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Hear and Share Your Hurricane Sandy Stories with Sandy Storyline's Exhibit

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Photograph courtesy of Sandy Storyline; Photographer - Sara Baicich

In recognition of the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, The New York Public Library is partnering with Sandy Storyline to present an opportunity to hear and share first person stories of recovery and remembrance, beginning at Mid-Manhattan Library on Monday, October 27.  

How are you doing two years after Sandy? What do you remember from the storm? What have you lost, and what have you gained? How are neighborhoods changing? What lessons do we need to learn for the future?  

Sandy Storyline’s original, interactive display will provide a space for patrons  to contribute cell phone images of the storm and ongoing recovery. They can also listen to a selection of firsthand accounts that have been submitted to Sandy Storyline over the last two years. Residents are also encouraged to share their own images, words and videos online at sandystoryline.com.

Sandy Storyline is an award winning participatory documentary that has been collecting and sharing stories about the impact of Hurricane Sandy since shortly after the storm made landfall. The project features audio, video, photography and text stories—contributed by residents, citizen journalists, and professional producers—that are shared through SandyStoryline.com and interactive exhibitions. Their most recent exhibit won the Tribeca Film Festival Award for Transmedia in 2013.

The diversity of experience within collective memory of shared events is something we’ve witnessed in the Library’s own continuing initiative, the Community Oral History Project. Sandy Storyline's work in building a more complete, community-generated narrative of Hurricane Sandy through the many stories of those who were affected by it, also fits well within the Library’s own mission to strengthen the city’s communities.

"At a moment when it is necessary to fully understand the ongoing impact, and to face our new reality in a changing climate, it is critical that everyone who experienced Sandy have an opportunity to participate in how this story is told and remembered,” said Rachel Falcone, co-founder of Sandy Storyline.

At Mid-Manhattan Library

Sandy Storyline's interactive display will first be stationed from Monday, October 27 - Monday, November 11 at the entrance to Mid-Manhattan Library, which has its own unique Sandy story.

Immediately after the storm, Mid-Manhattan Library became an emergency hub for New York City residents, where they could find community, technology, and important resources. When it reopened its doors to the public on November 1, 2012, just three days after Hurricane Sandy hit the city’s shore, 4,284 people came through the doors within a period of six hours. In the two short weeks following Hurricane Sandy, the door count at Mid-Manhattan reached 47,343.

Billy Parrott, Managing Librarian at Mid-Manhattan Library, remembers those days and weeks after the hurricane: "Mid-Manhattan Library was on the border of the affected area. Much of lower Manhattan just south of the Library was without electricity for days. Mid-Manhattan Library was a safe haven where people could recharge their phones or just quietly read a book, where people could e-mail family members to let them know that they that they were safe, or to simply connect with new friends and neighbors. The Library was a community in the truest sense of the word."

Mid-Manhattan Library patrons are invited to share their own experiences of Hurricane Sandy, focusing especially on those recollections of time spent at the library after the storm hit.

At New Dorp Library in Staten Island

After November 11, the display will travel to New Dorp Library where it will remain for a month, inviting participation from Staten Island residents in one of the hardest hit regions. A two-day writing workshop in collaboration with Sandy Storyline and NY Writers Coalition will also be hosted at New Dorp as an opportunity for patrons to craft stories in more depth. There are plans for the booth to continue to travel throughout the upcoming year to branches in areas most affected by the storm.

“Public libraries are important institutions that are vital for the resiliency of our communities, and we are honored to be partnering with NYPL to provide a platform for these stories to be heard and preserved,” says Falcone.

For additional questions about the Sandy Storyline display at The New York Public Library, please contact Alexandra Kelly, Outreach Services and Adult Programming Coordinator, at 212-621-0552 or AlexandraKelly@nypl.org.

Chair in the ocean photo by Matt Richter
Photograph courtesy of Sandy Storyline; Photographer - Matt Richter

 

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