Day one in New York City

I woke up this morning with a mix on anxiousness and anxiety. I knew that within an hour I would be headed north on the Garden State Parkway towards New York City. I had never been into The Big Apple before, and I was excited to see the skyline, see the lifestyle, and experience, if only a few hours, the city that never sleeps. But I also was nervous about driving into the city, with its reputation for terrible traffic and crazy drivers. As I headed north up the Garden State Parkway, I knew this would be a day I would never forget. And I was right. Today was full of moments and images I will carry with me forever.

As I drove across highway 287 I saw a sign that let me know that traffic was heavy approaching the Verrazano bridge. 5 minutes later I saw New York traffic first hand as we were in wall to wall traffic. Semis whipped in and out of traffic like they were compact cars. People blew their horn for no apparent reason. And I learned that my brakes work really well as other vehicles cut in so close I thought I was wrecked about 68 times. 8 miles and 75 minutes later, I crossed the bridge and made my way towards Brooklyn.

When I got to Shore Drive and turned east, I was blown away. On every street there were flood damaged cars just sitting in the middle of the road. One home on Beaumont Street had a large boat sticking out of the side of it. The streets were piled up with debris, everything from toys to furniture to building materials. And when I got to Dover Street, where my first appointment was set, I saw a BMW hanging on a wrought iron fence.

I stepped out of the car and immediately noticed the amount of sand that had washed up into the community. It looked more like a path on the beach than a paved road. I met the first homeowner, agreed to a scope of work, and put the guys to work. Then she told me she had a friend that wanted our help too, one street over. I ran over there, and by the time I returned 30 minutes later, I had 3 other people in the neighborhood asking for inspections. I scheduled them for tomorrow, as I had an early afternoon meeting in  Queens. I headed that direction.

As I arrived in Rockaway Beach, the devastation just got worse and worse. Still without power, these folks had twice as much sand covering everything as Brooklyn. I had to weave through the streets to miss piles of rubble, disabled vehicles, and mounds of debris the ocean washed in. I met my homeowner, Mr. Esposito in front of his beautiful home near the beach. The owner of the world famous G Esposito and Sons Pork Store, Mr. Esposito greeted us with a smile and a look of gratitude. We discussed what we could do for him, and I told him I would work up an estimate. He thanked me by giving me a pound of imported mozzarella cheese, two tubs of home made pepperoni, two tubs of sausage balls, and 3 of "The Sandwich", for which he is known. I headed out, leaving the crew to finish the measurements. I needed to get back to the hotel, get a game plan in place, and call the boss. We need more people and resources if people are going to come to us in droves and ask for help.

Before I got out of the city, the crew called. They had been approached by 2 more gentlemen who want estimates. One of them wants us to do his house and his mothers. And then an insurance adjuster approached them and said he has scores of people who need help and would give us as many projects as we can take. It was and is wild. In twelve years of restoration and all the places I have ever been I have never had people continuously approach me to ask if I could help them. Normally we have to chase leads down. In New York City, they are walking up to us.

It was a day I will never forget. The crass New Yorkers I had heard so much about never showed up. Instead, they were genuine, welcoming, and asking for my help. And since that's why I do what I do, I am happy to oblige.

Day # 591 was good, and still good to be me. Miss the girl and my guys. But I love my job.

God Night Everyone..................

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