Boxing: Hurricane Sandy

Atlas fighting for those hit by Sandy

November, 13, 2012
"Hold on, Mike, I got a guy coming in with a truck, hold on a second," said Teddy Atlas, during a Tuesday afternoon phone interview with NYFightBlog. After 10 seconds, the ESPN analyst and sometime boxing trainer came back on the line and continued to describe the relief effort to help citizens on Staten Island and in Queens who got knocked down by Sandy on Oct. 29.

For the past couple of weeks, Atlas has been collecting and distributing food, water, supplies, information and hope to people laid out by the epic storm surge.

On Thursday night his Staten Island-based Theodore Atlas Foundation will hold its 16th annual fund-raising dinner, and it almost didn't happen. Atlas contemplated canceling the dinner because he was knee-deep in efforts to do triage in the area, to help people who have fallen between the cracks. But then he decided that the show must go on, if only to help raise funds for the longer-term rebuild. To this point, the foundation has handed out more than 80,000 pounds of clothing, food, and cleaning supplies to the afflicted. The organization took over a storefront next to its headquarters and is using it as a staging and warehousing station. It has been filled and emptied eight times as of Tuesday.

"We're continuing to get to areas that got the least amount of response and help," said the son of the physician Theodore Atlas, who was known for doing house calls, pro bono, to Staten Islanders who needed help. "Some areas got a little less. I don't want to say they were forgotten, but ..."

Last week, attention shifted to Breezy Point and the Rockaways, and some of the housing projects, where people in high rises have gone two weeks without power. "You see pictures of people losing their homes, but these people in the projects, they have no home, and in their apartment, there is no elevator. We delivered flashlights, because at night, it can get scary," he said.

We engaged in no boxing talk; Atlas said he has turned down most interviews, because the relief effort is front-and-center on his mind. Mayweather, Pacquiao, all that stuff can wait. But the Sandy assault hasn't left him wallowing. He's seen some of the best of humanity in the last couple weeks. "The only thing more remarkable than the devastation of the storm is the reaction, the outpouring of help from so many people," he said. "It's the only thing stronger than the storm."

Calls have come in, day after day, from people he doesn't know.

"Teddy, we got a truck coming in from Florida."

"Teddy, there's a tractor-trailer of stuff coming from Philly."

"Teddy, I'm a fight fan, from Massachusetts. I want to help, I loaded up a truck and it's on its way."

"Through all the bad stuff, it's been uplifting to see how great people can be when they need to be great," Atlas said, and then paused. "Mike, I got two guys coming in with a truck."

I took that as my cue to let him continue the fight.

You can help Atlas in his efforts by buying a ticket to the foundation's dinner, which runs Thursday night from 7-11 p.m. at the Staten Island Hilton Garden Inn. Hall of Famers Goose Gossage and Sterling Sharpe, and many other boldface names, will be in attendance.

Call 718-980-7037, or click here for more info.

ESPN's Atlas helping those hit by storm

November, 3, 2012
Sandy hit Staten Island in vicious fashion, with 22 of the 40 people killed by the storm from that borough. ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas is a Staten Islander who is looking to help lift the shell-shocked citizens there. He runs a foundation, in honor of his father, Dr. Theodore Atlas, which helps out people who have fallen in between the cracks. The foundation, formed in 1997, will hold its 16th annual fundraising dinner on Nov. 15, and that is still a go, Atlas informs NYFightBlog.

Theodore Atlas was well-known in his community for accepting a chicken dinner, or an IOU, in exchange for performing a house call on the Island. His son is in total hustle mode this week, having set up a relief station at the foundation office on Cary Ave., where he and volunteers are collecting all manner of materials to help out local residents who were washed out of their homes.

Atlas told ESPN NY Friday night about the Foundation response. "We got about 10 volunteers to help us unload clothes, shoes, water, blankets, because so many people lost so much," he said. "We're getting vans to get the stuff to places it needs to go. We got more stuff coming in Monday, so we will follow with another mass distribution next week. It's a little overwhelming, the need that is out there right now. We're doing everything we can and supposed to do. We'll keep going and do everything we can to help the people that need it right now."

Staten Island fight writer Richardson is OK

November, 3, 2012
ESPN NY checked in with fellow fight writer Matt Richardson, a Staten Islander who writes for We asked him to share what he has experienced and is seeing.

"It's pure devastation in many areas on Staten Island," Richardson said. "Almost all of those killed in Sandy lived within a mile or less of my co-op apartment. My father had to come help me and my girlfriend escape as water was rushing into our complex. We didn't know when the water would stop or if another tide would come in. We walked three blocks with a petrified bulldog until we reached dry land (at least dry enough that we could access moving vehicles). At one point, the water was up to our upper chests. Cars and dumpsters were floating down the block. Some people were literally opening their second floor windows and screaming for help. It was unreal. A boat washed up down the block from me and was found in an Italian restaurant parking lot. A refrigerator is still laying in the woods behind my complex. Dumpsters floated for blocks.

"The used car dealerships have cars just laying on top of each other, moved into that position from the tsunami-like tidal wave that came in on Monday night. As a lifelong New Yorker, you kind of feel insulated from natural disasters, but not anymore. We lost both of our cars. I haven't had power or water in almost a week. It's easy to get depressed but then you realize how lucky you are in relation to others. The effect has been pretty amazing. Many people are uniting together to help each other out. Others are driving right through broken red lights without a care in the world. Thankfully, I think I've seen more of the former."

Matt, we are happy you survived; we are always happy when you show up at press conferences, because you always ask sharp and concise questions of the fighters, and that makes our job easier. We keep our fingers crossed for you, and the borough, and all affected by the storm.