How Carmine got through Hurricane Sandy

for The Brooklyn Paper
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I’m madder than a fish forced out of water — by water — over the fact that you can’t control everything in life, and sometimes you get thrown a curveball that you just don’t expect. But the best of us all know that when life serves you lemons, you make lemonade, and that’s something I’ve tried to do my entire life. Heck, why else do you think I write this column?

Look, you all know that ol’Carmine is the ultimate optimist, and I always look on the bright side of things. Even when our great city and the surrounding area gets pummelled by a storm that was probably the worst I’ve ever seen in my more than 70 years on this planet, even when I watch videos of the Battery Tunnel getting filled with water, even when there is so much doom and gloom around us that it gets difficult to find the slightest beam of light, I give it a shot.

I think about the things I’m thankful for, like my family, which I love so much and would do anything for.

So while I’m sad for all those who lost so much, and I pray for them every waking moment, I give thanks that my loved ones are safe, and take homage in that fact. And that helps me sleep at night.

And you know what else helps me sleep at night? A full belly!

And I got just that on Sunday at my first granddaughter Alexa’s confirmation party out on Long Island.

Now, as usual, I know what you’re thinking: “Carmine, how the heck can you go out to Long Island on a Sunday when the storm of the century is approaching?”

Well, I’ll tell you why.

Because the party wasn’t canceled, and, more importantly, because my son-in-law Michael, who is a gourmet chef on the side, was going to have more food than he knew what to do with.

And with a lot of people canceling at the last minute, I knew there would be even more food for me! So away my lovely wife Sharon and I went down the Belt Parkway as Sandy was bearing down on us. But I knew we’d beat her there, because, as I told you before, Sharon’s nickname is “Old Leadfoot.”

Boy, was it worth it! I would put Michael’s culinary expertise right up there with Lydia’s and Wolfgang’s — and it’s head and shoulders above that garlic queen Rachael Ray! I hate her stuff! Bleah!

On top if that, the location couldn’t be any better: Dana and Michael’s backyard is a homeowner’s paradise: there are a couple of high-tech barbecues, a pool for the kids, plants, trees, shrubbery, fruits, vegetables, and a huge freshwater fish pond!

I don’t need to tell you that Michael also loves fishing, and he has fish tanks with tropical fish that, to me, look good enough to eat. Unfortunately, he shuns that.

Their home is a joy in fair weather and is able to accommodate their combined families — and it doesn’t pose any problems for my trusty steed, Tornado.

We got there at 12:05 pm and I went straight to work, noshing on dips, potato chips, pretzels, taco chips, gummy bears, Sweedish fish, wine, beer, sangria, and soda, because I knew I had to leave early. By 1 pm, I put a good dent in the supplies, and everyone else had arrived.

That’s when I started in on Michael’s inventions: spinach loaf, broccoli and cheese loaf, ham, pasta with vodka sauce and rigatoni with arugula and sausage, and for good measure, some salad.

Next up was the pizza, but I had to pass on a slice because I was so full! See, there is a first time for everything!

But the clock was ticking and the storm was coming, so we said our good-byes at 4:30, and 35 minutes later I was back at the beautiful twin towers of the Harway Terrace, where the wind was blowing harder than it was anywhere in Brooklyn. It was so strong that Sharon couldn’t even open the door for me, and we had to wait for Tony the Handyman to rescue us.

The next morning, Dana told us that everyone left at 9:30 and got home safe. But the same could not be said for their home, which is just a block from the water.

Turns out their street started to flood! And the flood made it into the backyard.

Michael’s beautiful yard was flooded and there were casualties: 32 fish, some of which had been happily living there for 15 years, perished on the streets outside their home.

So, again, I thank god everyone I know was safe, but I feel really bad for those fish.

And my stomach feels worse, cause I didn’t get to eat them!

Screech at you next week!

Read Carmine every Saturday on E-mail him at!
Updated 5:36 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Paul A. from Ft. Hamilton says:
Thanks for the extended menu at your sons place. Shame that his yard got flooded and his pet fish took a hit. I'm sure all the people in Staten Island & Red Hook enjoyed hearing how much you suffered during & after the hurricane. I had two familys in Staten Island heating canned food over candles. What fun treating it like a game for the kids because the labels washed off. I was invited over but declined because I couldn't reach the house in a Viking longship. Carmine, the next disaster try to have a little common sense & compassion. While I'm glad nobody close to you were injured or misplaced, think before you share slanted,optimistic point of view.
Nov. 4, 2012, 12:20 pm
Peter from Bay Ridge says:
His back lawn was flooded! Storm of the Century! I hope he doesn't have to fork over a few hundred bucks to a landscaper. Meanwhile, in a little place called reality, houses are destroyed, people are dead, and some survivors don't have heat, water, electricity, or food. This wasn't an editorial but a thank you note. Paul A. is right. A little compassion for the next once-in-a-lifetime disaster.
Nov. 4, 2012, 5:18 pm
J.T. Ross from Sunset Park says:
What an ——. A completely inappropriate column. Lame humor about fish killed in a storm which killed over 40 people in this city is tasteless. Someone wheel Carmine out by the sea wall next time we have a storm surge.
Nov. 4, 2012, 7:44 pm
Ben from Park Slope says:
Don't let these gloom an doom guys get you down For us that look forward to your "inappropiate" but welcome change of pace humor, your column is a blessing. True that the horrors of Sandy is really nothing to joke about, but most times you joke about yourself for a laugh. They should realize that Sandy left many area's unscathed and untouched, leaving many, many people in dire need.

Keep writing and for g-ds sake, don't ever lose your sense of humor! Oft times its the only laugh in town1
Nov. 6, 2012, 4:27 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s gonna burn your house down! With the lemons! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!
Nov. 7, 2012, 5:22 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I bet this fat bastard voted for Romney.
Nov. 7, 2012, 6:01 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
i am a flaming homosexula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nov. 7, 2012, 7:10 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I'm not insulted by being called homosexual. I am not homosexual, but I have friends and family members who are (actually I have a gay cousin who is kind of a jerk), but by calling me that, you only show your own ignorance and stupidity, and you are either Carmine or one of his supporters. Either way, the NY State legislature gets a copy of everything you write. If you think you're helping your cause by calling people "homosexula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" you are in for disappointment.
Nov. 7, 2012, 7:39 pm
bengee from coney says:
You were a slob back in the 60's and your still a slob in 012
Nov. 18, 2012, 3:32 pm

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