December 4, 2012

December Issue Editor’s Note


Looking back and moving forward after Hurricane Sandy.

By Eric Messinger


The editor's children and a friend who hosted a bake sale to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims.

New York Family is part of Manhattan Media, which publishes a variety of local publications and employs around 100 people. In late October, some of us were only grazed by Hurricane Sandy, some were hit very hard. Thankfully, no one died. Homes were damaged, but not destroyed. People were out of power for weeks, alternating between cold nights at their homes and warmer ones staying with family and friends. One of our employees lives down the block from the great leaning crane. I feel like some of our homeowners have been sparing us the worst of their travails, but we can feel their strain.

Located below 34th Street, our office was closed for a week while we waited for the downtown grid to power up. Remarkably, a few of our colleagues at the community newspapers managed to gather at the Brooklyn apartment of our head of production and put out their publications only a few days after the storm.

Living on the Upper East Side, my family and I were one of the lucky ones. All we had was a frightful night and side streets that lost some trees. As soon as I could, I got out to Brighton Beach and Coney Island, where I grew up, to visit a cousin whose basement apartment had been knee-high in water during the surge. Though I didn’t do anything heroic, that day had a surprisingly powerful effect on me. Once I saw what even a little help could do, I did more—and along with my co-workers at New York Family—I also tried to make sure the publication did its part as a voice of hope and helpfulness, using our website and social media platforms to get out the word on good volunteering, donor opportunities, and resources for people affected by Sandy.

Our commitment to helping families and others in the long wake of Sandy is ongoing, and our coverage in this issue represents a balance between looking back and moving forward. For families still feeling ripples of anxiety or worse, we have a good story about talking to children about fiercely destructive weather. We also have a very good list of organizations at the formal and informal forefronts of Sandy relief that are going to need your help and support as we head into winter.

After seeing what New Yorkers were capable of in the wake of 9/11, I have not been surprised by the vast outpouring of help that has risen up to meet the emotional and material devastation caused by Sandy. Where there is hope, there is resilience, and where there is resilience, there is hope. In this issue, we offer five vignettes of people (including children) who went above and beyond to help their neighbors.

The remaining part of our Sandy coverage features five questions that I’m sure are on the minds of many readers, ranging from safety preparedness in the future to (my favorite part) a call to serve, in which the incredible spirit of generosity and community that has electrified our city since the hurricane somehow becomes a tangible part of who we are and how we live in normal times—or “the new normal.” As we head into the New Year, I hope this issue inspires you to consider these five questions and compare your thoughts with the answers we received from politicians, spiritual leaders, and others.

Beyond Sandy-related stories, this issue is also full of lots of other good stuff you’d expect from a family magazine, with winter fun on the brain. I encourage you to enjoy it all.

I myself would like to take advantage of these last lines to thank my main co-workers at the magazine—Whitney Harris, Christine Wei, and George Widmer on the edit side; and John Hurley, Mary Ann Oklesson, Gina Waldman, Laura Mishkin, and William Pecover on the business side—for their good work and pleasant company. As Sandy reminded us, we all have a lot to be thankful for, and for me you’re all a part of that.

Eric Messinger
Editor, New York Family
emessinger@manhattanmedia.com

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