Alliance for Response | NYC
Cultural Heritage Disaster Preparedness & Response
Alliance for Response works within the NYC art community to strengthen disaster preparedness and response capabilities through training opportunities, local planning efforts, and improved dialogue and partnerships. The Alliance serves as a conduit for information from the New York City Office of Emergency Management, and helps those affected to find assistance.
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Prepared by Faye Rosenbaum (General Manager, Martha Graham Dance Company)
The morning after Superstorm Sandy made landfall in New York I received the text, “Basement under water.” I inhaled deeply, “What do you mean by under water.” Six excruciatingly long hours later I received the response, “Six feet.”
My heart sank, my stomach flipped, and head spun. Eighty-six years…eighty-six years of costumes, sets, props, theatrical equipment and a large number of paper archives. Costumes worn and designed Martha Graham herself and by fashion luminaries such as Halston, Oscar de la Renta, and Donna Karan. Original sets and jewelry by sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The worst was not knowing. Not knowing whether everything was washed away, damaged beyond repair, or simply sitting in the noxious stew of solvents and chemicals that usually reside in basements along with water from the Hudson overflowing its banks.