Nov 6: Salmagundians Survive Superstorm Sandy and its Aftermath

View north from the stoop of 47 Fifth Avenue post-Sandy

(By Mitch Kahn)

After reaching out to Salmagundians who live in areas particularly affected by Sandy to see how they fared, I thought I’d share their replies with the general membership which has been so concerned. The majority of these tales came in via email, with the rest copied over from the SCNY Facebook Roundtable Group. In many cases situations have improved as infrastructure is slowly repaired. As I hear back from other members, I’ll add their stories to this post. Thanks to Beth Kurtz and Karen Loew for forwarding their lists of organizations and foundations that offer aid and information to artists affected by the storm. Be sure to check the additional stories told in the comments following this article.

Thanks Mitch for your concern. We had to evacuate bc I live a block from the Atlantic and 2 from the bay. We’re @ my son’s in NJ and are ok physically BUT the ocean met the bay which means my house and basement as other homes are flooded – my studio is my whole basement sooo that sucks and the bridges and tunnels for me to get home to access the damage are closed. Also there were many fires in my area … living in Belle Harbor/Breezy Point may now have not been the best decision in my life … just have to take one day @ a time and try and recup.
Patrick Antonelle, Belle Harbor, New York
We won’t be in for the next two weeks. Our house in Seagate had a lot of damage and we lost our car. We are currently using our friends email connection.
Jeff & Denise Berman, Seagate, Brooklyn, New York
Mitch, Thank you for your concern! My house has limited damage: roof is destroyed and water was 6″ deep in the basement and the garage. The ocean came down my street with 3 foot waves and carried much “stuff” throughout my yard. But my house will be fine and I am fine. My daughter and her family in Staten Island also lucked out and suffered no damage to their home or to any of them. I hope you and others in the Salmagundi family fared as well.
Alexandra Martin, Belmar, New Jersey
Thanks Mitch. Most people have trees in their yards. We have one on our roof — but that is all, no electric yet but we are luckier than many.  Just sent a plein aire painting to the club. No gas out here, so am depending on Fed Ex.
Whitney B. Hansen, Sag Harbor, New York
Hi Mitch, We are OK…  We went to my sons house in Glendale, Queens a couple of days before the hurricane and the power stayed on. I’m going to stay here until we can get gas once we go back to the North Fork. Our Townhouse out in Long Island is ok. We lost power for about 30 hrs. And is now on. Hope it stays that way with the nor’easter coming our way. We are on the Sound on the North Fork but our development is up high so no floods. Thanks for asking. I sure hope all is well on your end! Best Regards,
Joe & Lucille Occhipinti, Riverhead, New York
Thanks so much for asking. Except for some water in the basement and a few days without electric, I did fine. Had to evacuate since I live near the water but was back in a few days. Hope all was well with you.
Virginia Aschmoneit, Westhampton Beach, New York
Dear Mitch, Fortunately I have been in Oxford, England since the 16th of October, I did not suffer from “Sandy.” My daughter, who also lives in Atlantic Highlands was without power until this past Sunday. No damage was done to our houses, but there was no light, heat any way to communicate by phone until she charged her phone on her car battery. Ferry service, which goes from our town to N.Y. was not running because the pier was demolished, and the national guard had to come in and try to restore power lines. Gas lines were enormous, and food was running out in the shops. At least in Oxford, it has only been raining every day since we arrived. The one day there was sun for about three hours, I ran out to paint….I’m not complaining, I know how lucky it is that I was here.
Marge Levine, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
We had a miracle!! Amid all the devastation here in South Jersey, (I am 15 minutes from the barrier islands) we had no power outage,  no trees down and not a drop of water in our basement!! But on Wednesday, after the storm, our furnace konked out. We are waiting for the repair man to come next week with an ordered part. But we have a fireplace that is keeping us warm enough. See—–always a good thing and a blessing! Thanks for asking, Mitch! Warm wishes,
Rae Smith, Egg Harbor, New Jersey 
We are without power here in Southern CT. No phone, no internet though as of yesterday we have cell phone service. Sending prayers and positive thoughts to all those in NYC and the boroughs who are still devastated from flood waters.
Jan Blencowe, Clinton, Connecticut
Thanks Mitch, We came through unscathed, I hope you did too.
Laurence Johnston, Bellport, New York
We are still without power as well. At least now they are starting to clear the downed trees and open the roads. It’s a mess. Hope everyone in NYC is ok…
Anne Kullaf, Lebanon, New York
Hi from NJ. I’m still without power, heat etc. but my home wasn’t damaged and I’m very grateful.
Andrea Placer, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey
I grew up in our house in Sayville (before renovation 3 years ago) so have a 45 year history of many hurricanes. Never, ever did the water do what it did with this storm. It came within 1 inch of entering our main floor. We are luckier than many of our neighbors who did not fare as well. Our crawl space with all of our heating/ac ducts/insulation/some elec. systems have been destroyed. Just got phone back late Thurs. along with spotty internet. Have no electric & the poles at end of the street are just a fallen, tangled mess. We are heating with a wood stove & have a generator for cooking/hot water as long as we can get gas. Most of the gas we stored in advance of the storm was swept away by the flood. So much for being prepared! Put firewood in our garage to keep it dry & the wood floated around when the water poured into the garage. But all in all, we’re really lucky. Thanks for all who have been inquiring as to how we’ve been!
Sharon and Bill Howard, Sayville, New York
No power still below 28th Street. Free showers to New Yorkers without power at New York Sports Clubs. Many are open above 38th Street. Saw Chris reading on the front steps of SCNY bc the light was better there!
Laura Ellis, New York City, New York
Hi Mitch, Thanks for asking. We actually did not have an enjoyable Sandy experience. We were forced to evacuate and wound up with 30″ of salt water and bay bottom inside the house. A mess as you can imagine. We are in the middle of clean up and replacing appliances and heating etc. Unfortunately, or fortunately I was committed to teaching a workshop this week in Virginia so I’ve had to take a break from the job. I did lose quite a lot of art books since I also had 4 1/2 feet of water in the bottom floor of my studio but luckily no paintings. Still without power as so many others are too. It’s an experience and we do have a generator as well as a place we can stay in Philadelphia  if it gets too ugly and cold. My parent’s home is in the barrier island town of Mantoloking which was a total disaster. Their home survived but about 40 houses were lost and the town is being closed off for up to 8 months so the infrastructure can be rebuilt. My siblings and I are being allowed in via shuttle van two at a time to take what we can carry out of the house. We’ll have about a week to complete any closing up of the home we can accomplish then just wait till next summer to get back in again.

