Travel News

Icarus Awards: Hurricane Sandy Heroes and Fools

Locations in this article:  New York City, NY Philadelphia, PA

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York City and the Tri-State Area have banded together to help those hardest hit by the storm and those that still remain without power. Across the city and the country, bake sales and food drives are being held. Collections are also being put together for those that are in shelters or housebound—stay tuned for our complete round up of how you can volunteer to help.

Normally, we devote our Icarus column to the week’s worst travel failures, but in a week of extreme devastation it doesn’t seem right to recognize the idiots without commending just a few of the heroes. This week, we have six nominees: three surprising heroes and three disappointing fools.

Hurricane Sandy Heroes:

Family Man

Policemen, firemen, first responders and emergency workers are all heroes of Hurricane Sandy, but Officer Artur Kasprzak offered the greatest sacrifice. The 28-year-old off-duty New York police officer rescued seven members of his family and helped them all reach their family attic. He then went down to check the basement and did not return. Emergency workers were called, but were not able to reach him until the next morning when he was found dead.

Reduced Fare

We’ve all seen the three-block long gas lines on the East Coast following Hurricane Sandy, so it’s hard to image finding a deal amid the chaos. Not so for Dr. Sujatha Balija, who was stranded in Phildelphia, but set to attend a conference in Boston. Instead of canceling, Balija found a cab driver to take her all the way from Philadelphia to Boston at reduced fare on Wednesday. With the interstate flooded, the drive took over eight hours but Balija paid $250 less than the standard $1,000 fare. Zohar Arzi, of Rosemont Taxicab Company, noted that she was charged less due to her professional obligation.

Jersey Shore Loyal

The cast of MTV’s Jersey shore has committed to coming back to help with the rebuilding efforts. And before the cameras start rolling, Jersey Shore guest star Roger, who is engaged to star JWOWW, did his part to help out. He took to his jet ski to shut off critical power lines in his flooded town of Toms River, New Jersey. He then went looking for ways to help stranded flood victims.

Hurricane Sandy Fools:

Pain at the Pump

The gas lines are growing as huge swatches of New York are without power and relying on gas generators. Lines are long, and tempers are flaring. In Queens, Sean Bailey, a 35-year-old resident, was taken into police custody after brandishing a gun at a driver who cut him in line. Bailey now faces up to 15 years in prison.

Jet Ski to Infamy

Social media was quick to spread the pictures, stories and news of Hurricane Sandy; the dumbest videos to go viral must be the jet ski pics. In both New York and New Jersey, two separate joy riders posted YouTube videos of their jet skiing escapades. Though the riders were unharmed , they were out in high winds and waters with six to 11 feet surges, so they were risking their lives and the lives of the first responders who would be called to rescue them.

Photobomb Fools

We’ve stayed turned to the news this past week and are grateful to all the reports who stood out in waste high waters getting battered by the winds. However, sometimes the reporters weren’t alone. In Washington, DC, there was a half naked man jogging in a horse costume. On the Jersey Shore, there were two wind battered beach goers dancing Gangham style. Once again, in looking for their 15 minutes, these winners endangered themselves, the crew around them and all the first responders. And unlike the jet skiers, they didn’t even have a life vest.

We’re told you about the heroes and the fools and now it’s time to cast your vote for Hurricane Sandy’s best and worst in this special edition of the Icarus Awards. Choose one of our nominees or you can write in your own

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Lily J. Kosner for