Editor's Note: YBNY will be cross-posting the writings of artist Kathleen Griffin, as she prepares what will be the third largest public art installation in New York City, "Butterflies of Memory." Edited by Joel Silverstein.
So I am hoping that you are doing well after the storm, and the snow this week. Just as it's effects where unequal, so too where the responses, and I guess I mean that in a good way.
I was out of town last week so I spent days checking in and re-checking in with friends about their status and whereabouts and dozens of people reached out to me - webbing together a story at a distance. Some were basically skipped, though mostly no one had power, one even had been out dancing on thursday night (yes that was Brooklyn). Several were out of their houses for the week or had their homes and all of their possessions totally destroyed by the storm surge, that was also Brooklyn.
Two friends have restaurants downtown that were in chaos and one friend is a florist who lost all of his flowers. Yet both of them, after seeing the destruction, gave the most right back, going to help cook at shelters. In so many cases, equal to the hardship and tragedy was the response, friends sent texts of where they were volunteering or pictures the lines of people they were feeding, volunteering as EMT's, others who had lost everything had so much strength and perspective, just happy for the safety of their family and the hope of insurance. Another friend who was in a hotel for the week was equally strong despite the real hardship of being displaced from her home.
And every call seemed to include the things that people had done or given to someone else, they had been all day helping a friend with a business, cleaning up someone's flood damage, collecting clothes, getting food deliveries in dry ice for a boyfriend.
Yes, there were stories of fist fights and jackasses, but that, like most NY crisis made me really proud of the strength of our city - our character. Of course we are people who ride in steel boxes daily, where the smell of our humanity is not uncommon to us. But I just wanted to say, that as always, you are the city that inspires me. You rise to everything that meets you.