My sister-in-law, her husband and their four boys (all under 8) are at present living with us, refugees from their blacked out New Jersey home. Around us, where power was out mostly due to the great number of downed trees, is slowly being restored. We feel inordinately blessed and secure.
Unfortunately, much of Staten Island is low lying swampland. The East Shore, once a vibrant resort community, is filled with old bungalows long ago converted to full-time homes. These small, fragile houses were devastated by the storm surge and thousands are displaced.In other places homes were smashed by falling trees or had siding and rooves ripped off by the powerful winds. It's a nightmare.
So right now I'm cooking for eight, reading crime books and watching to see what we can do to help once the immediate problems (broken gas lines, downed power cables) are addressed. I know my church has power and will be doing all it can. I actually trust the local politicians (from Staten Island, not citywide, ie. the mayor) to work hard to ensure the borough's not forgotten in the shadows of New Jersey and Manhattan.
It's going to be be a rough time and I suspect many of the destroyed houses will not be rebuilt. I also don't trust a mayor whose idea of an appropriate response to such devastation is to hold the NYC Marathon to do well by the borough.