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kakumei47 4th November 2012 07:44 AM

Our studios were completely destroyed by Sandy
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Me and some friends built two studios and thirteen production rooms/practice spaces over most of the last year. We had an opening party a month ago and thing were going really, really well. Here's some info on the space:

Two Studios For The Price of One: Translator Audio & The Civil Defense Join Forces at South Sound : SonicScoop – Creative, Technical & Business Connections For NYC’s Music & Sound Community

Sandy brought a six foot wall of salt water that tore through the space after bursting a garage door in the building and destroyed everything. It's such a crushing blow to have this happen when we spent more time building than the few short months we were able to enjoy working there. My studio The Civil Defense, my friend's spot Translator Audio, and all of the other engineers and bands involved in The South Sound had our entire space and our gear destroyed and submerged in 5-6 feet of salt water, sewage, and whatever else lives in the Gowanus canal. Walls caved in, doors ripped apart, a BBQ grill from four rooms away lying on many thousands of dollars of microphones on the floor. Almost nothing was spared. We have insurance for much of the studio gear, but as you know there is so much that goes beyond the itemized gear, and the build is not covered at all.

I know there are a lot of people in serious need around the northeast right now, but if you want to help out here are some things we could use a hand with:

Local studios that can help us get in and finish mixing and/or tracking sessions.

Safe storage space, preferably with a utility sink or something so we can try to clean, dry, and restore any gear that might be salvageable. Also utility shelves to help us keep our things in storage organized.

Help this weekend (or the near future) moving console frames out of the studio.

Help cleaning + trying to restore consoles, tape machines, rack gear and amps if possible.

Money donations to help us rebuild and get a new space going. We sunk everything we had in this and were only open a few months. We set up a page for donations to the two recording studios (Translator Audio and The Civil Defense) and for The South Sound here: Un-Flood BK Music.

Bands and people anywhere who may be willing to set up and/or play benefit shows to help raise funds to rebuild.

Leads/advice on any disaster relief funds, grants, or loans that may be relevant to us to help us get back on our feet.

Please send emails to BOTH [email protected] (the civil defense) and [email protected] (translator). Thanks!

loopzilla6 4th November 2012 08:56 AM

Just sent an email to translatoraudio at gmail. Let me know if I can help.

mr. torture 4th November 2012 12:41 PM

Didn't you have insurance?

jayson_p 4th November 2012 03:28 PM

One can only look at the before and after pics to have a full appreciation for the damage done. That totally sucks.
I'm hoping against hope that you specifically had National Flood Insurance - there's no doubt that commercial insurance carriers are going to begin the semantics dance real soon and do everything they can to avoid paying out a single dime for anything.

Here's some links that I hope everybody takes a look at -

The National Flood Insurance Program |
Flood Insurance | Flood Maps | Flood Risk | FloodSmart

Don't think that a policy from a commercial insurance company has you covered in a situation like this - it definitely doesn't. Check the maps here and make sure you're not in a flood-plain; if you are you really should get the FEMA coverage- they're the only ones who'll actually pay a claim for flood damage. (and as a consideration point for this Tuesday; you probably want to steer clear of any politician who says they want to "privatize" FEMA)

kakumei47 4th November 2012 03:30 PM


Originally Posted by mr. torture (Post 8416816)
Didn't you have insurance?

Um. Yeah. So if we potentially lost about $200k in gear then we should get a lot of that back. But we just built out a 7000 sq ft space (2000ish for the studios). Floated floors. Huge expense in labor and materials. Two studios wired to six rooms each (thousands in in-wall wiring). All our room treatments. Lots of stuff not on the itemized lists for insurance (books, tape, art, some gear accidentally left off, etc). We have a whole storage room we could just get into by breaking through an adjoining wall with tape, cabinets, manuals, parts, projects, 703, tools, etc that is almost all now garbage.
Our building insurance does not cover hurricane flooding (as with most). So the monetary loss is still pretty huge on that as we had a ten year lease, built from March until the end of July, and were only open three months.

So in short yes we are luckily insurance will help with gear but we are collectively massively in the hole still on this.

Audio X 4th November 2012 03:55 PM

Wow. I could only imagine and do know the amount of work, blood and sweat that would go into a place like this only to have it destroyed.

Hoping many people send good vibes and more importantly help and money to rebuild your way.

Good luck.

GearAndGuitars 4th November 2012 04:29 PM


nms 4th November 2012 04:53 PM

Wow that's terrible. I hope you guys at least have some luck with the insurance outcome.

Ross H 4th November 2012 04:55 PM

My loss wasn't close to the magnitude of yours but I can empathize as my studio flooded last year during a hurricane. About 25k ruined. I was installing a new console and had my entire studio torn out and parted out all over the floor and then it flooded. Large amount of water entered the studio quickly...I had meters full of water like your pics show.

I have a home studio with additional homeowners policy for the gear but the most difficult part of the process is getting the insurance to appraise the gears proper value. It falls under electronics and next to clothes, "Electronics" depreciate faster than any other item in a homeowner policy. I know you have a commercial policy but insurance is insurance and the game is the same. The "value" of that tape machine to your business is far greater than the amount they will want to pay you...unfortunately. When all was said and done I got about 60% of the gears value replaced, the other I am still building back.

