Broad Channel Bits

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Fall is here. For us in Broad Channel that means a few things. Cooler weather? Most days, yes. Celebrating Halloween? Absolutely!

It also marks another year since Hurricane Sandy. In one night, it engulfed our little town and all around us, and slammed all our lives into a new and unexpected direction.

Whether you’re thinking about it or not, I am sure you’re finding your thoughts drifting towards that Fall two years ago.

You’re probably thinking of that night and all the extraordinary days that followed.

More than that, you may be thinking about how far the Channel has come since then.

There’s still a long way to go, but we have traveled a long way so far since then. Wherever you are, today I hope you are a little bit closer to being home and being whole.

Well, the swans are back. The other day I saw this feathered family, all six of them, gliding along in a row at the edge of the bay.

I almost thought I heard them say, “Thanks for the mention in The Wave!”

Seriously though, I do truly appreciate the feedback, the observations and even the ‘keep up the good work” comments.

Get the kids dressed up and come out to the Halloween parade this Saturday, Oct. 25. They’ll love getting to wear their costumes more than once this year.

The Vollies are hosting this happening, which will kick off at 1 p.m. at 17th Road Park. It will end off at the BCVFD firehouse on Noel Road, where there will be refreshments! Join the fun.

For the big kids the American Legion’s Second Annual Halloween Party is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 8 p.m. to midnight! There will be great music by DJ’s@Work, cash prizes for best costumes, hot dogs, 50/50s, cash bar and more! Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go to support programs for our vets.

Get out of your coffin and call Carol at 917-930-0546 or Karen at 347-306-4851 for tickets. Last year’s party was a blast!

There is a Legion Auxiliary meeting on Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. There will be a brunch at the Legion on Sunday, Nov. 16. Proceeds will go towards the Children’s Christmas Party.

Planning an event? Call Joyce Adamiszyn at 718-479-3580, leave a message and hold a date for the Christ Presbyterian by the Sea Church Hall.

Stephanie Wagner’s Broad Channel Christmas Lights 2014 is having a super $5,000 Giveaway raffle, with nearly $10,000 in cash prizes in total. Check it out on Facebook. It’s $50 a ticket, and only 400 tickets will be sold. The drawing will be at the Bungalow Bar on Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. Donations of every size are also accepted at www.gofundme.- com/bclights.

As you know we are about to mark our collective second Oct. 29 since Sandy. First, my thanks to Judy Zack, Joyce Adamiszyn, Barbara Toborg, Father Ahlemeyer and Dan Mundy Jr. for their time and input on the “BC: Two Years After The Storm” article that appears elsewhere in this paper. Thank you, Broad Channel, for really writing the rest of the story itself.

Let me share with you a piece of the first BC Bits column I wrote after the storm. It opened like this:

“Last week I woke to thick, hazy fog just outside my window. But nothing else outside or in was the same. Then I realized I wasn’t in Broad Channel at all. Oddly there were street lights, cars, sounds and people going back and forth outside. Inside there were heat, lights, electricity and television chattering. Even telephones, cellphones and internet. A warm bed, hot water, hot food and refrigeration.

“Nobody else where I was staying after Hurricane Sandy could exactly understand why this was so strange to me.

“Like many Broad Channel people displaced by the storm, I am also living, temporarily I hope, elsewhere. Right now Broad Channel people are spread as far and wide as upstate New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas. I’ve met neighbors living in their half gutted, cold, unheated homes while repairs are made and the rest of the family is living elsewhere. We have stood in their ripped out living rooms, all the furniture and years of their lives gone. It’s slow going but they plan on coming back once the work is done.”

A little later, when we more settled into the bizarre new normal of our world, I wrote about “You’re probably from Broad Channel if…”

It included things like “…you’ve had more meals at the American Legion than at McDonalds” and “…you’ve done more shopping at the VFW than at Waldbaum’s.” Also there were gems like “… you are still holding for FEMA,” “…you have a t-shirt that says The Red Cross came to town…and all I got was this blanket!” and “…you couldn’t find your street because they finally moved the boat that landed there.”

And there was the classic “…you consider coffee a beverage, a meal and a heat source.” People were still asking me about that column, and quoting from it, nearly a year later.

I closed that ‘You’re Probably From BC, if” column with “…wherever in the world you are right now, whenever people ask, you will always proudly say ‘Me? I am from Broad Channel.’”

Two years later, I am looking now at both where we have been and where we are going. Something I wrote right after the storm I think sums things up, and is what I’d like to finish with today.

“It’s not possible to really set down in words the wreckage that Hurricane Sandy brought to Broad Channel, our home, our community. Along with neighbors I watched waves from the bay, as deep as 5 or 6 feet, roll down our streets.

“The morning after that terrible storm I met a woman walking down Cross Bay Boulevard. What she said to me then is what I wish to leave you and yours with now. ‘God bless you. You’re alive. God bless you, at least you’re alive.’

“For that, neighbor, I am most profoundly grateful.”

I still am.

Thanks for reading.

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