. I am using the term “daily” loosely, I admit.

The first time I saw the phrase “Frankenstorm” I thought the media was referring to former “Saturday Night Live” funnyman and current U.S. Sen. Al Franken. Like, Al Franken had whipped up a ruckus about someone or something. It seemed like a New York Post-style phrase. This is how my mind works. I was wrong of course.

When I learned “Frankenstorm” referred to the convergence of a hurricane with an arctic blast, and therefore was unrelated to the senator, I laughed. I might have yawned too. I’ll leave the freakout to New Yorkers.

As a south Louisiana native who has weathered more hurricanes than I can count, I find it hilarious how New Yorkers are bugging out about the so-called “Frankenstorm”. To them, it’s like the Zombie Apocalypse meets The Perfect Storm.

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