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Thanksgiving Radically Altered For New Yorkers Hit By Sandy

Thanksgiving After Sandy

Allison D’Amico and her daughters are having a vastly different Thanksgiving experience a year after Superstorm Sandy. (Credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many New York metro area residents who were cooking meals in their homes and getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday at this time a year ago are now busy cleaning out their flood-ravaged homes.

CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey talked to some of those people about Thanksgiving after Sandy.

At this time a year ago, Allison D’Amico of Staten Island would have been busy in the kitchen, cooking turkey dinner with all the fixings.

“I would be prepping a lot of onion, celery, carrot,” she said.

But on this day before Thanksgiving, D’Amico and her daughters were removing destroyed possessions – one of the many Thanksgiving routines irreparably altered.

“It’s just an enormity of unhappiness that I can’t even begin to tell you,” she said. “It’s very hard.”

Nearby was Marc Alvarez, who knows exactly what he was doing a year ago.

“We were getting the place ready, getting the table set,” he said.

But this Wednesday, he and some helpful friends were gutting the place that has been Thanksgiving central for the past 17 years.

“We’ve got to rebuild,” Alvarez said. “We’ve got to have Thanksgiving back here next year. It’s going to be important.”

There were similar stories near the water in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn.

“Last year at this time, we were getting ready to celebrate,” said Donna Schwarz. “We were having company over.”

But instead, Schwarz this year was dealing with contractors, and insurance documents. It was night and day compared to last year.

“Oh my God yeah, yes, very different,” she said.

Amidst the damage and cleanup, there was the thankfulness among so many that they are still alive.

That was how Rudy Mienert felt, despite having a Staten Island home that was barely standing.

“Actually this year, I’m more appreciative of what I have,” Meinert said. “Last year I had more, but this year, I’m appreciative of what I have, which is less.”

D’Amico is living with a lot less too, including not having a tradition that’s filled her home with happiness…

“People offer their love; their kindness,” she said. “They want to give turkeys and dinners and it’s all so wonderful but it’s just different. It’s just different.”

New York City will be handing out more than 26,000 turkey dinners for city residents affected by Sandy. They will be available Thursday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the city’s food distribution sites.

Has Sandy changed your Thanksgiving? Please leave your comments below…