2012-08-31 / Top Stories

Hurricane Irene: One Year Later

On Saturday morning, August 27, 2011, when west end residents greeted each other, the question was not, “How are you doing today,” but “Are you leaving?”

The question referred to the evacuation order for the entire peninsula, due to Hurricane Irene, declared by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday and set for 5 p.m. on Saturday evening.

And, despite the fact that Bloomberg said at a Sunday afternoon press conference that 80 percent of the residents of Rockaway left to weather the storm elsewhere, an empirical poll by Wave staffers over the weekend showed that the numbers were probably closer to 40 percent evacuating with 60 percent hunkering down in their homes and apartments.

In fact, a keen observer on Beach 129 Street watching a man push a supermarket cart filled with beer down Newport Avenue made the quintessential comment, calling the man and his cargo, “The real Rockaway evacuation plan.”

“We are selling more beer than bottled water,” said the owner of the small grocery store on the street, adding that he was selling every bottle of water and battery he could get a hold of.

Now, one year later, local residents are still waiting for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to pay off on the claims made as a result of Irene.

Here are some of the photographs that were shot in Rockaway that weekend, to remind you of the storm that forced the first-ever evacuation of the peninsula.

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