October 1, 2023

Hurricane Sandy: What Was Your Story?

Hurricane Sandy swept through Long Island over the course of only two days, leaving behind a devastated population and damage that took weeks to undo. While some people had to deal with more hardships than others, there is no argument that this storm has had a major impact on all of West students’ lives. Many students and teachers at West had a lot to say about their own experiences during the storm and its aftermath.

“It was the single most intense experience in my life. Standing at my window watching the storm progress, first just leaves fell, then branches, next whole entire trees – it was insane. Luckily no one in my family was injured, and no trees hit the house; the only thing we lost was power, thankfully. It will be a storm never forgotten.” –Sophomore Eric Sabshon

“It was the most powerful natural disaster I’ve ever seen hit Long Island, and I can’t believe how long some people had to go without power. I got really lucky and we didn’t lose power for more than a few hours, but a few huge trees fell next to my house & pulled up the entire sidewalks with them. If they had fallen the other way instead of into the street they would have crushed my house.” –Sophomore Brandon Nomberg

“Hurricane Sandy made Dix Hills look like a warzone. Everywhere you looked there were trees and power lines down. It could have been taken straight out of an episode of “The Twilight Zone. As for my family’s experience, we lost power for 7 days, our house got down to 48 degrees at night, and we bundled up with tons of clothing. I’m glad that we’ve finally gotten through it safely.” –Junior Molly Ritter

“Seeing two guys pull out guns, steal all the gas, and drive away was really crazy and it just shows how difficult situations can potentially bring out the worst in people. I only lost power for two nights, so the storm didn’t affect me significantly, but I grew extremely thankful for my situation after I realized that I was one of few people that had power back. Once I told my friends and family that I got my power back, my house quickly turned into a hotel for a week, housing up to fifteen people at one point. I felt very grateful that I was able to provide a safe and warm shelter for many people.” –Junior Harris Durkovic

“I have read about and seen all of the destruction this hurricane has caused. I think I was very lucky, especially if I put it in perspective. I lost power for four days, but I had a generator. So many people lost their homes, cars, or family. I had a family friend stay with us for two weeks because she lives in Long Beach, where the devastation was so much worse. If you want to see the real destruction this storm has caused, travel to one of the coastal locations and you will see how powerful this actually was.” –Junior  Paige Botie

“In my experience with Hurricane Sandy I lost power for 8 days, but that did not matter too much for me because luckily I had a family friend’s house to stay at. I stayed there for all eight days, occasionally going back to my house to see if the power was back or if anything had happened, but nothing [happened] for over a week. I do feel lucky though that I only lost power for eight days and didn’t lose anything else because I know there are still people who have no power and even no homes.” –Senior Marty Levy

“I was one of the luckier few that only lost power for about 5 days. The night of, Elana and I had submitted our Common Applications not three hours before the power went out. The following week off [from school] I went to work, carpooling with coworkers because of gas, but whenever I got home we had to all use this complicated system of flashlights and lanterns. I would charge all of my appliances in the car or at my job, but for the most part I was unable to do anything after 6:00 because of how dark it got. I couldn’t have been happier when the power finally switched back on.” –Senior Lexi Weber

“I only lost power for 4 days because the electric lines for my house were connected to the fire department. However, I noticed that you don’t realize the importance of something until you need it the most. The search for generators was out of control, but migrating from house to house to take a shower was interesting.” –Senior Hana Park

“During the hurricane itself and its aftereffects, I felt that friends, family, and even the community joined together to support one another. I lost power for 12 days, so for people like me who were writing a college essay, it was [the] time extension that gave me relief.” –Senior Andrew Won

“After losing power for nearly 12 days, Hurricane Sandy really made me realize what a luxury it is to have electricity 24/7. A massive tree fell on my sunroom, but thankfully didn’t destroy anything but a few parts of the roof. Because of all the damage done around our neighborhood, we were barricaded in our house until a day after the storm. Next time, we’ll definitely be more prepared for a superstorm like this.” –Senior Sanjay Jonnavithula

“It wasn’t that bad during the hurricane because my family stayed at my aunt’s since she didn’t lose power at all. I lost power for 20 days and then it finally came back on November 18th.  The struggle was then over and we moved back into our own house.”  -Senior TediMarie Marotti

“Life was terrible. My house was 45 degrees and the only hot water I had was boiled on the barbecue. The only thing to look forward to was going to sleep that night. We couldn’t go anywhere because it was virtually impossible to get gas. LIPA did a whole lot of nothing to help leaving us out of power for 12 days. Overall it was a miserable experience. People were worse off though, and our prayers go out to them.” –Junior Travis Schwartz

