that find: a picture worth 1000 words

My relationship with photography began with a desire to show people a world beyond their own. Though clichéd, I believe in the statement that a “picture is worth a thousand words”. The image has an ability to bring an outside world in, to confront the viewer with a world unknown or inaccessible. While words can describe, the photograph actually shows and the power of truth that is associated with photography is an undeniable force.

October 29th, 2012 was for most of the world, a normal Monday. Workers streamed into respective offices like clockwork, children went to and returned from school, Halloween preparations continued and otherwise regularly scheduled daily activities went off without a hitch. October 29th, 2012 to New York City and the surrounding area, is a day we will not soon forget. That night, Hurricane Sandy touched down on shore and brought with her an imposing amount of damage and a darkness that would loom over the invincible City through the end of the work week.

Much of Manhattan was spared the extensive damage that our neighboring boroughs and states experienced and continue to experience. The ConEd plant on the far Eastern end of 14th Street seemed to take on the brunt of the boroughs Sandy wrath. An explosion of the transformer at the plant plunged the lower half of Manhattan into a silencing darkness that succeeded in forcing the effervescent city to stand still.

I was one of the many “SoPo” (south of power) residents who was left in the dark and subsequently made my way to refuge uptown. With what seemed as if my whole world turned on its’ head I was shocked to see a lively Upper East Side with buzzing activity being carried out on every corner and in every shop. While half of the city was literally paralyzed, the other half was in full bloom. My social media outlets echoed the same disparate living. Friends scattered through the U.S. and abroad continued on with life as they knew it, images of Halloween parties adjacent to Sandy coverage on my Facebook newsfeed. The power outage exposed the great divide between the routine and the fantastic, between a life continuing on as normal and one that virtually stopped.

photo taken by Iwan Baan for New York Magazine on October 31st, 2012
© Iwan Baan 2012

I can sit here and describe to you the contrasting existence of Manhattan last week. But going back to the power of an image, I think Iwan Baan is able to capture an adversity words can not describe.


It may seem as if New York City is past the ravage of Sandy but that is unfortunately not the case. Many neighborhoods are left in the dark and many residents of both New York and New Jersey are still without basic necessities. Luckily, you can still participate in Sandy relief efforts. Below are a few ways you can help provide assistance to those that need it.

1. Text “REDCROSS” to 909-99 to donate $10 to the organization’s Hurricane Sandy relief fund. Donation will be billed on your next cellphone bill.

2. The Brooklyn Brewery’s party to celebrate the launch of their (appropriately named) new brew There Will Be Black will contribute to relief efforts. Additional monetary and supply donations are much appreciated and encouraged.

3. Drop the “Sandy 15” and contribute to the cause at the same time. Through November 9th Chop’t will reward those who donate with a free drink or snack.

4. The power is in the hands of our youth and the NYC Young Professionals group is rising to the occasion, donating proceeds from their November 9th networking event to relief efforts. To help your networking status and others in need at the same time, click here to register for the event. Tickets are $20 and include a drink.

5. Sandy’s kept us cooped up indoors for long enough. Get moving on November 11th with Lucille Robert’s Zumbathon for Hurricane Sandy Relief.  Both members and non-members are encouraged to donate $10 to join the 12:30 class, all proceeds from which will go to the Red Cross and other relief efforts area wide.

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