Hurricane Sandy Relief: Part 3

Over the course of the week I was serving around Staten Island, I put in somewhere in the neighborhood of 110 hours (including travel time). Needless to say, we got a tremendous amount accomplished in that time, but a relatively small amount compared to the scale of the problem. After the first day on Liberty Island the weather took a quick turn for the worst (New York City residents might recall the Northeaster that slammed into the city just a few days after the ocean calmed down). The snow kept us from returning to Liberty Island for a few days, and during that time we turned our attentions to Ellis Island.

While waiting for an assignment we found the comfiest place to relax, the conference room in the park offices on Ellis.

While waiting for an assignment we found the comfiest place to relax, the conference room in the park offices on Ellis.

Ellis hadn’t been spared during the Hurricane, far from it in fact, and as another american icon its cleanup was also a priority for the park service. There were two major tasks that needed to be addressed on Ellis (that we were able to deal with at least). First, the storm surge had entered many of the main administrative buildings on Ellis, and had destroyed literal tons of educational materials (mostly pamphlets).

Ok, these aren't pamphlets, but we did just about fill a dumpster with pallet after pallet of soaked (and ruined) educational materials in half a dozen different languages. Luckily, quite a few survived the hurricane's assault and were squirreled away somewhere safe to wait for the eventual return of tourism to the park.

Ok, these aren’t pamphlets, but we did just about fill a dumpster with pallet after pallet of soaked (and ruined) educational materials in half a dozen different languages. Luckily, quite a few survived the hurricane’s assault and were squirreled away somewhere safe to wait for the eventual return of tourism to the park.

Additionally, the storm had also totaled the trailers that normally served as the base of operations for the Park Police. The area around the trailers was festooned with scrap metal that had been torn off nearby buildings, as well as pretty much everything that the police hadn’t been able to remove from their dwellings before the storm hit. We spent days sifting through the rubble surrounding those buildings alone, sorting trash from salvageable material and eventually finishing what the storm started by demolishing the remnants of the trailers so new ones could be brought in from the mainland.

There were originally two trailers in a small compound here, no more.

There were originally two trailers in a small compound here, no more.

This trailer had held the kennels in which the Park Police's K9 units were kept when not on duty, we managed to save the kennels themselves (and the dogs were safetely evacuated prior to the storm) but the trailer itself was a complete loss.

This trailer had held the kennels in which the Park Police’s K9 units were kept when not on duty, we managed to save the kennels themselves (and the dogs were safetely evacuated prior to the storm) but the trailer itself was a complete loss.

We filled eight 30-yard dumpsters with debris from the storm.

We filled eight 30-yard dumpsters with debris from the storm.

The main buildings were a different matter entirely. We pointedly ignored the tourist centers on Ellis, there was another team dealing with addressing the mold that had begun to flourish in the historical buildings and we had more than enough to do outside the buildings.

We found all sorts of things in the debris surrounding the trailers, by the time we left we'd managed to sort most of it into either the trash or back into the hands of the police who had served on the island prior to the storm.

We found all sorts of things in the debris surrounding the trailers, by the time we left we’d managed to sort most of it into either the trash or back into the hands of the police who had served on the island prior to the storm.

We left Ellis Island considerably cleaner than we found it, there was still a ton of work to do, but we were among the first to be sent to respond there, hopefully our presence helped to get the ball rolling. Ellis Island is an amazing place (the main buildings are gorgeous) and hopefully it will be reopened to the public soon.

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Posted on January 23, 2013, in Americorps Cape Cod and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on The Boston Harbor Picayune and commented:
    Tyler’s Tales of a Nomad Biologist continue to impress us!

    Make sure to click through to Tyler’s page to read the whole article plus a whole lot more great articles!

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