Looking north from a darkened Lower Manhattan / Photo: NY Daily News

During and after a natural disaster, we truly see the value of community, up close and personal. Neighbors band together to help each other, providing shelter, supplies, and comfort to those who are less-prepared. The bravery shown by first responders drives the point home; seeing so many public servants risking their lives to help those in harm’s way is an inspiring reminder of the importance of cooperation and collaboration, as well as a reminder of how much impact each of us, as individuals, can have.

Hurricane Sandy has wreaked havoc from the Caribbean, up the Atlantic coastline of the US, and straight through heavily populated areas like the Jersey Shore, Philadelphia, and New York City, where PPS HQ is located. As those of us on the coast begin to assess the damage today, the superstorm is still dumping water on Pennsylvania and upstate New York, and is expected to barge into Canada some time tomorrow.

This morning, we received an email from Richard McCarthy, director of MarketUmbrella.org, with the title Solidarity from Sea Level. “There will be a month of very tired, mentally disoriented people,” our New Orleanian friend wrote. “Maybe longer with physical dislocation…From a public space standpoint, the markets and the parks and the pop-ups will be worth visiting to gauge mood, meaning, etc.”

The strength of our communities will be on display in the coming days and weeks. Much of this will play out in our streets, and our public spaces. As horrific as the damage is in many places, and as staggering as the news reports of damage will undoubtedly be, there will be many inspiring stories to share as people work together to rebuild the places that they love. Stories like this are already showing up, and we’ve seen many of you coordinating on Facebook and Twitter to help as your cities and towns begin their recovery efforts.

If you live or are staying in a community affected by Sandy, and you experience an example of community resilience first-hand, please share it here. These stories must not be lost in the din.