Now Comes The Hard Part
It has been more than six weeks since the storm surge came out of the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay and joined to wreck havoc on the Rockaway peninsula. The days after the storm went by quickly and left us in shock and disbelief. When it became apparent at the end of that first week that the restoration of electricity might well be a month away and with temperatures falling, many reluctantly decided that it was time to seek shelter elsewhere. The Nor’easter that covered the sand and debris with snow only added to the immediacy of the decision. Those who remained had their lives reduced to routine. With no way of getting food or supplies, trips to emergency centers such as the large one at St. Francis de Sales Church became the highlight of the day. With no cell phone service or electricity, exchanging information, whether true or rumor, became the local pastime. For many, this was the first time that they were “victims” of an event that was getting national attention. That realization came to one Wave editor when he was staying in Huntington Station with a relative. He went into a drugstore to get some supplies and was asked if he would like to donate some money to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. He replied, with sudden realization that he was a victim of Hurricane Sandy, as are we all. Now comes the hard part – rebuilding. Many locals are not coming back. Businesses that did not have insurance and were marginal at best will probably not return. The rest of us have to move on despite FEMA representatives who turn us down and city Rapid Repair crews that are not rapid and do not repair; insurance companies who tell us that our insurance premiums paid for paper that is now worthless and people who try and sell us services that we do not need. Rockaway is resilient and it will return. It might well take more than a year or two, but it will happen.