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2012: Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy wrought a path of devastation all up and down the East Coast, and Red Hook was not among the neighborhoods that were spared. In fact, the damage wrought in Red Hook is still felt strongly a month later. Businesses that had quickly become neighborhood institutions—like Fairway—were completely destroyed and have to re-build from nothing. Other businesses without the funds of a Fairway lost their entire inventory and private homes were utterly destroyed. The Red Hook Houses were without power or electricity for days and days, forcing residents to seek heat and hot water elsewhere. Schools and libraries were closed. Artists' studios were wiped out, all of the work destroyed. Clean water was scarce. As Red Hook continues to recover, though, it is important to look at the positive things that emerged as the waters receded. The Red Hook Initiative was formed and hundreds, if not thousands, of community members banded together to help each other with the clean up. For a community that had been dubbed "one of the worst in America" only two decades before, this can only be seen as a hopeful change. It will take a lot more work to restore Red Hook to what it was before the storm, but there is little doubt that the people who live there are up to the task.
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