In the Wake

Current Exhibition

A Group Exhibition

October 29, 2022 - January 31, 2023

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, sending a storm surge over 14 feet high into the city’s southern coastlines, particularly parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and Lower Manhattan. By the time the thousand-mile-wide storm passed, 17 percent of the city was underwater, more than 2 million homes had lost power, and 43 New Yorkers had lost their lives. Ten years later, although the memory of this catastrophic weather event looms large in the minds of many, the weaknesses it exposed in our city’s ability to adapt to and prepare for future climate disasters remain largely unresolved.

The lack of progress made by the city was laid bare on September 1, 2021, when the arrival of Hurricane Ida triggered New York’s first-ever flash flood emergency. That evening, more than three inches of rain fell in Central Park in a single hour, inundating the sewer system and leading to the deaths of 18 more New Yorkers, many of whom drowned in the same type of unregulated basement apartments that had been the site of tragedy nine years earlier.

In the last decade, New York City has received countless warnings and wake up calls about the need to prepare for our climate future. In addition to the storms and severe floods that capture headlines, rising temperatures and increased urban heat island effect threaten the livability and well-being of our neighborhoods on a silent, every-day basis.

MAS hopes that by revisiting the devastating impacts that Sandy and Ida had on individual streets, communities, and families, these photographs help spur concrete progress toward a city-wide plan for climate change preparedness.

 

ten years later

It’s been ten years since Hurricane Sandy. At the time I lived close to New York Bay, in Boerum Hill. I remember taking a tape measure with me as I walked on Atlantic Avenue to the water, to see if I could measure something. I don’t think I was able to. Since then, I’ve moved further into Brooklyn.

I started photographing in Rockaway about a year before the storm. When I was young my family used to go there in the summer, about as far east as you could go, where the tip of Atlantic Beach made the waves so much smaller and less dangerous.

Now we have to worry about the waves and ocean rising everywhere. Many of the summer houses of Rockaway were torn down and Robert Moses built housing projects so that he could move poor people far away from Manhattan. In some areas the summer houses were removed and nothing was built. I noticed that after the storm, some of the least damaged houses were safe because there was so much more land between them and the ocean. And the more natural areas were able to recover on their own. And I wondered why people were even allowed to live right near the water.

When MAS asked me to organize this exhibition, I thought it would be interesting to revisit what happened and what we’ve done since. I remembered hearing people who were convinced it could never happen again. I also wanted to see what had been done in the last ten years to mitigate damage, to make the city more resilient, or to plan for our future. Of course, we know that more and bigger storms are inevitable and that the ocean will continue to rise.

In this exhibition, Accra Shepp and Anthony Hamboussi show us what the storm did, and Anthony reminds us that many of the city’s most vulnerable people have been pushed to the dangerous edges. Natan Dvir show us what the storm left the city looking like, and also followed up a year later to see how the landscape had changed, and how people rebuilt.

Since the storm there has been a planned retreat in Staten Island, which had the highest number of fatalities. The city bought many houses so that the land would remain vacant, which Robin Michals has photographed. Since the storm many buildings in Lower Manhattan have moved their power connections and equipment so they won’t go dark, as Alex Fradkin photographed in the days after the storm. Despite the on-going threats, there are also new buildings along the shoreline now, even as nearby parks are destroyed so that higher barriers (and new parks) can be built on top of them. Many went without power for months after Sandy struck. And Bryan Anslem shows us climate refugees uprooted by Hurricane Ida, a much more recent storm.

Freshkills, the former landfill on Staten Island, has become a park, and a place to experiment with adaptations for some aspects of the change to come. What plants will survive here? How can we address coastal flooding? Jade Doskow has spent time there and her work shows this land in transition. As part of an ongoing study of our water system I photographed sewer pumping stations. While much of the wastewater treatment system is gravity fed, some low-lying areas need pumps. Many of these failed during Sandy. Now all of them have backup generators. And many of the stations were completely rebuilt.

The climate crisis is here, and these small steps may help the city survive the next storm. But we’re not treating it like the emergency that it is. Of course, climate change is a global issue which will require serious action by all of us. New York can build lots of walls, but it can also lead the way to a more sustainable future. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing much evidence of that right now.

I’m grateful to all the photographers for participating in this exhibition and to the Municipal Art Society. It’s been a pleasure to work with everyone.

—Stanley Greenberg

Please click on the first image to view the exhibition.

