Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 28, 2012

Some Far Rockaway of the heart

Filed under: Catastrophes,Preparedness and Response,Strategy — by Philip J. Palin on December 28, 2012

So many others are giving such expert attention to the recovery from Sandy — and its implications for preparedness and response — that I have not found much to add.   It’s too soon to tell what will actually happen, but much that is being said strikes me as prudent, wise, even prophetic.

Reading the Times, Observer, New Yorker, Daily News, and even the Post — talking with friends and colleagues on return visits — I have been reminded how rough realism and real romanticism are coequals in most New Yorkers.  They know the City must constantly change, they are proud of their ability to navigate the constant turmoil, and they embrace most improvements with weary regret.

Some of that attitude — both resilient and adaptive, it seems to me — is captured in this poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. New York, here’s wishing you a Happy 2013.

–+–

A native-born New Yorker
I was from the Lower Inside
a part of town much favored by
addicts of the subjective
(a subversive group always being investigated)
as well as buddhists
and their lower chakras
and others seeking salvations
from various realities
virtual or actual
And losing track
of where I was coming from
with the amnesia of an immigrant
I traveled over
the extrovert face
of America
But no matter where I wandered
off the chart
I still would love to find again
that lost locality
Where I might catch once more
a Sunday subway for
some Far Rockaway of the heart

–+–

January 1, 2013 Update: There is a great companion piece to the Ferlinghetti poem — and a wonderful bit of post-Sandy reporting — by Michael Greenberg in the just published New York Review of Books.  Please see Occupy the Rockaways!

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2 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 28, 2012 @ 10:51 am

The response and recovery from Hurricane Sandy including Far Rockaway will not go well. Why?

A REVOLUTION MAY BE IN PROGRESS IN CONGRESS. SEE A FEMA ROLE NOT IN PROMOTING MORE AND MORE DISASTER RELIEF BUT IN FACT PROMOTING RESILIENCE AND FEWER AND FEWER DISASTER OUTLAYS AND HIGHLY STRUCTURED ONES AT THAT!

ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT EVEN WHEN MAKING LANDFALL SANDY WAS NOT EVEN A CATEGORY I Hurricane!

Comment by Peter O'Brien

December 28, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

Hey Phil, Thanks for the Ode to Rockaway. Connecting yesterday’s post with today’s, how about the Hecht poem, “It Out-Herods Herod. Pray You Avoid It”:

Tonight my children hunch
Toward their Western, and are glad
As, with a Sunday punch,
The Good casts out the Bad.

And in their fairy tales
The warty giant and witch
Get sealed in doorless jails
And the match-girl strikes it rich.

I’ve made myself a drink.
The giant and witch are set
To bust out of the clink
When my children have gone to bed.

All frequencies are loud
With signals of despair;
In flash and morse they crowd
The rondure of the air.

For the wicked have grown strong,
Their numbers mock at death,
Their cow brings forth its young,
Their bull engendereth.

Their very fund of strength,
Satan, bestrides the globe;
He stalks its breadth and length
And finds out even Job.

Yet by quite other laws
My children make their case;
Half God, half Santa Claus,
But with my voice and face,

A hero comes to save
The poorman, beggarman, thief,
And make the world behave
And put an end to grief.

And that their sleep be sound
I say this childermas
Who could not, at one time,
Have saved them from the gas.

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