9 Years Since Sandy: Then and Now

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It’s hard to believe we’re nine years out from the storm that debilitated the peninsula—Hurricane Sandy. But we’ve come a long way. Homes that burned have been rebuilt, new businesses have arrived, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hard at work, constructing new jetties and getting ready for Phase 2 of creating a reinforced dune, to protect the peninsula from future storms. Memories and photos that captured the devastation in the days after the storm are the now biggest reminders of where we’ve come from since October 29, 2012. (Before photos by Melisa Ritchie and Rob Romas. After photos by Katie McFadden.)

Hurricane Sandy left destruction in its path in various ways. A photo by Melisa Ritchie captured it all in one shot. Firefighters were still putting out flames the morning after on the fire that destroyed businesses along Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Cars were tossed like toys as flood waters rushed across the peninsula, turning streets into beaches. Nine years later, that devastation is long gone, and the boulevard has changed tremendously with Capitol One turning into a CityMD and new businesses replacing the old ones that burned down.

 On Beach 97th Street, ocean waves lifted the boardwalk and shifted it right into the concession stand. Since then, the boardwalk has been replaced with a concrete walkway and the concessions have undergone a huge transformation, first under the Rockaway Beach Club. Now the concessions have been given more renewed life as Rockaway Beach Bazaar took over the contract this past summer, with plans to turn Beach 97th into a year-round concession.

Not everything has changed since Sandy. The elderly residents of the Beach 125th Street Chai Home, or the former Hotel Del Mar, never returned after Sandy and the oceanfront property has mostly gone untouched, besides by raccoons looking for a home and trespassing partygoers. However, there may be hope for the long-neglected property. This spring, BHHS Laffey International Realty advertised the 1.1-acre property for sale. But at a whopping $10.9 million, so far, there have been no takers.

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