2013-02-01 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

First it was freezing in the teens last week - bad enough if you have no heat or no insulation yet or no first floor. Then it was snowing. Nobody wanted that. As snow was falling, forecasts were for mid-50’s by mid-week.

Then a “Rockaways-Hurricane Sandy News” e-mail update reported “a water main leak in Broad Channel, where oil and sand (is) mix(ing) with sewage.”

Crews doing major digging on the Boulevard backed up traffic all the way through the Channel. Work seemed to be finished by the weekend, but then there were two car accidents on Saturday morning!

Note: Facebook’s “Rockaways- Hurricane Sandy News”, “You’re Probably From Rockaway," and  the W12th Road Block Association’s “W12thrd.blogspot.com” have provided vital info re: getting help, giving help, important updates and homegrown relief efforts. They help us connect neighbors, help ourselves and help others in need.

Still, all this bad news is enough to make you reach for that old ‘times of trouble’ standby. Yes, a sense of humor.

And you can’t say people in Broad Channel and the Rockaways don’t have a sense of humor.

It has not been a barrel of laughs, but the following is gathered from conversations with friends and neighbors and observations made in our post-Sandy world.

Let’s just call it ‘You’re probably from Broad Channel if….’

…the power suddenly goes out where you are, and you are the only one not at all excited by this.

… you are still holding for FEMA.

… you always pack a flashlight in your bag.

… you and everyone you know has had the “Broad Channel cough”.

… you’re Broad Channel cough knows its cousin, the “Rockaway Cough”.

… after the storm you were wondering if the Legion and VFW would still be doing brunch.

…you’re driving a new car, but can’t remember buying it.

…you actually haven’t stopped driving since you rolled off the dealer’s lot.

…all the guys out front of Home Depot know you by name.

…you consider coffee a beverage, a meal and a heat source.

…you have a t-shirt that says “The Red Cross came to town… and all I got was this blanket!”

…you refuse to reset the “Home” destination on your GPS.

… you find yourself saying “Hello” and “Good Morning” to people in your new temporary neighborhood.

…you’re the last one to notice that the heat’s gone out, and frankly it doesn’t bother you that much.

… you look at the antics on “Survivor” and say, “Geez, what a bunch of wusses. They should come to BC!”

…waking up in a different house in a strange bed in a strange room doesn’t feel all that strange to you.

… you can navigate any shower system in the world.

… you’re still wondering if the BC ‘one-way streets are optional’ rules apply in the rest of the city.

… you find you’re getting along famously with neighbors the people you’re staying with don’t even know.

…you find yourself offering to help people, pull in a next door trash can, close and latch an open gate, and look out for neighbors wherever you are, all without thinking about it.

… you’ve had more meals at the American Legion than at McDonalds.

… you’ve done more shopping at the VFW than at Waldbaums.

… as bad off as you might be, you’re always thinking of somebody else and thinking “Gee, I hope they’re okay.”

…you are ready to haul off and give a piece your mind to anybody who’s got a bad thing to say about the Mormons, the Buddhists, the Sikhs, Texans and a whole list of people.

… you’ve put Raymor and Flannigan on your Christmas card list.

… you’ve become good phone buddies with any number of insurance, FEMA, cable and phone reps from all over the country.

… all these people now want to come and visit the Channel.

…you’ve got your salvaged barbecue and new charcoal ready in case you need to cook everything in your fridge.

… you couldn’t find your street because they finally moved the boat that landed there.

…you’re not too crazy about seeing a whole lot of water, even bottled water, in one place at one time.

…you are now an expert in communicating by cellphone, text message, Facebook, Twitter, smoke signals and semaphore if you have to.

… you were always an expert in spreading and receiving information by word of mouth.

… you’re still wondering how you ended up at a laundromat.

…you still can’t believe we all went through that.

…over the past two months you and the family have discussed whether to have dinner at the Legion, the firehouse or any number of food vans or street corners in the Channel.

… all your friends still have the dealer tags on their car keys.

…your first question to neighbors is “So, how’d you make out in the storm?”

…the people at the flat-fix place know you very well.

…a smile, a hug and a “thank God, you’re okay!”are the best gifts you ever got.

…the “Brooklyn Lantern” and wind up radios don’t look all that silly to you.

…“ No” is not an answer you’re ready to accept… from anybody.

…when your parents refer to ‘the Year of the Flood’, they’re talking about 2012.

…whatever faith you are, or not, you prayed for all.

…wherever you went in town after the storm, you were welcomed.

… wherever in the world you are right now, whenever people ask, you will always proudly say “Me? I am from Broad Channel.”

Standing offer: Send me info about your organization - what you’re about, what you’re doing now, how your recovery is going or even what you need. I will get it out in this column. Send that or any BC news to workingstories@aol.com.

Thanks for reading.

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