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  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted November 15, 2012 by
    beachtar
    Location
    Belle Harbor, New York
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    'Superstorm' Sandy: Your stories

    beachtar and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Sandy's damage across the East Coast
    More from beachtar

    Breezy Point: Two Weeks Out

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     beachtar captured these photos of the aftermath of Sandy in Breezy Point, NY, on Wednesday, November 14. "I love the community of Breezy Point and visit there on my bike three or four times each week. I had to see how they were doing," he says. "Walking through the ashes... I felt a bit like I was walking on sacred ground. I sensed a solemn and somber atmosphere, but this is a close-knit community and where people were congregating, you could actually see smiles and hear laughter."
    - Anika3, CNN iReport producer

    The waters have receded and the fires have gone out. Now the residents of Breezy Point are beginning the sad task of salvaging what they can of their belongings and of the lives they led before Hurricane Sandy. The unprecedented ‘superstorm’ slammed into this quiet beachside community, flattening homes and spawning fires that burned a nearly ten-block swathe in the very heart of the neighborhood. The fires caused such catastrophic damage because, along with 90-mile-per-hour winds, the houses here are so close together that neighbors can literally reach out their windows and shake hands.

     

    I live only four miles from Breezy and have visited it on my bike more than 500 times in the past 20 years. The community I saw today, I saw for the first time. The hub of activity occurred along the one main road that runs the length of the town. As I’ve witnessed in Belle Harbor and in Coney Island, aid poured in from near and far. Utility trucks from Quebec worked side by side with fire trucks from New Canaan, CT. The national Guard worked tirelessly cooking, cleaning up streets, and providing security. And New York Mets players Dylan Gee and Bobby Parnell showed up to talk with residents and stand for pictures.

     

    Summer days in Breezy Point, especially on the weekends, are alive with energy and activity. Today, away from the main road, it was eerily quiet. A couple with a wagon was moving sodden carpeting from their home. Neighbors who had not seen each other since the storm commiserated. One or two bulldozers loaded rubble into a large truck. And here and there people were taking photos with their iPhones.

     

    As I walked around, I spoke with a number of people. One woman told me she was elated to have saved her grandfather’s 100-year-old accordion. A man who had been a Brooklyn fire fighter for 40 years sat outside his damaged home clasping a cup of coffee for warmth. I asked what he planned to do and he told me without hesitation that he’d fix it as soon as he could. So, while the mood was somber, you got a strong feeling from these people that they and their community would be back.

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