Tag Archives: City Councilmember Eric Ulrich

SANDY ONE YEAR LATER: Storm victims navigate difficulties of insurance claims

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Sandy victims not only felt the wrath of the storm, but experienced the scramble to recover funds washed away with the floodwater.

Residents report having difficulty dealing with insurance companies and getting back what they believe to be theirs.

“The insurance companies have dominated this process because people really don’t know where to turn,” said lawyer John Houghtaling, who specializes in claim insurance litigation and disaster recovery law.

Local officials in south Queens have received complaints about insurance companies and inquiries as to where to turn.

City Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s office has fielded numerous complaints to the Department of Financial Services (DFS), which handles insurance issues.

“Do we receive complaints? Absolutely,” said John Capuano of the DFS. “People have gotten checks, they say it’s not enough or they think something was missed.”

The DFS has seen a significant spike in claims since the storm hit, Capuano said, and has been working to contact individual insurance companies.

They have additionally done field visits, where the DFS arranges for an adjuster from an insurance company to visit the problem site to “give it a second look” with a DFS staff member, according to Capuano.



Howard Beach’s Columbus Day Parade back and better than ever

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

Last year, Sandy stopped the always-anticipated Howard Beach Columbus Day Parade. But this year, the event came back bigger and better.

“We were ecstatic,” said Frank Gulluscio, the area’s Democratic District Leader. “Besides celebrating the Italian culture, it was the fact that the community came back, the fact that we were out there in full force.”

Honorees Al Perna, Luigi Moccia, JoAnn Ariola, Peter Vallone, Jr. and Melinda Katz proudly donned their “Grand Marshal” sashes and waved to the crowd of hundreds as they made their way down Cross Bay Boulevard.

“The recovery has been duly noted that people are back,” Gulluscio said. “It’s an enormous day for the community and all the organizations that took part in it.”

The parade brought in dozens of participants from the Howard Beach and Rockaway neighborhoods as well as the rest of the borough. Marching bands from schools such as Beach Channel High School and

Christ the King played as they processed down the boulevard, as did bagpipe players from various city organizations.

“That’s what this parade has become. It’s not just our community, it’s about the entire area,” Gulluscio said. “It has become nurturing all of the other cultures that live within New York City.”


Local girl scout troops joined the fun, as did the Hamilton Beach Fire Department, local ambulance corps, the Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach and various local businesses.

The energy as groups and floats made their way down Cross Bay from 157th Avenue was apparent. Local officials State Senator Joseph Addabbo, City Councilmember Eric Ulrich and Assemblymember Philip Goldfeder came out to join the celebration as well.

“The fact that we’ve endured the whole recovery process shows the strength of the community,” Gulluscio said. “Howard Beach is here.”

Film focuses on Rockaway recovery

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Dan Brown

In the months following Sandy, the Rockaway peninsula has yet to completely bounce back. A new documentary explains why, and where to go from here.

“We need to make people understand what works in Rockaway,” said John Cori, who is featured in the upcoming film, “John Cori Warned You.”

Cori stars with his partner and friend, Eddie Pastore, in a movie filmed by Rockaway resident Dan Brown.
Since Sandy tore through the peninsula, the three have been traveling around the borough, speaking with different people and also doing their own research as to what could help protect the beachfront town from future storms.

“[The documentary] raises two questions – how much damage could have been avoided, and how vulnerable are we to future storms,” explained Brown, who is co-producing and co-directing the movie with his wife, Patricia.

The film is shown through the viewpoint of Cori and Pastore, who are also both members of the Friends of Rockaway, and speak about the necessity of more rock jetties in the area. They claim there is a clear distinction in the amount of damage between the areas protected by rock jetties and the sections that are not.

“I feel that number one, our safety is jeopardized. Number two, I believe that the Rockaway people have the power to navigate which way Rockaway goes,” said Pastore.

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder and City Councilmember Eric Ulrich are some of the elected officials that the men have interviewed, as well as several reporters and even a meteorologist who explained the “science of the storm.” Through these interviews, the crew hopes the audience will see how they themselves can work with the media and local officials to achieve a bigger goal — in this case, support from Congress and funds to protect their home.

“Sandy was our biggest advocate,” said Pastore. “There’s something broken here, and I really felt that we had to get up and say something.”

“John Cori Warned You” is set to come out in March. Free viewings will be organized throughout the city.

Dan Brown, pictured here in his home office, is directing and producing an upcoming documentary about the Rockaways post-Sandy. (THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes)