Sandy vs. New Amsterdam Records

This has been a a bizarre week in New York City. I’m sure the media images being splattered across your media devices speak for themselves, but it’s still strange to be here. There’s a wild disconnect between those of us who were basically handed a mother-nature-sponsored week-long hiatus to our work lives, and those who are still, five days later, without power, facing an unimaginable reorganization to their property and their priorities.

Red Hook, home of Ikea, Fairway, the Six Point Brewery, and a few of my favorite bars and restaurants in the city amongst a great harbor neighborhood, took a punch this week. The water marks were high, and the destruction is clear. Red Hook is also the new home of New Amsterdam Records, a vibrant hub of new, young classical music in New York.

The collective had just moved into an amazing space that I was able to see and use before it’s early demise. It’s an amazing and beautiful warehouse that was to be used for rehearsing, recording, performing, and conspiring. It was filled with old furniture, all sorts of gear, and a great Steinway grand. It’s a great space that I think, with help, love, work, and time will realize it’s potential. In their own words:

“Despite the many hours we spent on Sunday preparing for the storm-stacking furniture on cinder-blocks and moving everything we could to higher ground-our space was flooded with almost four feet of polluted sea water. As a result, about 70% of our catalog of CDs has been destroyed-CDs we hold on behalf of our artists (we do not own them). Literally ALL of our financial records were destroyed, including our back-up hard-drive. Sewage, gas, spilled paint thinner, and bleach all blended with seawater, creating a toxic mess. A mess that is sure to corrode our newly installed drywall, kitchen cabinets, and office furniture. Even the basics like doors and plumbing are compromised and will need to be replaced. Musical equipment, amps, and priceless vintage synthesizers were also destroyed, along with countless personal items, clothing, two couches, records, and other furniture. We will need to move swiftly to acquire industrial dehumidifiers and hire professional mold-cleaners to help us combat the high risk of toxic mold. We have yet to assess the damage to our donated Steinway grand piano which we wrapped with a plastic tarp prior to the storm; the water mark from the flood was drawn inches from the piano’s lid.

Over the last few months, we’ve invested countless hours preparing our space, and thousands of dollars renovating it — money and time we were hoping to make up for with a series of public events and private fundraisers this fall and winter. Now that plan is in severe jeopardy. Our financial future is intimately tied to our space; we were “all in,” so to speak. After sharing news of our plight on Facebook, literally hundreds of you have offered to help. The outpouring of love and concern from our larger community has been staggering and truly inspiring. At the suggestion of a number of NewAm friends and artists, we have decided to create this page — an official home for our Hurricane Relief Fund. New Amsterdam’s label arm operates on a non-profit-model that distributes 80% of album revenues directly to artists, so while we encourage the community to continue to buy albums and help support our artists who were also all affected by this disaster, the organization itself will receive the most benefit from direct contributions.”

You can, and should, visit their donation page here (tax deductible), and keep your eyes peeled for all of the artists on the label. They all do incredible things.

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