News / USA

After Sandy, New Yorkers Give Holiday Thanks

Like many New Yorkers, Rashawn Austin feels renewed gratitude for family, shelter and other blessings this Thanksgiving in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's devastation. (VOA/A. Phillips)
Like many New Yorkers, Rashawn Austin feels renewed gratitude for family, shelter and other blessings this Thanksgiving in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's devastation. (VOA/A. Phillips)
Adam Phillips
This year's Thanksgiving holiday falls just three weeks after Hurricane Sandy battered New York City, leaving thousands homeless or displaced.

Rashawn Austin’s neighborhood was relatively unscathed but loved ones elsewhere in the city weren’t so lucky. For her, the awareness of insecurity and blessing are paired this year. 

“A friend of mine sent me a photo of a spot where we used to sit at Long Beach maybe three months ago. The spot is completely gone," Austin says. "I think this year a lot of people are probably looking at the fact … that I am actually sitting with my family and we are all healthy and everything is good…. You know, in spite of everything… it’s a positive thing.”

Among the travelers packing the city's bustling Pennsylvania Station is Sandra, an out-of-towner on her way to catch a train home. She and three women friends came to the city without careful planning. She's thankful they survived some unexpected adventures getting here. 

Preparing to board their train home, out-of-towners Sandy (second from right) and her friends are grateful they survived their unexpected adventures in New York. (VOA/A. Phillips)Preparing to board their train home, out-of-towners Sandy (second from right) and her friends are grateful they survived their unexpected adventures in New York. (VOA/A. Phillips)
x
Preparing to board their train home, out-of-towners Sandy (second from right) and her friends are grateful they survived their unexpected adventures in New York. (VOA/A. Phillips)
Preparing to board their train home, out-of-towners Sandy (second from right) and her friends are grateful they survived their unexpected adventures in New York. (VOA/A. Phillips)
"We rode in on Amtrak and we got dumped out in the middle of nowhere. Had no idea what we were doing," Sandra says. "We had never ridden the train and we were just looking around trying to follow the herd with all of our luggage. But we made it out of the train tracks, went out and got a taxi, rolled to our hotel, and once we got our bearings, we just rocked this city."

Up in Central Park, Jeff is having a ball listening to an ad hoc drum circle. He is thankful to be back in his hometown after 20 years out west.      

“And this Thanksgiving I am grateful for my beautiful healthy family that I am here traveling in New York City with," Jeff says. "We’ve been in Los Angeles 20 years, and we’re excited to show the kids the city and the fall and we’re having a great time.”

Jeff’s 10-year-old daughter has things she's thankful for as well.

"My family, because they keep me safe," she says, "and they make me feel special."
After Sandy, New Yorkers Give Holiday Thanks
After Sandy, New Yorkers Give Holiday Thanksi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

At a popular sidewalk café uptown, New Yorker Jeff Ellenberger expresses similar feelings.   

“I am very grateful for friends who have put out helping hands in times of stress.  I came in here and was in a very dark mood and in 10 minutes this guy had me going again.”

“This guy” is Bob Mills, who is thankful he left a dangerous drinking habit behind.  

“I am grateful this year to be sober," Mills says. "I am sober 26 years and to have redeemed my life through 12 step programs and fellowship. The people I love. The love I can give. My health.”
After brushes with the law, street cleaner Rafael Romero is grateful to have a new start in life. (VOA/A. Phillips)After brushes with the law, street cleaner Rafael Romero is grateful to have a new start in life. (VOA/A. Phillips)
x
After brushes with the law, street cleaner Rafael Romero is grateful to have a new start in life. (VOA/A. Phillips)
After brushes with the law, street cleaner Rafael Romero is grateful to have a new start in life. (VOA/A. Phillips)

It is new-found freedom, following a prison term for selling illegal drugs, that has Rafael Romero feeling grateful this Thanksgiving. He's now a street cleaner proudly working for an honest wage.

“I am grateful for just being home and being able to start a new life. Being happy and not having to look over my shoulder," Romero says. "I am happy that I am being a different person, changed, and I am just looking for a new beginning."

Liburna Deva came to New York from Kosovo to pursue a graduate degree. She also hopes for success in life, and, like many, is grateful to America for giving her a shot at her dreams. 

“It’s unbelievable that I am here for only three years and I can call this place home," Deva says. "That’s what America does to you and I am grateful for that. A lot. Yes, it’s going to a good Thanksgiving, a lot to be thankful for.”

Some of the thoughts of gratitude that Americans will be digesting, along with their turkey and trimmings, this Thursday, Nov. 22, Thanksgiving 2012.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid