Across the city, the dinner table and the Internet, you may have noticed a single phrase being repeated since Hurricane Sandy disrupted everyone's lives: "I love New York."
Two Brooklyn residents recently joined together to take that sentiment and create a t-shirt fundraising platform for storm recovery efforts.
By submerging the red heart in the iconic "I Love NY" logo in a pool of water, New York Shirts for Sandy are a symbol of the city's will to overcome recent tragedies.
"We were strangers up until last week," says Christine Fitzsimonds, one half of New York Shirts for Sandy. "Actually, we are still sort of strangers since we haven't yet met in person."
Inspired by the volunteering and relief efforts she saw from friends in The Bay Ridge Parents Group and Bay Ridge Cares, Fitzsimonds, an art director at Scholastic, posted her logo idea on the parent group's Facebook page.
"After a five-minute phone call, we were both like, 'done and done!'" says Fitzsimonds. "We clicked and have been texting, emailing, and brainstorming for most of the past four days. We feed off each other's energy and I know if I text Rachel at 2 a.m., she'll text right back!"
Having produced a large number of shirts ($25-$30) and tote bags ($15) for their first run, the women are now offering them at local events, including upcoming Sandy fundraisers produced by HeatherD at Union Hall on Monday, November 12, and on Tuesday, November 13 and at The Bell House, among others.
"One hundred percent of the profit after production will be given to the charity of the events we attend," she says. Proceeds from merchandise they sell independently will go to Tunnel to Towers.
The women are currently looking for more events, venues or shops in Brooklyn who want to partner and sell the shirts as well, adding that they are open to ideas.
"The most important thing is to raise as much as possible to help those in need during this difficult time," says Fitzsimonds. "If any local businesses are interested, please contact us! We are also looking into ways to sell online; we'll keep you posted!"