But as you have said, it's the effort you put into the space that is the most painful. You would think losing a $4000 preamp would hurt most but for me it was the hardwood floor that I installed by hand that was curled and needed to be replaced.

What I learned is that after Katrina flooded NewOrleans, the federal government created policy that forces insurance companies to make a settlement quickly due to the fact that so many peoples primary dwelling were inhabitable and it took the insurance companies forever to pay. This is a good and bad thing. You might find an overwhelming amount of customer service and willingness to get immediate cash in you of course will be happy to take it to get going on rebuilding, but be careful...from that point on, the customer service disappears and all of a sudden you will hear how "busy" they are dealing with claims and you get put in a never ending pile. Push hard to get as much money as possible in that initial payment.

Best of luck to you. The place looked killer before...make it better.


jayson_p 4th November 2012 09:09 PM

I have think that it would be wise to have a good attorney on board with you. I don't expect we're likely to see any huge outpourings of altruism from the insurance industry in the wake of the floods.The laws have been pretty much written by insurance industry lobbyists and flooding offers huge loopholes for the insurance companies to capitalize on in delaying and denying claims. It's pretty lousy PR for them but it does pay off because by the time they make chicken-feed settlements the storm is long forgotten.

Dpro 4th November 2012 09:56 PM

My heart goes out to the OP, I hope you can pull it together and get a decent insurance settlement.

TimDolbear 4th November 2012 10:09 PM

So very sorry for your loss.

Dayl 4th November 2012 10:30 PM

This is terrible news, I'm sorry I can't help. Truly gut wrenching. All that hard work. I wish you all the best. Keep your head high, this time will pass.

cananball 4th November 2012 10:37 PM

I have worked in restoration business. It is possible to restore some electronics. you need to clean the components with deionized water and thoroughly dry it with dehumidification. There are companies that specialize in this service if you have great that cannot be replaced. If you can get your hand on a deionizer you could attempt it yourself.

Sent from my DROIDX

asylumdigital 4th November 2012 10:46 PM

The damage done last week has been heartbreaking... Hang in there.

Joao B. 4th November 2012 11:32 PM

Devastating. Hang in there!

sage691 4th November 2012 11:58 PM

Katrina victim here. Trust me, I know what you are going thru; it's absolutely devastating, and makes you wonder about if it's worth it to have so much blood, sweat and tears tied up in physical possessions.

My prayers are with you concerning the insurance companies; IME they will do everything in their power to avoid giving you even 50% of what all that stuff is really worth.

Now whenever even a tropical storm is approaching New Orleans I pack up everything I own into a large van and get the hell out of town. I even gutted my Trident 80b recently to evacuate, placing all the channel strips into boxes with lots of bubble wrap.

IME this is the only truly effective insurance policy for a natural disaster; being prepared to get out with your stuff and take matters into your own hands. Insurance companies are con artists with licenses that will do everything in their power to avoid doing what they were paid to do. You pay them, but when disaster strikes on a large scale they are trying to hold onto their "profits" at all costs !

DO NOT just assume you are "covered" because you have a policy. That was one of the hardest lessons I have ever learned !

And I no longer have insurance for this reason !

I sincerely wish you the very best in all of this.

unit7 5th November 2012 01:27 AM


Originally Posted by FullCount (Post 8418317)
Either way, i'd rather not continue this conversation since it's inappropriate in this thread.

Exactly. If you or anybody here care about the OP, go donate instead of the bla bla. I just did. Small amount but nevertheless felt just right. This story is just heartbreaking. Good luck to you guys.

tekis 5th November 2012 04:02 AM

I am very sorry for your loss.

kakumei47 5th November 2012 04:20 AM

Thanks all for the comments and support! Yeah, or course we learned a lot that would make us do things differently next time. But we had no idea we would be taking in a roughly six foot wall of water in an area that has never flooded. Seven of us busted our asses right until the hurricane began peaking and the water started to spill over the banks of the canal. Although I wish he had a better Idea of the scope of the coming damage I do feel at least that we tried, albeit for the wrong type of onslaught. We put up 210 sandbags and had all the critical gear up high, but thought if it leaked it would rise and not tear through in one spot at once and overturn everything and twist metal doors and tear out walls. The f-ing piano was thrown across the room and split a door in half.

But the outpouring of support from friends, local engineers, family, and folks online has definitely made getting through this feel better. Thanks!

Uncle Bob 5th November 2012 05:21 AM

I feel for you guys. I sustained about $100k in damages (that includes structural) in the Nor'easter of April '07. I made out okay this time, but I empty the studio and sandbag the basement door and windows whenever there is a serious event predicted.

My brother-in-law was a bubble head in the Navy (nuclear submarines). Here was his advice on salt water drenched and "polluted" electronics gear. If you possibly can you disassemble each piece of gear down to the individual circuit boards and wash everything in clean water with a very soft toothbrush and find a way to dry it quickly; sunshine would be a problem these days, but a hair dryer on low heat or just blow will be fine; or stick them in a dish rack and use a fan.

