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Lauren Debellis | December 04, 2012
When Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast at the end of October, it morphed into a massive system that set residents and businesses in at least six states on a long road to recovery. Interior Design tapped into the New York design community to share some of its stories and ignite efforts to rebuild what was lost.
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“When Sandy came ashore, she brought with her about six feet of brackish storm surge and delivered it right into our Red Hook studio,” says Kavesh and Emrys Berkower, owners of Token, a Brooklyn-based design and manufacturing studio. “She trashed our space, submerged our machinery, ruined raw material, and destroyed our offices and showroom.” Donate here.
Over several days following the storm, Jun Aizaki, principal of Brooklyn-based Crème, and several of his studio’s designers teamed up with local surfers and staffers from nearby shop Pilgrim Surf + Supply and traveled to Long Beach, NY, a popular surfing destination. The group helped gut several residents’ basements in order to start the rebuilding process.
“While I and the other designers felt great helping people out, there remains much, much more to clean up,” says Aizaki. “At Crème we are very interested in exploring smart ways of rebuilding these vulnerable coastal communities to ensure long-term prosperity.”
David Stark Designs
“We had two of our events affected by Hurricane Sandy,” says David Stark of David Stark Designs. “One was to be held at the American Friends of the Israel Museum on Monday, the 29th, the day of the storm,” he says. “It was tough as vendors were ready, trucks were packed and we were ready to install, however, we made the right call by cancelling. In some instances vendors lost perishables. It was a tough time, but we are coming back, working together to find solutions and planning the event in the near future.”
Long Island-based textiles manufacturer Duralee was preparing to exhibit at Boutique Design New York when designer Lydia Paulo heard her company’s booth, stored in a warehouse, was badly damaged due to flooding. She was forced to come up with a quick solution. “Within hours of getting the email alerting me to our damaged booth, I had a new borrowed booth arranged, with furnishings, as well as a scheduled pick-up of our replacement goods for the show,” says Paulo, who herself was stranded in Atlanta.
“George Little Management (GLM), who oversees BDNY and Freeman, owner of the warehouse, really stepped up to the plate and offered all of these items free of charge to all vendors affected by the flood, says Paulo. "I believe there were 25 to 30 companies that were in the same situation as we were!"
Marlaina Teich Designs
Designer Marlaina Teich’s firm, Marlaina Teich Designs, is located Bellmore, NY, another south shore community of Long Island that was badly damaged. Teich’s newest client, a family in neighboring Oceanside, suffered terrible water damage. Water from the flooding destroyed the entire first floor of the home. “They lost all of their furniture, the kitchen cabinetry, all the flooring including tiled spaces,” recalled Teich. “All of the electrical and appliances in the entire house must be replaced due to damage from the saltwater. I had not worked with them people prior to the storm and we are currently working to help them rebuild.”
The New York chapter of Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH) was scheduled to hold “Eat. Drink. Inspire., ” a tasting event on November 12 with proceeds going towards scholarships for students in culinary, design and hotel operations. The event has since been rescheduled for December 10 due to damages suffered by Hurricane Sandy. “Canoe Studios, our venue for the tasting lost power and was down for awhile due to flooding in the building,” says Tara Mastrelli, president of NEWH New York and brand consultant, MBLM.
“We quickly decided to cancel the event and redirect our time and energy to relief initiatives including our version of an extreme makeover, to help a handful of restaurants and bars in South Street Seaport rebuild," continues Mastrelli. "We solicited donations directly from the industry show floors at IHMRS and BDNY and have designers, architects, vendors, trucking and warehouses committed. We also worked to connect hotels wanting to donate furniture and furnishings to neighborhoods that need it most, especially in the Rockaways and Staten Island. We have 300 liquidated hotel rooms donated to date, and are working out how to best distribute them on an ongoing basis with the Mayor's office.”