“I got really lucky during the hurricane since I only lost power for two hours, but now all my friends are mad at me for not inviting them over to share in the electricity. I [actually feel] pretty guilty that I got to keep power and most other people lost theirs. I especially felt bad for all the people with actual damage to their homes and possessions, when all I really lost was a week of school. The hurricane was just a horrible thing overall, and I’m really sorry for all the people who were hurt by it.” –Senior Wasif Islam

“My family is very lucky to have a generator, so we invited family friends who lost power to stay at our house. Our experience was not bad at all, especially when compared to people who had no power for weeks or lost their homes. However, my grandpa, who lives in Long Beach, had a lot of his town destroyed. I visited him the other day and saw that the town was in very bad shape- garbage was everywhere and houses were emptied because everything in them was destroyed from flooding. Luckily, he lives in an apartment and did not lose his home, but the devastation caused by Sandy there was incredible.” –Sophomore Rose Bender

“I lost power for 8 days which completely isolated me from the world, had no heat in the house, but luckily had hot water. We stocked up on gas beforehand, so we drove around in our cars to warm ourselves up. Overall, I was really impressed at how people everywhere came together to work towards a common goal.” –Senior Abhi Kudaravalli

“I, as an average Long Islander, lost power for two weeks, which made my family come together in hard times like this. I found new ways of charging my electronics, and I also found ways to entertain myself by playing board games and volunteering to help others in need. In all this chaos we were reminded that we are not alone and there are people here to help.”  –Senior Javeria Siddiqui

“My family was extremely lucky during Hurricane Sandy. Our home didn’t get damaged and we didn’t lose any power, but seeing how badly other people got affected made us feel pretty guilty. We opened our home to basically everyone we know and donated whatever we could to people in need.” –Senior Jenna Giammalvo

“The first thing I have to say is that I dislike LIPA, since I lost power for 15 days. I would send text messages [to LIPA], and they would say I’d have power at four o’clock, but 13 days later…still not a fan of LIPA. I’m probably going to cut down more trees, because I don’t want to take any chances come future storms. On the other hand, it was really nice to see everyone in my neighborhood bond together and help each other out.” – Mrs. Lislevatn

“The storm did hit me pretty hard, but it was just a loss of a lot of possessions, things that can be replaced, so we’re okay. My heart goes out to the people who lost their entire homes and businesses, who have no job or place to go. For me it was an inconvenience, but for others it was truly a devastation.” – Mrs. Davidson

“I think it was nice the way a lot of people came together to help neighbors and family friends. Obviously it was a horrible storm, and I don’t think there’s anyone who wasn’t affected by it. Even though I didn’t lose power, I had a lot of family and friends whose homes had been significantly damaged, so I was glad to help them out.” – Mr. Caligiuri

“Everyone, as usual when there’s a disaster, came together and helped each other out, which is of course wonderful. It’s just such a shame that it always takes a disaster to bring people together. I think the good part about having something like this happen to you is that you get more family time: you have no television, no internet, no telephone. We cut down the tree that was blocking our car eventually, but in the mean time we played family games and spent time together. Trying to find ways to help everyone in need is very frustrating, because I like to help people out, and I found I couldn’t get to them them since I couldn’t get out of my own area. Helping them later on though, like by giving them needed supplies, donating clothes and money, and giving a lot of aid through my church made me feel better about the whole thing.” – Mrs. Grech

“We had no electricity for seven days, but I had to keep remembering – I still had my house and my family, so I did what I could to help anyone in need. It’s devastating what happened on the shores of Long Island, and the people who were displaced from their homes. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to handle something like this better in the future.” – Mrs. Woodworth

“While I felt an inconvenience by the lack of power for 12 days, overall it felt like such a surreal experience. Where I live, everyone was outside and walking around, helping and talking to people in the town. There was a lot of communication taking place. It is certainly very trying when it’s cold and people don’t have heat, but we learned how to improvise. It was wonderful when the lights came back and I could have cried with joy, but it was definitely an interesting experience. My whole family got to spend time together, and we started doing board games, doing all kinds of activities. I can look back at it now and smile, but it was definitely a devastating event for many.” – Señora Muñoz

“We were really lucky and didn’t really have any damage, but my only cousin who lives in Long Beach lost everything. Her apartment building was flooded, her car was found seven blocks away from her house, and she’s just devastated. Overall, my true feeling is that I never believed it could happen here in New York, never to us, not that way, not that bad.” – Mrs. Pfitzner

“I saw a lot of damage in my area; so many trees had fallen, along with telephone poles and electrical lines. I knew that it would take a long time to fix, but I thought about other people who lived closer to the water, and I went to their houses to help them clean out the big mess. What happened to me was nothing compared to what happened to them, and they’re still not in their homes. I was miserable, but they were worse off, so I kept telling myself that there are people who still have no homes, or heat, or a place to go. I just hope that they’re able to return to normalcy soon.” – Mrs. Salerno