Well, I’m just going to say it. Hurricane Sandy, you have really sucked.
I am a girl who was born and raised in Long Island and the devastation that has hit my island, along with all those who lost their entire lives and homes due to this freak/unforgiving storm has been nothing short of heart breaking. Spending my life on this island and seeing my childhood washed away and having two of my best friends lose everything they have minus their lives is something I never thought I would ever see- not in my lifetime or even the lives of my great grandchildren did I ever expect to see this level of disaster.
Earlier this summer, I went down to Long Beach to shoot images of those closest to me who inspired certain pieces in my collection which included my parents (my father who at the time had an LVAD and now is still in the hospital after his heart transplant which he received over two months ago), my best friend Rachel (a two time ovarian cancer survivor), and also my best friend Dana who opened up a Yoga studio in June of this year in Long Beach which all but washed away during the storm in addition leaving her unable to reach her home also located in Long Beach. She is featured in my campaign modeling the Yoga Bag I created exclusively for her studio (the image attached) so please to anyone reading this and have the means, reach out to Yoga Palms Long Beach to help in the rebuilding of this studio or if you can provide aid in another other way please contact me and I will put you in touch with the owner. At the very least, purchase a yoga bag on my website www.celanewyork.com as a portion of the proceeds will be going to this cause. This storm touched all of us here in ways many who aren’t in or from the area in ways many cannot even comprehend.
The shoot used everything that is beautiful in Long Beach- the amazing boardwalk which now only exists in tiny slivers of wood barely holding or just completely gone for the most part and the landscape in general there has forever been altered; taking away a gem of the island which was a point of refuge and happiness for my entire life. Knowing that it no longer exists makes me look back on those shoots for the campaign and makes me so thankful that I will always have the beauty of those beaches and the community as it was at my finger tips.
At this time I’d also like to commend the community of Long Beach for not giving up or waiting for someone to come save them or start the cleaning up when a government agency decides they now have the time to attend to the disaster zone that is Long Beach. The community itself refused to wait and took it upon themselves to clean up and begin repair which to me is the definition of New Yorkers- if someone doesn’t come to help forget it. We’ll do it ourselves. I give major respect to all of you out in Long Beach because the initiative you’ve taken is absolutely inspirational.
As I sit in my family home in the center of Long Island I am grateful to have heat, power and spotty internet service. I am luckier than a majority of this island and my heart is with every single one of you affected by this storm.
In addition, PLEASE DO NOT FORGET THE ROCKAWAYS AND STATEN ISLAND. One of my very best friends lost his entire home as well and was left homeless after this horrid storm so much so that he has not even been allowed to return to assess the damage or retrieve belongings. It’s been 12 days.
Lastly, if you are in or outside of New York please also visit the Cela New York website at www.celanewyork.com because considering all of my products are made in New York and those in my factory who are practically family to me are from Jersey and also hit massively by this storm please help create business so that they may stay afloat as well.
All the people I spoke about above need help. Long term help because this situation is not going to be back to any sort of relative normalcy for quite a long time. If you are outside of New York I am asking for you to do what you can to help. Every bit counts. Contact local shelters in the areas hit the hardest as well as business owners in those areas and see what you can do to help. Now is the time to help and we all thank you for whatever you can manage to do or give. Please spread the word that this isn’t over. Thank you all for your time and Long Beach, Long Island, The Rockaways, Staten Island, BX, BK, NJ, CT I am with you all the way and hope you get all the help you need immediately.
With a heavy heart but a hopeful soul,
LOVE YOU ALL ALWAY- K