Photo 1 of 62
Artist Statement from Anthony Hamboussi.
Photo 2 of 62
After Hurricane Sandy, West 22nd Street from Neptune Avenue, Coney Island Housing Projects series, October 30, 2012 © Anthony Hamboussi.
Photo 3 of 62
After Hurricane Sandy, Carey Gardens, West 23rd Street, Coney Island Housing Projects series, October 30, 2012 © Anthony Hamboussi.
Photo 4 of 62
After Hurricane Sandy, Flipped Shipping Containers, West 23rd Street, Coney Island Housing Projects series, October 30, 2012 © Anthony Hamboussi.
Photo 5 of 62
After Hurricane Sandy, West 31st Street, Coney Island Housing Projects series, October 30, 2012 © Anthony Hamboussi.
Photo 6 of 62
After Hurricane Sandy, West 31st Street, Coney Island Housing Projects series, October 30, 2012 © Anthony Hamboussi.
Photo 7 of 62
Between West 22nd Street and West 23rd Street from the Coney Island Boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy, Coney Island Housing Projects series, October 30, 2012 © Anthony Hamboussi.
Photo 8 of 62
Temporary boiler structure, Coney Island Houses, 3020 Surf Avenue, Coney Island Housing Projects Series, 2013 © Anthony Hamboussi.
Photo 9 of 62
Artist Statement from Accra Shepp.
Photo 10 of 62
McKee Avenue, Staten Island. © Accra Shepp.
Photo 11 of 62
Eltingville, Staten Island. © Accra Shepp.
Photo 12 of 62
Artist Statement from Alex Fradkin.
Photo 13 of 62
Dark Metropolis #10: In the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy © Alex Fradkin.
Photo 14 of 62
Dark Metropolis #15: In the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy © Alex Fradkin.
Photo 15 of 62
Dark Metropolis #16: In the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy © Alex Fradkin.
Photo 16 of 62
Dark Metropolis #18: In the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy © Alex Fradkin.
Photo 17 of 62
Dark Metropolis #21: In the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy © Alex Fradkin.
Photo 18 of 62
Artist Statement from Bryan Anselm.
Photo 19 of 62
Eileen Bendoyro poses for a portrait with her son Chris Nunez in their room at the Radisson Hotel JFK Airport in New York, N.Y., on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. © Bryan Anselm
Photo 20 of 62
Nancy Pico poses for a portrait in the lobby at the Radisson Hotel JFK Airport in New York, N.Y., on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. © Bryan Anselm.
Photo 21 of 62
Mario Gamino (left) poses for a portrait with Bibiane L. Chamorro (right) in their room at the Radisson Hotel JFK Airport in New York, N.Y., on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. © Bryan Anselm.
Photo 22 of 62
Francisco Carrillo poses for a portrait in the lobby at the Radisson Hotel JFK Airport in New York, N.Y., on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. © Bryan Anselm.
Photo 23 of 62
Artist Statement from Robin Michals.
Photo 24 of 62
Tire Swing, Kissam Avenue, Oakwood Beach, Staten Island, July 26, 2013 © Robin Michals.
Photo 25 of 62
165-163 Fox Beach Avenue, Oakwood Beach, Staten Island, January 5, 2015. © Robin Michals.
Photo 26 of 62
From Cedar Grove, Oakwood Beach, Staten Island, August 24, 2015 © Robin Michals.
Photo 27 of 62
Puddle, Kissam Avenue, Oakwood Beach, Staten Island, June 6, 2015 © Robin Michals.
Photo 28 of 62
Three houses, one occupied, Kissam Avenue, Oakwood Beach, Staten Island, July 15, 2017 © Robin Michals.
Photo 29 of 62
227 Fox Lane (left) and 221 Fox Lane (right), Oakwood Beach, Staten Island, May 26, 2022 © Robin Michals.
Photo 30 of 62
Rockaway Beach, B 108 to B 105, Queens, September 9, 2022 © Robin Michals.
Photo 31 of 62
Marian S. Heiskell Beach Grass Nursery, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, July 19, 2022 © Robin Michals.
Photo 32 of 62
Artist Statement from Natan Dvir.
Photo 33 of 62
Andrezeg and Lydia Rozoszak next to their home, Midland Beach, Staten Island, November 2, 2012 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 34 of 62
Andrezeg and Lydia Rozoszak next to their home, Midland Beach, Staten Island, October 09, 2013 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 35 of 62
Midland Beach, Staten Island, November 2, 2012 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 36 of 62
Midland Beach, Staten Island, October 09, 2013 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 37 of 62
Midland Beach, Staten Island, November 2, 2012 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 38 of 62
Midland Beach, Staten Island, October 09, 2013 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 39 of 62
Midland Beach, Staten Island, November 2, 2012 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 40 of 62
Midland Beach, Staten Island, October 09, 2013 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 41 of 62
Beach 94 Street, Rockaway, Queens, November 04, 2012 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 42 of 62
Beach 94 Street, Rockaway, Queens, October 14, 2013 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 43 of 62
Midland Beach, Staten Island, November 2, 2012 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 44 of 62
Midland Beach, Staten Island, October 09, 2013 © Natan Dvir.
Photo 45 of 62
Artist Statement from Jade Doskow.
Photo 46 of 62
New York City Skyline with One World Trade from North Mound, Looking Northeast toward Main Creek and the Greenbelt, Freshkills, Autumn 2018. © Jade Doskow.
Photo 47 of 62
South Mound, Early Spring, Freshkills, 2019. © Jade Doskow.
Photo 48 of 62
Irrigation Piping, West Mound, Freshkills, 2020. © Jade Doskow.
Photo 49 of 62
Fox Den, East Mound, Freshkills, 2021. © Jade Doskow.
Photo 50 of 62
Leachate Treatment Plant Rooftop, Freshkills, 2020. © Jade Doskow.
Photo 51 of 62
New Road and Stormwater Structure, West Mound, Freshkills, 2021. © Jade Doskow.
Photo 52 of 62
Artist Statement from Stanley Greenberg.
Photo 53 of 62
Seagirt Avenue Sewer Pumping Station, Queens, NY © Stanley Greenberg.
Photo 54 of 62
Bayswater Avenue Sewer Pumping Station, Queens, NY © Stanley Greenberg.
Photo 55 of 62
Rosedale Sewer Pumping Station, Queens, NY © Stanley Greenberg.
Photo 56 of 62
Commerce Avenue Sewer Pumping Station, Bronx, NY © Stanley Greenberg.
Photo 57 of 62
19th Street Sewer Pumping Station, Brooklyn, NY © Stanley Greenberg.
Photo 58 of 62
South Roosevelt Island Sewer Pumping Station, New York, NY © Stanley Greenberg.
Photo 59 of 62
Photo 60 of 62
Photo 61 of 62
Photo 62 of 62