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Sadek Abiah pulled up the gate of his Kennedy Fried Chicken at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, determined to serve food to the thousands remaining in a storm-battered Red Hook. But his delivery truck was stuck in traffic, along with every other car today, and wouldn’t get here for hours. Never mind. He put on his white paper hat, used the back of a ladle to spread tomato sauce on pizza dough, and apologized continuously for today’s limited menu–no sweet potato pie, no onion rings. When the wing delivery finally arrived at 2 p.m., Abiah started to fry chicken, and the line outside grew.
Patricia Owens, who stayed in her home at Red Hook West throughout Hurricane Sandy, carried home a handful of hot to-go bags, perfuming the air with the deeply comforting smell of mashed potatoes. With the elevators in her building out of order, she would brave the stairwells in darkness to bring her family some lunch. Among the thousands of residents who didn’t evacuate their homes in Red Hook’s project housing, most were still without electricity, hot water, and phone service, and the food left in their refrigerators had spoiled.