Sandy Update: Stores Rebuilding, Bookazine Back
Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., which was flooded in the storm and hopes to re-open next Monday, has set up a PayPal donation button for its Sandy relief fund. As of yesterday, the tile for its new floor had been delivered and was being installed, and the new sewer trench had been dug and new pipe was being installed, too.
Bookazine, Bayonne, N.J., is operating again. Owners Rob and Rich Kallman thanked the many people who expressed concern and offered help. "We have received an outpouring of kind words and support from the publishing community. What has overwhelmed us are the hundreds of e-mails and telephone calls from business colleagues not just offering business support but anything they could do from a personal level."
They continued: "If hurricane Sandy was good for anything, the storm taught us humility and reinforced our faith in our great employees, publishers, transportation network companies and clients in New Jersey, New York, across the United States and around the globe."
They recounted that "our main concern prior to the storm was to close the offices, secure the building and power down our servers so there would hopefully be minimal damage. Our employees put in long hours last Monday at significant inconvenience to save a warehouse full of peak season inventory.
"Starting Tuesday, the day after the storm, when Bayonne was almost under water, we tried to reach the building. The bridges to Bayonne were still closed so we enlisted friends living in Bayonne to check on our offices. We learned shortly thereafter that the building was still standing and very minimal damage was found. Our parking lot, which floods at the slightest of rain, showed no effects from the storm. We were all elated.
"Most important we received word that all of our staff were safe. This was our first and most important concern. Many of our employees live in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Bayonne and Queens, which was most severely hit by the storm. Despite all the challenges we were faced, our CFO, Bruce Morgenstern, and staff accountant Daniel Silva worked above and beyond with ADP Payroll to make sure that they would personally deliver the paychecks on Friday for our employees. We are proud to report that 56 staff members met Bruce and Daniel at our facility. Lots of tears and joy were present."
The Kallmans noted that their the Brooklyn home of their parents, Irwin and Sondra Kallman, is now "uninhabitable. Both Irwin and Sondra have shown great courage and told us to 'hold your head up and think of the less fortunate.' "
The Argosy Book Store in Midtown Manhattan suffered damage from bricks that fell from high off a neighboring skyscraper--which created a hole in the ceiling that caused water damage--but the store didn't know about it for several days because access to the Argosy was cut off because of the well-documented crane collapse. Zack Hample, whose family owns Argosy, has some striking photographs on his Baseball Collector site.
Besides many books, some of the damaged items at the Argosy included original Acts of Congress signed by Thomas Jefferson when he was Secretary of State.
The Strand Bookstore, New York City, is back in business: power came back on Friday evening and the store reopened on Saturday. Strand's Jessica Strand (no relation) wrote that the store "made sure that their staff's paychecks went out to each of their employees whether by bicycle, by hand, by foot," using the "good Strand network of volunteers." She noted, too, that some employees live in the most affected areas of the city, and staff "helped each other, lending cash, couches to sleep on, blankets, etc., etc. It was a true testament to the community built over so, so many years."
The American Booksellers Association is back in operation and has information on how affected stores can be helped on bookweb.org, including links for private and government aid. The ABA's member relationship managers are already reaching out to bookstores in the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy.
The Brooklyn Public Library is helping with disaster relief efforts by sending bookmobiles to Red Hook and Coney Island with free books for kids, by collecting and distributing supplies, and serving as a charging station for electronics.
First Book, which promotes reading among children of low-income families, has opened a relief fund to provide books to schools and families affected by Hurricane Sandy, the Daily News reported. For every $2.50 donation, First Book will give a new book to a child and match the gift with an additional books.
"Even as first responders are working to provide these families with electricity, water, and other critical resources, First Book is joining forces with our local volunteers and partners to replace hundreds of thousands of lost and destroyed books in schools and libraries in low-income communities," First Book president and CEO Kyle Zimmer said.