Want to help NYC recover from the storm, but don’t know how?

If you’re here in person:

You can volunteer. NYC Service is the hub, but organizations like New York Cares also have projects in all 5 boroughs, and even have a special section of their website for disaster recovery. There are also great lists to monitor through Brokelyn and Time Out New York, which they’re keeping up-to-date and have opportunities specific to certain neighborhoods that have a lot of damage.

You can donate blood

You can offer a free service. Doctors are giving free exams and medical care; people are setting up charging stations through their fire escapes in east village; bikers are helping #bikesandy commuters commute through Transportation Alternatives. What can you offer?

You can respond to a need in a specific community. Chinatown, Red Hook, and Rockaway are some examples.

If you need resources, or have something to offer but are still not sure where, The Lower East Side Recovers is a great hub for connecting resources powered by OWS folks.

If you can’t be here:

You can donate. Cash donations to assist New Yorkers who suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy can be made to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. If you specifically want to aid in food rescue and delivery, donate cash to City Harvest or Food Bank NYC. To donate with maximum impact and reliable spending of funds, donate to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. For goods and services to donate, visit Aidmatrix.

Join an online mobilizing effort. New York Tech Meetup, for instance, is helping (in person or virtually) to restore technology systems for businesses, nonprofits, and government alike. If you can’t help yourself, you can tweet about it and share resources so more folks in need know what resources are available to them.

Be empathetic. Even if it’s just listening to a friend on the phone or shooting an email to someone who evacuated to check in and offer support, it goes a long way.

Think about climate change as more than just a fluffy buzzword. It’s real and deserves education, thought, attention, and action.

These are just a few suggestions! Please add specifics that you know about in the comments for others to see.

A final note: I am always impressed by the way people in NYC help eachother out. I love this city. It’s scary seeing so many people still without power, water, or shelter, and not everyone has the networks or fortune to have a place to go. Everyone should find some way to pitch in, because that’s what makes a community like NYC so great. The city is still home; let’s make sure a storm can’t change that.


[UPDATE 11/5: As information has been updating rapidly here, another great tool to find what still needs help today (and there are many!) is this, via The Awl.]

I’m not a huge fireworks person, though I do enjoy shared experiences with people in my community. So, on July 4th, I found myself happily on the roof enjoying a beer and the white noise of people on surrounding rooftops combined with the randomly distributed boom of fireworks in 5 different directions. Best of all, I was treated to a heat lightning storm and had one of those I-love-where-I-live moments.

This video is what grew out of it on a lazy, unplanned Friday night.

Umbrella Etiquette

Inspired by the rain outside and the severe ankle jab I received on the subway from a golf umbrella this morning, I present to you my tips for proper umbrella use.

  1. Hold the umbrella upright and tightly. The handle should be fairly perpendicular to the ground and centered on your body. This achieves maximum dryness for you and minimum water runoff onto other people. Of course, you may need to adjust for wind, but try to maintain a smart posture.
  2. Do not text and hold an umbrella. Do not drink coffee and hold an umbrella. Do not hail a cab with your umbrella. Just use your umbrella to stay dry.
  3. imageClose the umbrella before walking inside or down into the subway. If you don’t, you block the door and make it more difficult for others to pass. To close your umbrella properly, pull off to the side of the sidewalk (out of the way) and close as expediently as possible. Do not shake it out. Tie up your umbrella with whatever closure is attached to it or a rubber band if necessary. If you have a bag in which to place your umbrella, do so, and people will think you’re classy.
  4. Avoid sudden movements. When you stop short or wheel around suddenly, several things happen: water flies, people get spoked, and you anger people (especially those without umbrellas). You already have this luxury of staying dry, so make a point to not indulge in this luxury at the expense of someone else.
  5. Be conscious of the space your umbrella takes up. Open, leave enough space between you and others, even if it means slowing your pace to let others coexist comfortably. Closed, your new walking stick or swing-around-item can still very much get in the way, so hold it steady and pointed, again, downward so that it is perpendicular to the floor. If it is dripping and must drip on someone, deal with it dripping on you rather than letting the stranger next to you suffer. It was your choice to use an umbrella; this is one of the consequences.
  6. Rain or no rain, do not walk on the sidewalk next to your entire group. In the rain, be especially conscious not to walk next to more than one person maximum, because it is even harder for people to pass. Plus, there are often puddles that everyone tries to avoid, and if your group is spanning the entire sidewalk, nobody can appropriately handle that obstacle.
  7. If it is incredibly windy and rainy, forgo the umbrella. Get a little wet. Or, stay inside. Too many people fight with their umbrellas, and as a result, foot traffic blockages and flying umbrella parts are ubiquitous. This is an unpopular opinion, but the correct one, I think.
  8. A broken umbrella has no place in a city. It is sharp and dangerous. Dispose of it immediately and buy a new one which thankfully, you can do easily in a city.
  9. If you do realize that you’ve committed an umbrella sin, and it’s possible to apologize to the person(s) impacted, do so.
  10. Etiquette begins from the moment of purchase. Do not buy an umbrella that is bigger than you. It’s fine to pick between tall ones or the tiny collapsible ones (preferable), but it should be the right size for one and only one body. No golf umbrellas, or anything even close. Sharing an umbrella makes both people wet anyway, so if chivalry is important to you, carry two umbrellas or just give yours up. Also, try to get an umbrella that looks somewhat stable. It doesn’t have to be top of line, because you’ll leave it somewhere on accident still, but it shouldn’t break in the first 15 minutes of use either.
  11. Drop the attitude. It’s never positive to walk by people who are grumpy anyway, but if you have an umbrella and you’re angry, your umbrella shows it. It droops, it assaults, it gets all bent of shape. You forget the rules and don’t even apologize when you’ve made a mistake and bothered a fellow pedestrian. Not good. Figure out a way to enjoy the rain, at least temporarily, and move on.

Emily Post, as always, I hope I’ve done you proud. Village Voice, I like your thoughts on the subject, too. Readers, please know that I seldom use an umbrella, despite being a glasses wearer.

Think I missed something? Leave your tips as a comment.

Wind Map = Art + Science Data Visualization

This map, which is zoomable and changes periodically as new data is received, is the most sincerely gorgeous map of wind I have ever seen. It was built to be a personal art project, but is also fairly accurate. What an amazing power our country has to use wind for energy; it’s such a rich resource!

The self-described technologists also have done other projects employing visualizations to reshape data into accessible forms.

Did You Know? Groundhogs do more than just predict weather

This morning, Punxsutawney Phil predicted more winter (not so bad, considering the insanely mild winter we’ve had so far). Even though Phil should keep his job, other groundhogs have been contributing to science. New Scientist reports that because of a disease common in groundhogs that resembles the human hepatitis B, they are able to lend insight into possible liver cancer treatment and vaccines.

My buddy Elisabeth captured this awesome photo. Her caption is below.

I went to the winery up the road to borrow some buckets for carrying grapes — my small contribution to the winemaking process is to harvest the smaller vineyard on our farm — and caught my brother (whose own contribution is more substantial, and subsidized) using a power washer in the morning fog.

A statistical fact. A statistical question.

The New York Yankees just became the FIRST TEAM IN HISTORY to hit three grand slams in one game! That’s a pretty incredible feat.

Will New York City also become the FIRST CITY IN HISTORY to experience an earthquake, hurricane, and tornado in one week? That, too, would be a pretty incredible feat. And panic would certainly ensue. And I might give more credence to all this silly apocalypse talk crazing the nation.

Have fun, fact checkers!