House next door to my parent’s home in Mantoloking.

All in all we were quite fortunate compared to many friends and neighbors and I keep reminding myself of that as I toss books into the dumpster and mop up mud! That’s the long version! Sorry. I did pick up an 8 x 8 panel right before the sky fell and have a painting started but I really don’t know if I will have time to complete it by the new deadline. I’m sure you’re hearing similar stories (and worse) from others. It was such a huge system and so very many people have lost everything. Best regards,

Lea Wight, Manasquan, New Jersey



New York Foundation for the Arts: List of Emergency Resources

Joan Mitchell Foundation Sandy Assistance

The Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation – Emergency Grant

The Pollack-Krasner Foundation – Sandy Emergency Relief Fund

Artists’ Fellowship Grant

Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+)

Foundation for Contemporary Arts – Emergency Grants

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc.

Disaster Unemployment Insurance for the Self-employed

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Emergency Grants

U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loans



Chris Nunnally

When everything below 40th Street in Manhattan was affected by the  severe power outage, I must call to your attention what Chris did during the crisis that was way beyond the call of duty. Out of kindness, thoughtfulness and concern he walked to my apartment on 21st Street and 3rd Avenue to let me know that the delivery date for the Members’ Show was being extended. He could not reach about 3 or 4 of us by e-mail or phone and he made provisions to ensure that we were all reached personally by someone. I must tell you how much I appreciated the information and his concern for and dedication to the club members that were hit by the outage.
Bo Kass, New York, New York

Staffers Richie Cabral (L) and Ken Fitzpatrick (R) with SCNY bookkeeper Janina Perez.

Additional thanks to Richard Cabral and Ken Fitzpatrick for their willingness to guard the fort overnight during the power outage that followed the storm.
Chris Nunnally, House Manager, SCNY

5 comments on “Nov 6: Salmagundians Survive Superstorm Sandy and its Aftermath

  1. Laura Smith says:

    I actually went out the night before Sandy and bought perishables to cook on my gas stove, only to find that the stove and oven didn’t work once the electricity was out. The hardest part was giving my really sick 21-year-old cat 10 pills and 2 transfusions a day by flashlight…;.

  2. Hi Mitch,
    I’m in Munsey Park on Long Island and day #10 no power and long lines for gas….I don’t have enough gas to wait in line…. We were fortunate not to have damage to our home, but the neighborhood is severely damaged. Huge trees have damaged dozens of home severely, some condemned now. We are told not to expect power til Sunday……two weeks. It’s cold and trying….but we are so lucky. Set up my easel by the window in the dining room and have continued painting……I think I’ll title this new painting “sandy.”

  3. Carolyn Jundzilo Comer says:

    We are north of Boston, 12 miles. The ocean is at the end of our block, we are on a peninsula. Our little bungalow is usually safe from the huge nor’easters but this time about 12 feet of shingles ripped off our roof. But the big surprise is that the insurance doesn’t cover wind damage. But it was nothing compared to my friends in NYC.

  4. sherry schnepfe says:

    I feel guilty and grateful for living in Baltimore, Maryland. No damage in my area but friends along coast had some damage and of course power problems. we think about our neighbors in New Jersey and our hearts go out to them. Know several folks now visiting here from NY & NJ

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