Vibe Media Sends Food Truck to Rockaways Hurricane Victims

Nobody in the New York area will forget Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy any time soon. Even those of us lucky enough not to have lost power or been forced to evacuate know many people who did. While the region did much to prepare, Sandy still ended up being a bona fide natural disaster, with major property damage and, sadly, more than 100 fatalities along the east coast. As with watershed events such as 9/11, the 2003 blackout, and the 2005 transit strike, people are already referring to the pre- and post-Sandy eras, as if our collective mindset has been permanently changed by it. And so, in the post-Sandy era, we at Vibe Media, the parent company of Vibe, Vibe Vixen, Uptown, and BlackBook, felt bad for those who had lost so much, and decided we’d feel better if we did something to help. And so we have. We’re sending a food truck—the Milk Truck, to be specific—to the Rockaways to distribute comfort food to hurricane victims. It’s there right now, and I must say, I feel good about it. 

It happened like this. Despite the loss of several productive days at the end of October—our office is on 19th Street in Manhattan, and was without power for a full week—the company had a good month in October. We surpassed our page view goals, which normally means that everybody gets a small bonus to recognize their contributions. Nothing too earth-shattering, but enough for a fun night out, which is definitely something we’re into

But Uptown executive editor Chrystal Parker had the idea of putting our bonuses toward hiring a food truck to deliver food to those most affected by the storm. It was a great idea, and before long everybody was signing their little windfalls over to the cause. When you add all that up, and then double it, thanks to a company match, we had enough to actually make a difference. And that’s what’s happening right now, as I type these words. The Milk Truck, famous for its grilled cheese sandwiches, soups, and other comfort food items, is currently parked at Beach 129th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, dishing out hot meals between noon and 4pm to people working to reclaim their lives and homes.

Fixing the damage will take months, if not years, and millions, if not billions, of dollars. But there’s plenty of value in grilled cheese and soup box lunches, each served with a sweet gherkin. Not only are they warm and delicious, they also tell victims that there are people in their community who care about them, and want them to know that they’re not alone. I’ll forgo a night out on the town for that, and it’s nice to know that the people I work with will too. 

Where to Eat, Drink, and Be Patriotic This Fourth of July

Time to don your red, white, and blue and settle into this country’s most exciting holiday. The weather is perfect, and when else does your boss condone drinking cold beer, eating a lot of barbecue, and chilling out in the middle of the week? Since all your friends have the day off, too, it’s like Saturday on a Wednesday_ plus fireworks.

For the party animal, check out the waterfront at Pier 92, where not only is there a killer view of the pyrotechnics, but you get to munch on southern goodies by Virgil’s Real Barbecue while DJs like Hook N Sling and Ken Loi provide fodder for dancing. Hosted by ARRIVAL NYC, the 12-hour rooftop-beach party starts at noon and features performances by Lil Jon, a tanning deck, and, aside from the tasty barbecue, they will have grub from food trucks too, including Cupcake Crew, Milk Truck, Souvlaki GR, and Valducci’s Pizza. Tickets are available here.

Another great view of the fireworks can be taken in at Hotel Chantelle, where this rooftop bar has a full on barbecue party going on starting at 1pm and running late. In Times Square at the Sky Room, $100 gets you a spot in the highest rooftop lounge in the city, plus five an open bar and picnic-themed nibbles like pigs-in-a-blanket, burgers, chicken fingers, and potato chips.

At Beaumarchais, they will be celebrating the Fourth of July with a cookout and brunch party that goes into the evening. For your eating pleasure, chef David E. Diaz will be grilling up specials like honey-glazed shrimp skewers, and, for your listening enjoyment, DJ Marco Peruzzi will be spinning all night. If you want a more sit down celebration, 508 GastroBrewery debuts their tantalizing sloppy Joe menu just in time for the fourth. Plus, the Hudson River is right around the corner, making firework viewing easy, that is, if you can get up after the meaty feast.

Across the East River in Brooklyn, the artsy group Secret Project Robot hosts their IndepenDance, a party and potluck from 3 to 9pm, which includes reggae and dub music spun by DJ Sweet V, Grace of Spades, and Queen Majesty. In case you are too lazy to make food, nearby you can pick up tacos at Taqueria El Fogon or go super lowbrow and order a bucket of fried chicken from Kennedy Fried Chicken and Pizza.

Of course, it Macy’s annual firework display doesn’t move you, forget trying to get above ground and head to Coney Island. During the day, you can root for your favorite professional eater at Nathan’s Famous July Fouth International Hot Dog-Eating Contest. Grab a sausage and fries yourself from their outlet and, as the sky turns dark, head to the Wonder Wheel and see all the glittering lights of the amusement park, plus a few stray fireworks to boot. Happy Birthday, America.