New York

I’m flying to New York on Monday. The neighborhood I’ll be visiting — midtown — is pretty much back to normal after superstorm Sandy, with subways and cabs operating as if nothing happened. So I’m told.

But of course, something did happen, and the stories coming out of the Red Hook district of Brooklyn, or Long Beach, or Long Island, or New Jersey — they’re devastating.

Downtown Music Gallery, a retail source for so much great creative music, was miraculously unscathed. An email to customers this week reported no flooding, despite the fact that it’s in a basement location pretty far downtown.

Brooklyn-based New Amsterdam Records, a fresh young record label for modern classical music, wasn’t so lucky. The nonprofit lost most of its CD catalogue — tragic because the CDs were technically on loan from the artists themselves. Worse, they’d spent six months preening and scrubbing their happy new home, only to see all the work ruined by four feet of toxic floodwater. Their plea for contributions is heartbreaking.

It’s going to be strange working in a business-as-usual manner knowing that such troubles are a stone’s throw away. My colleagues in New York are moving heaven and earth just to make this work function happen, and I owe it to them to show up and do my job right. But the little luxuries — afternoon espresso, wine with dinner — are going to feel awkward.

By the way, I am not a Brooklyn authority, and I know there are sob stories worse than New Amsterdam’s. It’s their devotion to the music and the DIY nature of their operation that makes me feel for them. The photo above is from their Flickr stream, which tells quite a tale.

On the plus side, the people I know in NYC seem to have made it without much serious damage, and with no harrowing tales of food shortages or flooded rooms. At least some Brooklyn venues, such as IBeam, escaped tough fates too. For these things, I’m grateful.

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