With no electricity to power his Rockaway Park building's elevators and no water for flushing since superstorm Sandy struck, Army veteran Jimmy Hom, 76, has a new routine. He has been climbing 11 flights of stairs to his apartment with a bucket of water from his complex's swimming pool.
"The swimming pool is full of ocean water," Hom said Sunday, adding that the first floor of his building now "looks like a beach" with all the sand that was blown into it.
"I need water to flush my toilet," he said.
Power was restored to his high-rise seaside building Saturday night, but the elevator still wasn't working as of Sunday, Hom said. He and his wife, Jane, 56, also did not have running water and have been drinking bottled water supplied by the Red Cross and other aid groups, he said.
Most residents of his building have left, gone to shelters or to the homes of friends and family, but Hom said he and Jane are staying put. "We have no place to go," he said. "We are stuck here."
He said he loves his home: "The sunrise here is the most beautiful in the city." Though, with the storm damage, "It looks like you dropped a bomb here," Hom said. He said parts of the boardwalk had flown into his apartment building and there is sand everywhere.
Hom, who said he retired from the Army as a captain and took shrapnel in the back when he was serving in Vietnam, works as a licensed street vendor in Manhattan. He lauded New Yorkers and aid groups for their generosity and volunteerism and urged more civil service.
"People are so wonderful, so nice. We are working together, holding hands," he said. "If you care for us or care for anybody, donate seven hours or seven days or one hour to the Rockaways. We've got to help each other."