As you clean everything be sure to get the serial numbers if they are still legible.

The odds are, like me, your equipment receipts were in the studio and got drowned as well. Start calling your vendors and getting copies of your sales receipts and estimates on replacement costs.

Apply to FEMA. I got laughed at - $100k was a "minor" loss according to them - but you guys seem to have more invested than I did. The SBA will have some great deals going, especially with the current interest rates. Apply immediately for the absolute top amount of money you can imagine you would need to rebuild; the key is applying NOW so your application is on the top of the pile. Be patient with the SBA rep; they are hamstrung by rules, regulations and red tape. But if you listen to them very, very carefully and read between the lines they can help you navigate through all of the crap.

And I know that it's tough to swallow right now, but be grateful. You are alive and you still have all of your talents. It's just stuff, expensive stuff, stuff you love, but just stuff. I managed to rescue a few pieces of gear using my brother-in-laws advice, and hopefully you will too. Get to work and work long and hard - fixing the problem gets your mind off of the problem after a few days.

Keep the faith!!!!!!!

RockKato 5th November 2012 06:01 AM

I am with you, I lost about $300,000 so far in this one in my new studio I moved into in Hoboken. Opened up on June 18th and went "all-in" Insurance has denied my claim 100%. I'm in the same boat, pun intended. Not sure what I'm gonna do at this point but the dip and clean thing has really gotten to be "groundhog day"

filipv 5th November 2012 07:17 AM

Truly heartbreaking. My thoughts are with you.

Fortunately, sandy couldn't take what's most valuable: your talent. Be strong!

Best wishes from Macedonia.

sage691 5th November 2012 07:23 AM


Originally Posted by RockKato (Post 8418847)
I am with you, I lost about $300,000 so far in this one in my new studio I moved into in Hoboken. Opened up on June 18th and went "all-in" Insurance has denied my claim 100%. I'm in the same boat, pun intended. Not sure what I'm gonna do at this point but the dip and clean thing has really gotten to be "groundhog day"

Sorry to hear this !

The thing about insurance is they are always looking for a "technicality" reason to get out of paying, or to pay the least amount. They'll say that if you did not specifically have a "flood" policy then you are not covered for anything.

And even if you do have a "flood" policy, they'll try and find something else. The adjusters are like sleazy car salesmen trying to take you for a ride, and are well trained to be like this.

And for any "vintage" gear (like U47, for example) you'll have a very hard time convincing them the worth of it. They won't even look at anything else but the going rate for new items that can be verified by large scale commercial dealers.

If we really did live in a democracy then the vast majority of "for profit" insurance companies would have been terminated from existence a long time ago !

Wish you the best my friend -- I understand your pain.


kakumei47 5th November 2012 07:32 AM


Originally Posted by RockKato (Post 8418847)
I am with you, I lost about $300,000 so far in this one in my new studio I moved into in Hoboken. Opened up on June 18th and went "all-in" Insurance has denied my claim 100%. I'm in the same boat, pun intended. Not sure what I'm gonna do at this point but the dip and clean thing has really gotten to be "groundhog day"

Also very sorry to hear this. What insurance did you have? FYI for whoever Musicpro *supposedly* covers flood damage.

RockKato--Contact Justin Colletti of Trust Me I'm a Scientist and Sonic Scoop. He's doing a piece on studios and other music people hurt by Sandy.

Analogue Kid 5th November 2012 10:19 AM

Seriously bad news
Hi mate

Just want to say that I am devastated for you- I really am :-(

I hope you can recover from this

If I was in your position I would pack the lot in and spend the insurance money on my family - its just not worth the heartache - it really isn't

Hope you guys are ok !!!


Analogue Baby - World-Class Surround-Capable Mixing & Tracking Facility

RMJAZZ 5th November 2012 01:51 PM

I wonder if there was a way to see what everyone's needs are (damaged studio wise) and organize a Gearslutz drive for things like 703, raw cabling etc.....most of us with studios have at least something sitting around that we don't really need...or leftover items from our build-out that just collect dust. Maybe some of those things could be a major blessing to some that lost a lot in this storm. I'm in northern Virginia and have a mini van to carry some stuff up if anyone wants to PM me and start working on this.

I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the Gearslutz 10 year birthday then by helping our colleagues in need...

georgia 5th November 2012 02:50 PM

I have a lot of raw cabling and stuff in storage I can give you, Including ReAn patch bays from my old place... even some gear.. if it will help.. call me.


strings 5th November 2012 03:55 PM

I don't know if anyone has posted this yet, but Soundtoys is donating all online sales today to Storm Relief:

SoundToys – Professional Effects Plug-Ins

frans 5th November 2012 04:45 PM


Originally Posted by RMJAZZ (Post 8419462)
I wonder if there was a way to see what everyone's needs are (damaged studio wise) and organize a Gearslutz drive for things like 703, raw cabling etc.....most of us with studios have at least something sitting around that we don't really need..

Yes, if WE don't help our brothers/sisters, then WHO? Do you have an account where I can donate some money for you?