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Free Photo Book Documenting Hurricane Sandy to Be Given Out in Rockaway Bar

By Katie Honan | October 28, 2013 6:59am
  A book documenting the wrath of Hurricane Sandy will be distributed at a local Rockaway bar — for free.
"The Rockaways" Shows Storm's Aftermatch
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ROCKAWAY BEACH — A photo book documenting the destruction after Hurricane Sandy in some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods of Queens will be distributed for free across the city — and, in one neighborhood, at a storm-damaged pub.

"The Rockaways" highlights the work of Gilles Peress, a world-renowned photographer who has published photo books about Iran, Rwanda and Bosnia and had exhibits at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, among others.  

Unlike some high-quality photos books, this one is not for sale and instead encourages people to donate whatever they'd like to the charity of their choice. 

"When you give something that's powerful and beautiful to a reader for free, it inspires a huge amount of generosity,” said Stona Fitch, who owns Concord Free Press, which published "The Rockaways."

The company started giving away books four years ago, but this is the company's first photo book, and was made possibly by a donation from Kodak.

The books, according to the company, are "beautiful, revolutionary and free." And the free model “takes the anxiety” right out of publishing, Fitch said.  

"The whole point is not just to document the devastation, but really to inspire people to continue to support the ongoing relief efforts."

There will be 3,000 available copies to be distributed over the Internet, at museums and at bookstores.

And in the Rockaways the book will be distributed at Rogers Irish Tavern, a local bar on Beach 116th Street that was selected by the publisher after suggestions from some of the journalists involved with the project.

“Hey, why not? People go to bars. They might as well get books,” Fitch said. “And people who go to the bar will recognize the photos.”

Brendan Jones, 62, who’s bartended at Rogers for 24 years, said it was great the bar known for its pours of Guinness would be giving out the book.

It was, to his knowledge, the first time a book would be given out for free there.

“I’ve only ever given out free drinks,” he joked, then added, “I’d like a copy for myself.”