Dozens of schoolchildren, parents and teachers came to a pre-Thanksgiving Day celebration at the swanky 40/40 club at Barclays Center on Monday.
Among them were Deandre and Deanaye Thomas, who after being exiled from their Red Hook home by Hurricane Sandy's surge and resulting power outages, got the VIP treatment in a luxurious atmosphere designed by Brooklyn Nets co-owner Jay-Z.
"It's nice. It's really nice," said Deanaye, 11, who along with Deandre, 14, attends Brooklyn School For Collaborative Studies in Cobble Hill.
Driven out of their first-floor apartment at Red Hook Houses by the storm, the Thomases have been living with their grandmother in East New York for more than two weeks.
So it was with a sense of thankfulness appropriate for the occasion that both reported that the power and heat had recently been restored and that they had returned home — at last.
"We're happy to be back," Deandre said.
Adeola Armory-Spencer, a teacher at the school, said evidence of the disaster didn't stop at her classroom door.
"There's only one student I have that wasn't affected by the storm," she said.
Since Sandy hit, Armory-Spencer has been trying to carry on as usual. But with many students displaced by the storm, it's been difficult.
So Monday's dinner, which included a chance to watch No. 1 college basketball team Indiana play Georgia in the semifinals of the Legends Classic, proved to be a welcome diversion.
"They're expected to be back," Armory-Spencer said of her kids. "They're expecting to return to a degree of normalcy."