There have been a number of exciting new developments for New Amsterdam in our first full year as a non-profit, but none that we were more proud of than our new 3,000 square foot headquarters in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Over the past six months, we’ve poured our hearts and souls into our converted warehouse, scrubbing the floors, painting the walls, finding kitchen appliances off Craigslist, and gradually transforming a former biker hangout into a multi-purpose music venue/office/rehearsal/residency space. In late September, we were able to have our first preview event in the space featuring Contemporaneous Ensemble. We were looking forward to unveiling the space to our community and the city-at-large this fall through a series of fundraisers and concerts.

Hurricane Sandy had other plans.

Despite the many hours we spent on Sunday preparing for the storm–stacking furniture on cinder-blocks and moving everything we could to higher ground–our space was flooded with almost four feet of polluted sea water.  As a result, about 70% of our catalog of CDs has been destroyed–CDs we hold on behalf of our artists (we do not own them). Literally ALL of our financial records were destroyed, including our back-up hard-drive. Sewage, gas, spilled paint thinner, and bleach all blended with seawater, creating a toxic mess. A mess that is sure to corrode our newly installed drywall, kitchen cabinets, and office furniture. Even the basics like doors and plumbing are compromised and will need to be replaced. Musical equipment, amps, and priceless vintage synthesizers were also destroyed, along with countless personal items, clothing, two couches, records, and other furniture. We will need to move swiftly to acquire industrial dehumidifiers and hire professional mold-cleaners to help us combat the high risk of toxic mold.  We have yet to assess the damage to our donated Steinway grand piano which we wrapped with a plastic tarp prior to the storm; the water mark from the flood was drawn inches from the piano’s lid.

Over the last few months, we’ve invested countless hours preparing our space, and thousands of dollars renovating it — money and time we were hoping to make up for with a series of public events and private fundraisers this fall and winter. Now that plan is in severe jeopardy. Our financial future is intimately tied to our space; we were “all in,” so to speak. After sharing news of our plight on Facebook, literally hundreds of you have offered to help. The outpouring of love and concern from our larger community has been staggering and truly inspiring. At the suggestion of a number of NewAm friends and artists, we have decided to create this page — an official home for our Hurricane Relief Fund.  New Amsterdam’s label arm operates on a non-profit-model that distributes 80% of album revenues directly to artists, so while we encourage the community to continue to buy albums and help support our artists who were also all affected by this disaster, the organization itself will receive the most benefit from direct contributions. If you would like to donate to our recovery effort, please click the link below. Your donation will be fully tax deductible, and will be returned with heartfelt thanks and supreme gratitude.

You can also send help the old-fashioned way here (checks can be made out to “New Amsterdam”):

New Amsterdam
98A Van Dyke St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231

And spread the word via New Amsterdam’s fundraising Facebook page here:

View pictures of the damage and follow our recovery on New Amsterdam’s Flickr page here:

Update 10/31/2012-  Red Hook was still without power, and though we were hit hard, some of our nearest neighbors were hit even harder. We arrived on Tuesday morning to find a BOAT on our street (two long blocks from the water), a number of loose active power lines, and buses destroyed. Our fair and extremely generous landlords have been hit with over $100k in damages, and countless businesses in our area will have an incredibly difficult time bouncing back from this storm. We encourage you to spread the word about Red Hook’s ruin. We’ll post any further information about how you can help with Sandy-related Red Hook recovery efforts on this page. The links below are a great place to start:

Update 11/5/2012-  We’re starting to get a fuller assessment of the damage to our space and CD catalog. Despite the damage, your donations and kind emails have been a huge boon to us, and we’re feeling optimistic that we can salvage the space and rebuild. More info soon, in the meantime, again, please consider donating time/money/food,supplies to the Red Hook Initiative (link above). There are many people suffering without food, heat, and supplies in this area. And, again, a huge thank you again to all those who have donated, the support is truly overwhelming!

Thank you,

Bill, Judd, and Sarah