Audio Portrait: Gowanus Activist by Jamie Courville

Audio portrait of F.R.O.G.G member Linda Mariano. Listen here.
 Audio portrait artist Jamie Courville says that "I like to record the voices and faces of people who are seldom heard and strive to get them to places where they will be."
She recently  produced a piece focusing on one of F.R.O.G.G founders Linda Mariano.
What is F.R.O.G.G you ask? F.R.O.G.G stands for Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus, a Brooklyn community activist group who act as a watch dog for environmental issues in the Gowanus Corridor. A few years back F.R.O.G.G led a huge campaign to helped in part to get the Gowanus Superfunded. In the past month most of FROGGs prophesies have come true with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. FROGG uses science as a barometer and has been talking about sea levels, climate change, flooding and water contamination in response to future development plans on the shores of the Gowanus for years. Developers like to depict them as "environmental crazies" but I think that they are the sanest people around.  
Please click here to listen.
 Jamie has other audio portraits of people that you can listen to on her website. Go to it here.


Coney Island 5 days after Hurricane Sandy

American Suds, Mermaid Avenue.

I went out to Coney Island today with some friends who were transporting donations of  food, coats and baby items. These are some photos of what I saw. To me the thing that makes Coney Island such a special place is how no matter how urban it's side streets are you can never get away from how Mother Nature is really the one who owns the place even without Hurricane Sandy. So excuse me if these photos seem to jump back from the streets to the beach but that's Coney.

Garbage has not seemed to have been picked up in a while on Mermaid Avenue.
The Coney Island Pier is still standing but will need some help eventually.
Volunteers cleaning the beach area at Coney Island.
Window with food on the sill at the Warbasse Houses which houses thousands of elderly and still does not have power. Many volunteers showed up today to climb over 20 flights of stairs to check on residents and to donate supplies.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz at the FEMA staging area in Coney Island.
Coney Island residents waiting for supplies at FEMA staging area.
Getting water from fire hydrants which will probably have to carried up many flight of stairs.
The sand came up from the beach a couple blocks past Surf Avenue! Frightening!
Sand on the boardwalk. Volunteers were shoveling it back to the beach.

Coney Island will rise again but will be needing help for quite some time. I heard people say that power may not be on until NOVEMBER 10th!  That's another week of no heat, no hot water, no elevators and a whole lot of stress. And it is COLD there. Donations most needed are blankets, coats, flashlights, powerstrips, BABY ITEMS such as diapers, wipes, boxed milk, pediasure as well as insure, first aid items, cleaning items and non perishable food. There are no markets for these people to shop in right now.

Click here to see where you can drop off donations or donate manpower to not only Coney Island but all the communities in NYC that have been hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.