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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid