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Sandy Blackout Zone Support Group

Sandy Blackout Zone Support Group (SBZSG)

Due to the complete lack of availability of such services, the SBZSG was open to all residents and small business workers in Lower Manhattan searching for a support group. It was a free support group for sharing experiences and helping others exhibiting signs of ATSD after the blackout.

Although the SBZSG is no longer operating, if you are looking for someone to talk to, you may contact Barry Drogin by leaving a message at 212-243-8784 or sending an e-mail to Indicate the best way to contact you.

Here is a NYC Department of Health PDF, "Tips on Coping with Disasters and Other Stressful and Traumatic Events,

"Know How To Take Care of Yourself
"Reduce Your Stress
"During a disaster, keep yourself informed by obtaining information from reliable resources."
In the month following the blackout, the NYC Dept of Health, the Red Cross, JBFCS, and government officials were not reliable resources. 1-800-LIFENET referred you to the JBCFS/NYC Self Help Center, which was not returning calls, and JCBFS referred you to 1-800-LIFENET. If anyone (including the media) provides you with a telephone number or website, make sure that they have checked out the information in advance. Getting caught in a referral merry-go-round only adds to your stress.

More misinformation: The lady from Gourverneur Healthcare Services got it wrong; Dr. Charles Herr was considering providing a group for current patients.

Questions and Answers

Is acute stress disorder real?
Adapted from Wikipedia: Common symptoms are: numbing, detachment, feeling the world is unreal, amnesia, continued re-experiencing of the event by such ways as thoughts, dreams, and flashbacks, and avoidance of any stimulation that reminds you of the event. Also symptoms of anxiety, and significant impairment in an essential area of functioning. Symptoms last for a minimum of 2 days, and a maximum of 4 weeks.

I wasn't traumatized. Why should anyone else be?
Trauma is typically caused by a singular event that sends you into shock. Many (if not most) of the people who lost their homes experienced such an event. Many (if not most) trapped in the blackout did not experience such an event. But with a quarter of a million people in Lower Manhattan alone, some did. And some long-term residents suffering from PTSD after 9/11 were particularly succeptable to a recurrence.

I am very angry and need a place to vent.
A support group is a safe place to tell others about your traumatic experience, and give support to others. Although feelings of anger and frustration are to be expected and are not forbidden, the purpose of the group was not to form an activist group to fight City Hall or some such.

I have not been traumatized but want to help.
If you want to offer services of any kind, please contact the organizer by e-mail,

How can I help people outside of Lower Manhattan who still have no power?
By physically going there and asking them what they need. Simple enough, no? Wish it had happened to us. Read what may happen to you.

Tips for dealing with someone traumatized by the blackout:
  • Do not tell them that others have it worse, or are still without power. That is cruel.
  • Do not laugh at them or run away from them. Listen and be patient.
  • Do not conjecture or refer them to resources that you have not personally confirmed are currently available. Offer to research for them.
    "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn it."
    The SBZSG scheduled meetings in November 2012. The organizer had participated in four support groups: a September 11th Support Group run by professionals, a Single Father Support Group run by the Single Parent Resource Center, an Unemployment Support Group run by a local pastor, and the NYC Divorce Support Meetup Group, still running strong with over 1,000 members. The SBZSG was modeled after the latter, which the organizer joined and helped run for several years.
    Useful Info:
  • - A Jewish psychiatrist describes the experience of transitioning from darkness to light and back
  • - Upper West Sider accompanies his friend into the Blackout Zone
  • - Political theory on why lower and middle class residents were provided with inadequate response on the East side
  • James King, Village Voice maggotAt right is a photo of James King. He lives in Crown Heights. You can try to reach him at 518-265-2195, but you'll undoubtedly get an answering machine that hasn't been set up yet. He thinks the Lower Manhattan blackout is funny. He thinks everyone who lives in Manhattan is rich. He used to write for the Pheonix New Times, and was known as a "favorite son" of Mike Lacey, Executive Editor of the corporate owner of The Village Voice, Village Voice Media, headquartered in Pheonix. He is a blogger who helps Village Voice advertisers by writing outrageous things and getting people who read him to join in on the fun. He is a maggot who attracts other maggots. Hey, even maggots deserve a "voice," no? Here's to free speech, and uncivil discourse! He and his minions tear down civilization while accusing others of doing so. An amazingly pathetic creature, this James King.

    James King - or his lawyers at The Villager Voice - even set up a Facebook page with my photo so they could claim that my photo was public and could be used without my permission in their blog. Amazing, what on-line assholes can do.

    This page 2012 Barry Drogin

    Last Updated: November 25, 2012