By KRISTA SALINARDI
In the famous words of the popular movie, “Grease”, “Sandy, can’t you see, I’m in misery,” holds true for the thousands of residents on Long Beach Island just days after New Jersey’s worst recorded hurricane to date.
If America thought Hurricane Katrina was destructive back in 2005, now, Sandy took the top of the leader board this year. Oct. 29, 2012 will forever be one of the marks in the history of our country, one that will stand out fresh in the minds of residents of the Jersey Shore, and the overall East Coast.
For the residents of New Jersey, this was no movie. It was a nightmare that communities like Long Beach Island and Seaside Heights, were torn apart in an uproar of fear, heartache and panic. Total chaos swept the 18 mile stretch island and damage was crucial.
“Right before you get into Holgate, you actually couldn’t tell if it was Holgate or Beach Haven,” Barnegat Light resident, John Brancato said. “The amount of damage was unreal. You had to see it with your own eyes to believe it.”
According to Long Beach Township Mayor, Joe Mancini on NJ.com, he states that, “it will take at least $700 million to remake the entire island; it will cost $200 million alone just to get the sand off the roads and back on the beach.”
After the unprecedented damage, a strict curfew was set by the Long Beach Island Law Enforcement from 11 p.m- 5 a.m. However, according to newsworks.org, Governor Christie has lifted the evacuation order, allowing residents to start salving as much of their things as manageable. Conditions aren’t as crucial as they were, but the island has forever been changed.
The North End of the Island
On the North end of the island, North Beach was completely turned upside down, destroying houses, spreading large piles of sand along the areas, making it hard to get to and from places, according to Stacy Mandara, Long Beach Island employee of Kubel’s restaurant. All of this and including the excessive amount of debris, made it unsuitable for locals, which led to emergency evacuation off the island during this treacherous time, Mandara added.
Kubel’s restaurant, located in Barnegat Light at the North end of the island received minimal damage. But like the rest of the island, Kubel’s was left without power, leaving employees without work for over three weeks.
“Property values on the North end have gone up 40 percent,” Kubel’s server, Stacy Mandara said. “Since it was the least damaged part of the island, it’s going to be a desirable spot this summer, which will be good for our business.”
“The restaurant was able to restore all its functions a month after the storm,” Mandara said. “Business is good, maybe even a little busier than before Sandy. The island itself is getting busier every day with trucks and clean up; all day, every day.”
The South End of the Island
The South end got hit the hardest, leaving all of the businesses shut down for several more months. Almost two months since the storm, several towns like Holgate, Loveladies, refuse to give money to rebuild given that the dunes caved in destroying properties.
Since Hurricane Sandy, “Restore the Shore,” a community organization based off of a Crowdfunded Benefit has been the ‘go-to’ campaign to help raise money for those that lost their homes and personal belongings. According to their official site, Restore the Shore donates 100 percent of its benefits going towards the American Red Cross. According to restoretheshore.coworking.com, so far, they’ve raised more than $130,000.
According to MTV.com, some of the biggest stars in entertainment, most that have the shore to thank for their fame, has been giving back to help rebuild the place we all love.
“As hard as Sandy has been for the people on the East Coast, it has actually brought us all together to help one another survive,” said Mandara, who resides in Manahawkin, New Jersey. “We will get through this. We aren’t ‘Jersey Strong’ for nothing.”
Other contributions targets go to Move For Hunger, Stand With Staten Island, and Heal Hoboken. Any little bit will help those struggling just to get by. One day. One storm. One life can be transformed into the unthinkable, the unimaginable, and this is the time where everyone will depend on each other to make it through every single passing day since this tragedy.
The Devastation of Seaside Heights
Another well-known area of New Jersey, Seaside Heights received damage as well after the horrific storm. Every corner was blocked off by police officers; almost all of the homes and its belongings were destroyed and left on the curb for pick up where backhoe loaders gathered the remaining debris, placing it in a landfill setting that was once a softball field.
An older resident described the water level his house exceeded from the storm. Pointing to the siding of his home, roughly four feet of water seeped through. Given that his home, along with most of the homes in Seaside are one-level structures, he merely lost everything.
As hard was New Jersey was hit from the storm, doesn’t take away how strong the communities are. With time, New Jersey has faith that it will be rebuilt. Many are positive it will be even better than before. In order to donate, TEXT SHORE to 85944. Any little bit will help.