Since Hurricane Sandy, the historic Belle Harbor Yacht Club in the Rockaways — one of New York City’s hardest-hit neighborhoods — has become an indispensable hub for supplies, volunteers, and a much-needed round of drinks. Three weeks after the storm, the oft-maligned Long Island Power Authority still hasn’t reconnected this building, not to mention its neighbors, back to the grid, leaving locals to face the prospect of a cold, dark Thanksgiving.But outside, the sun is shining, and three local solar power companies have seen an opportunity to bridge the gap left open by the electric utility. The yacht club, among several area buildings, is now plugged into a portable solar power generator, which frees volunteers from the endless gas lines that plague those dependent on traditional generators and leaves them ready to dish out hot plates of turkey and stuffing to the beleaguered community.This story was produced as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
James West is a producer for the Climate Desk. He wrote Beijing Blur, an account of modernizing China’s underground youth scene. After completing a masters in journalism at New York University in 2007, James returned to Australia, where he worked as the executive producer of the national affairs program Hack. He has produced a variety of Australian television and radio programs, including the debate show Insight on SBS TV.
Tim McDonnell is a Climate Desk fellow. Read more of his stories here or follow him on Twitter.