Posted on behalf of Luan “Jonathan” Dong, who is attending graduate school at George Washington University and interning for Greenpeace in Washington, DC.
When you tell your family in China that you are going to the United States for a Master’s degree, or tell your friends that you are going to New York City, you would never imagine end up being here.
Here is Rockaway Park, Queens, New York City. Assumed by many people to be full of summer resorts, Rockaway in fact has a significant portion of impoverished or isolated, if not homeless, residents. More shocking is the scene that greeted us: a scene of total devastation.
This is nothing like the New York City that I knew of, nor does it resemble any part of the United States that I have ever been. Rockaway Beach has been mostly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. And before Rockaway residents could even catch their breath, a Nor’easter was already here to add insult to injury. The storms have left many people dependent on incoming aid for food and provisions.