A group of prominent cultural personalities have signed an open letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg asking the city to send more relief to the Rockaways, a part of Queens that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
The letter -- whose signatories include Marina Abramovic, Cindy Sherman, Anna Deavere Smith and Richard Phillips -- states that families in the Rockaways “are still standing next to their destroyed and ruined houses trying to keep warm without food, water, electricity, heat, or internet.”
The letter was published this weekend on a number of websites, including actor James Franco’s. Among the other signatories are a host of celebrities -- Madonna, Lady Gaga, Willem Dafoe, Michael Stipe, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachel Weisz. One of the signers is Klaus Biesenbach, curator at the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1.
“In recent years, the Rockaways became an incredible inspiration and haven for the artists and creative community of New York,” the letter states.
“As the Rockaways are, at their best, a melting pot between the local community and the creative energies of the city, it is a location where New York is anticipating and creating the images and dreams we all live on.”
The Rockaways is located in the southern part of Queens on a peninsula, near JFK International Airport. The group of largely working-class neighborhoods was one of the hardest hit areas by the recent storm.