Flashlight hands, staircase feet

USA. Rockaway, Queens. New York City. 2012. Mansura Khanam

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, buildings throughout the Rockaways remained without electricity for several weeks.  In the darkness throughout many housing complexes, stairways became the only way of reaching the various floors.  Denzel (9) and Michael (7) Alexander, who live in an apartment on the 7th floor of Building 4 in Far Rockaway, Queens with their parents and grandparents, stuck close together and navigated long flights of stairs with their flashlights.  I met the boys in the courtyard of Building 4 as they were heading back from the store, instinctively carrying their flashlights as if they’d always done it. Their mother Peggy Ann Alexander, suffers from leg pains and found it  difficult to climb the seven flights of stairs to their apartment.