Poles Share their Sandy Survival Stories
Polish-Americans from New Jersey to Staten Island to Manhattan shared their stories on how Hurricane Sandy impacted them, their families and friends, with the Nowy Dziennik. The story below was translated from Polish.
Hurricane Sandy swept across the tri-state area affecting in one way or another everyone in its path. Residents who were fortunate not to suffer physical injury certainly experienced moments of terror. Luckily the worst is behind us. Now comes the time to deal with the damages, clean up the mess and try to move on.
The Polish daily Nowy Dziennik talked to some readers impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
“I have nowhere to stay,” says Monika Kamińska, who lived in a nice, newly renovated apartment on Midland Avenue in Wallington, N.J., just across the street from the Passaic River.
On Monday night, she and residents of nine other apartments experienced some real drama. “The wind was roaring outside, it rained cats and dogs, on top of that the power had gone out. I lit candles and sat in the living room hoping nothing bad would happen. Then after 8 p.m. I heard loud steps on the stairs and then banging at the door,” Kamińska says.
Firemen came to order the residents to vacate their apartments. It turned out the wind had torn the roof off the building and rainwater started sipping into the house.
“I managed to grab my passport, a jacket and ran outside in my pajamas. I spent the night with friends. I do not know what will happen next. On Tuesday morning I tried getting back to the apartment to get a change of clothes only to find the locks changed. I was told the building administrators were supposed to find us a place to stay as we would not be able to get back home for the next couple of weeks. They need to replace the roof, dry off the apartments and repaint them,” says Kamińska.
New Jersey residents got a beating from Sandy. However, some residents of Manhattan, who also went through tough moments, talked about being lucky. “The wind tore the railing off our balcony and a fence on our roof. We had to get out there and secure it so that it wouldn’t fall down causing more damage,” says Anna, who lives in the Upper West Side. “Luckily, apart from that and a vent cover in the bathroom no other major damage was caused by the hurricane,” she added. […]
Polish-Americans faced a much worse situation in Long Island. “Many towns are under water, like Oyster Bay, Glen Cove, East Meadow,” says Grazyna Jarosz from Westburry in Long Island. “My friends who live in these towns came over to my place seeking shelter. Their properties are under water. Houses have no roofs and fences. It looks scary. One of my friends had two big trees fall right on her house, damaging it badly. Thank God her son decided to sleep in a different part of the house that night. Otherwise, he would have been killed.”
The stories from Staten Island, a borough surrounded by water, are equally frightening. “My friends Ewa and Darek and their two kids, who live in Paterson Avenue, are completely cut off the world,” says their friend Jagoda Sasak from Greenpoint. In a matter of a couple of minutes the water rose up to two and a half meters [8 feet], flooding their street, basement and then got to the living room. “When I last talked to them around 9 p.m. [on Monday] they were hiding in the attic of their two story house, which was surrounded by a lake of salt water, ” Sasak said.
Ewa and Darek tried saving their belongings by bringing them to the second floor. They lost their car and a motorcycle, the only means of transport that carried them to and from work. “They were stranded in the house without power, drinking water and now, without cellphones, because the batteries died. They are cut off,” Sasak told Nowy Dziennik and added that she was planning to organize a fundraiser to help their friends.