Just over five years ago, Hurricane Sandy brought four feet of water to our neighbors in Red Hook Brooklyn. As the flood receded, I grabbed two generators and a sump pump and headed to our local bar, the Red Hook Bait and Tackle, where the owner, Barry, was already dressed in a dry suit and wellies. Together with a few dozen neighbors, we began to clear out the flooded bar and basement. As the day progressed, many more came by to see if they could help, but there are only so many people you can put to work excavating kegs and cardboard. So Barry, bar owner-come community organizer, deployed the helping hands to the neighbors all around us. As that first day came to a close, the neighborhood gathered at the Bait and Tackle where without electricity, Barry managed a makeshift bar so folks could share a drink and a story and start to plan for the community’s recovery.
Throughout the following year, Barry and other small business owners became more than just shop owners. They worked together to raise money to help each other reopen, organized local politicians to respond to residents’ ongoing needs, and most of all, they made Red Hook a haven, giving a deep sense of purpose and place to those of us seeking it.
After the fires stopped burning in Napa and Sonoma Counties last month, and the smoky air in Oakland let up, I was brought back to that time in post-Sandy Brooklyn. Sharing stories with Allison Hopelain at Camino, of friends who had lost homes, wineries, and livelihoods, and inspired by the Red Hook crew, we cooked up a plan to bring together our communities in support of the folks who have been hardest hit. We are proud to be collaborating with Camino and Nokni to produce East for North, a benefit event this Tuesday 11/28. I hope you will join us.
Tickets include food, wine, and a raffle ticket. The evening will also feature a silent auction full of rare items and experiences like a private dinner at Zuni Cafe, dinner IN the downstairs kitchen at Chez Panisse, an overnight at the Scribe Hacienda, and much much more. More details can befound and tickets can be purchased at https://east4north.brownpapertickets.com/.