Haves and Have-Nots Sandy vs. Santa: A Tale of Two Holidays (PHOTOS)
Hurricane Sandy battered parts of New York and New Jersey, leaving thousands displaced from their homes this holiday season. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the world has stopped or even slowed its Christmas bacchanal, notably New York City, where holiday planning continues unabated. The Daily Beast takes a look at the disparity.
Clockwise from top left: Getty Images; AP Photo (2); Getty Images
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, except in places ravaged by
superstorm Sandy. While most people have recovered from the hurricane's devastating winds and storm surge, pockets of New York and New Jersey are still reeling from the damage. Thousands have been displaced from their homes and lost everything with the storm. Yet, the extravagent holiday decorating continues apace in New York City. The Daily Beast looks at the disparity between the haves and have nots this holiday season.
The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is a holiday tradition stretching back 80 years. This year's tree, an 80-foot Norway Spruce donated by New Jersey resident Joseph Balku, will be strung with 30,000 multicolored LEDs on five miles of wire. And it will be topped with a Swarovski Crystal Star. The tree's lights
will remain on from 5:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. daily, except for Christmas Day, when the lights will stay on for 24 hours.
Hundreds of thousands of trees in New York and New Jersey
were felled by superstorm Sandy. In New York City, nearly 10,000 trees were uprooted, while New Jersey utilities reported that more than 113,000 came down across the state. The trees caused major damage—crashing into homes, power lines, and cars. Two boys were killed in North Salem, N.Y., when a giant oak smashed into the living room where they were hanging out during the storm.
Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images Window Displays
Shops in Manhattan, especially on Fifth and Madison avenues, begin
decorating their windows early for the Christmas season. Famous stores like Henri Bendel, Barneys, and Cartier start months in advance, laying out elaborate scenes for window shoppers to ogle. The windows often incorporate expensive jewels, designer clothes, and even motorized puppetry. No expense is spared, and each window feels more lavish than the last.
Sandy wreaked havoc on parts of New York and New Jersey. The storm's high winds and pounding rain destroyed thousands of homes and buildings, wiping out whole communities. Tunnels were flooded, cars floated away, and hundreds of thousands remained without power for weeks. It is estimated the damage
will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 billion.
Peter Foley, Bloomberg / Getty Images Black Friday
Retailers looking to jump-start holiday revenue
opened their doors even earlier this year to entice shoppers. Sears, Walmart, and Toys R Us opened on Thanksgiving night in case people were tired of eating turkey and hanging out with their relatives. Stores like Macy's stayed somewhat traditional, opting to open at midnight to kick off Black Friday. Black Friday was followed by Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, which saw sales climb by 20 percent compared with last year.
Kathy Kmonicek / AP Photo Relying on Donations
For those who lost everything in the hurricane, holiday shopping is probably the furthest thing from their minds. To help make it through the devastation, people have relied on donations from various relief organizations for the basic necessities: clothes, food, and toiletries. The demand has been massive, but stores had been
short on supplies.
Andrew Kelly / Getty Images Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a holiday tradition for the last nine decades. The floats, the bands, the balloons, and of course Santa Claus, march through New York City to kick off the holiday season. While it's difficult to nail down a total cost, suffice it to say the parade is a resource-intensive event requiring the work of thosands of people. This year, Macy's also donated tickets and transportation to people who were hit the hardest by Sandy. Mario Tama / Getty Images Thanksgiving Help
While most Americans were gathering with their families in their homes to celebrate Thanksgiving, thousands displaced by Sandy found themselves relying on shelters for a
warm turkey dinner. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said New York City, with the help of community organizations, had planned to provide close to 27,000 Thanksgiving meals to those still reeling from the storm.
Laura Cavanaugh / Getty Images The Rockettes
People from all over the world flock to New York City come November to see
The Rockettes and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. This year, the show will celebrate its 85th year, and will pull out all the stops, offering things like digital projections, LED screens, 3-D effects, and even a double-decker bus. That's in addition to what the Christmas spectacular is known for: ornate pageantry, colorful costumes, and intricate sets.
Mario Tama / Getty Images Destroyed Amusement Parks
Much of the coast was battered, leaving seaside attractions either demolished or washed out to sea. In
Seaside Heights, N.J., two piers and a number of roller coasters were destroyed by Sandy.
Don Emmert, AFP / Getty Images Christmas Decorations
'Tis the season to decorate. And the stores were stocked up in advance, with everything from tree trimmings to wreaths to oversized inflatable lawn ornaments.
Lost Holiday Treasures
For those who lost their homes during Sandy, decorating is not on any list of priorities—even if they could salvage some of their belongings. In the
Breezy Point section of Queens, dozens of homes were lost when a fire broke out in the middle of the storm. A few Christmas decorations, but not much else, survived the massive blaze.