Hurricane Sandy's Good Samaritans Go to Extremes to Help
GERRITSEN BEACH — In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a wave of daredevil do-gooders have rushed in to help.
Four days after the storm hit, watercraft entrepreneur Anthony Stallone saddled up his Yamaha VX WaveRunner to pick up 10 gallons of gasoline and deliver it to powerless houseboats at the Venice Marina in Sheepshead Bay.
Stallone, who runs Jetty Jumpers, a Jet Ski rental company at the marina, said he wanted to give back to the hard-hit homeowners who needed fuel for their generators.
“I’m helping myself out by seeing people who needed help and helping them out,” Stallone, 41, told DNAinfo.com New York.
On Tuesday afternoon, Stallone toured the storm-ravaged Brooklyn coast after checking up on his dock at the marina. He rode past Seagate in Coney Island and up to the Verrazano Bridge.
“I was devastated today,” Stallone said. “I actually kind of wish I didn’t take the ride.... Demolished — they are totally demolished.”
After the trip, he cruised up to the Tamaqua Marina in Gerritsen Beach, where he loaded up 40 more gallons of gas to deliver to the houseboats at Venice Marina. He later drove in a car to Gerritsen Beach — which hasn’t had power since the hurricane hit — to hand out Jetty Jumper T-shirts, sweaters and backpacks to residents in need of warm clothes.
Another Good Samaritan in Gerritsen Beach has yet to be identified.
Resident Nicholas Curattalo, 29, said that on the night of Hurricane Sandy last Monday, a mystery man in a monster truck rescued his family and his neighbor Kevin McCormick’s family as a 5-foot surge of water trapped them in their homes on Lester Court.
“I felt like he saved me,” Curattalo said as he repaired his home this week.
Curattalo said the man drove a black pickup truck with wheels as high as the top of his Toyota sedan.
McCormick’s cousin, Jake Baumgarten, had flagged down the driver on Avenue W. Baumgarten had asked the do-gooder to help him rescue McCormick, his wife, Michele, and their three young children. The two then headed into Gerritsen Beach, plowing through the murky waves.
Curattalo, who lives directly across the street from McCormick, said when the truck pulled up, he waved a white light to get its attention.
McCormick began loading his children and wife into the cab. Curattalo, his fiancé, mother and father, then hopped off their porch onto the roof of his Toyota and into the back of the pickup truck.
In total there were 11 of them plus a dog in the truck. Curattalo said the driver then shifted into neutral and let the current push him back out onto the street until he was able to ride away.
“I think we would have survived, but I felt a lot more comfortable with my kids dry,” McCormick, 35, said on Tuesday.
The driver dropped them off near Baumgarten’s home, and then headed back to Gerritsen to help more people.
Curattalo said the driver gave him his name and phone number before leaving, but he lost the contact information when his iPhone fell into a puddle during the storm.
Curattalo, a DHL employee, doesn’t remember the driver’s name but recalls he had big earrings, was a member of the Local 40 ironworkers union and lived on East 37th Street and Avenue P in Brooklyn.
He hopes to thank him again in person.
“The feeling I had was I wasn’t going to make it,” said Curattalo, who has a started a Facebook page called Gerritsen Beach Sandy Relief to help storm victims. “Who knows what could have happened?”