Belle Harbor, Neponsit, the Rockaways. After Hurricane Sandy, Restoration. - Page 2
All that ended when Hurricane sandy barreled through the area slopping its handiwork and chaos on every street of the peninsula, on every house, at every door. To say the place will never be the same again is an understatement. The seascape has been flattened and matted and tangled with debris, rot, sodden lumber and sheet rock, bits and pieces of furniture both modern and antique and plastic and detrius of every size, shape and form.
I could see this from TV coverage, but the extent of the desolation even beggared my imagination when I drove through Broad Channel over the Cross Bay Bridge to the peninsula. The streets of Belle Harbor were layered with sand and strewn with mounds of debris. Dust covered the trees, the workers and browned a community once clean and light-filled and airy. As sanitation trucks, bulldozers, and other city units did their work, I drove down a favorite street to the end to view the beach at my once secret place of refuge. The ocean was magnificent; the foaming waves at low tide rose and fell with the regular rhythms of life, like the earth's breath. But when I turned around and looked back up the street from where I stood, or looked down the coastline to the east and then the west, I was reminded of its perilousness and witchery. To live by the ocean, one takes one's life in one's hands and throws caution to a Hurricane Sandy. That is the allure, that is the repulsion.
You have to be a special type of person to seek out and live in a beachside community. The vast number of individuals who live on the NYC coastline who have been devastated will rebuild with the help of FEMA and their various insurance companies.
One friend who lives in Woodmere which is not in NYC and thus was not as badly tormented by the storm surge, but nevertheless received extensive damage, said that there were three insurance adjusters he talked to. What the other two insurers didn't pick up, FEMA took over. It sounded like an extremely complicated process, but already in the period of these last weeks since Sandy flooded his first floor and wiped out his car, pumps had sucked out the water. Everything, including furniture, appliances, rugs, any and all miscellaneous items were thrown away; raw sewage had wrapped its noxious and deadly fingers on all it flowed over, fouling it for the junk heap. Sheet rock, insulation, wiring, etc., had been pulled down, timbers washed and chemicals sprayed against mold and sepsis. New electrical and plumbing systems including, heating/air conditioning, boiler, etc. replaced the stinking, swamped old ones. New walls were being hammered into place; appliances, furniture, linens, dishes, etc. had been ordered. In short the process to restore his home to livability was proceeding if not necessarily smoothly, at least steadily while, he stayed elsewhere in hotels and with friends and relatives.Continued on the next page