I met Supreme waiting with his son on a distribution line that stretched around the block outside the Ocean View Houses. They’d been there two hours already, and, owing to crowd management by the NYPD, the line was moving backwards, further away from its goal.
The day before, several high-profile personalities had toured these projects. Bobby Kennedy was here, and a State Senator, and even one of the New York Knicks, whose wife was apparently responsible for the establishment of the medical clinic and who brought with him hundreds of pairs of donated Nikes for the folks standing the line.
The Rockaways have never seen anything like this, Supreme told me. The first week was the worst in this part of town. No National Guard, no FEMA, no Red Cross. They may have been out here, somewhere else, but they weren’t here.
At night, in the powerless streets of Far Rockaway, the red-and-blue strobe of police cars stationed every few blocks offered the only light to be found.