Summer after Sandy

This interactive project highlights some dramatic images from the aftermath of superstorm Sandy and the recovery efforts on Long Island. Photos on the left show the damage after the storm; photos on the right show those areas now. Move the slider -- the vertical divider between each set of photos -- left or right for the full photo. Mobile users can tap anywhere on a photo to move the slider. Internet Explorer users should note this is optimized for IE9 and above.

Oak Island

South Bay flooded Oak Island homes during superstorm Sandy. Those not completely destroyed are in the midst of repairs.

Photo credit: News12 Long Island (Oct. 30, 2012 and May 14, 2013)

before after
I am married and I spend every weekend with my girlfriend Sandy. And my wife is OK with it. - Oak Beach Bob

With the rush of seasonal residents not yet started, most of the activity along Oak Beach Road comes from construction crews renovating homes damaged by Sandy. The few full-timers with homes not completely destroyed by flooding, like retired salesman Richard Blee, 67, can be found washing their boats or making repairs. During Sandy, water flooded the space under his raised home. Boating equipment, beach furniture, old family pictures and a Christmas tree were destroyed, but he was able to avoid the worst of it. However, the same floodwaters that spilled under Blee’s home hit the neighbor’s house head on. The first floor is being gutted and raised up on pilings.

Richard Shanley, 73, a semi-retired attorney who owns a home off the water, said a log, “probably from Fire Island” crossed the inlet, smashed through the gate to his driveway and landed on his property. He lost a dock and saw damage to his kitchen and porches. His 1973 Volkswagen convertible was almost totaled. Recently he could be found mounding sand around his mother-in-law’s nearby house, which was also damaged.

One man, who would only identify himself as "Oak Beach Bob," said he has lived off Oak Beach Road for 11 years. After Sandy, he had to stay out of his home for five weeks. The work to fix the home, which he said escaped severe damage, continues. “I am married and I spend every weekend with my girlfriend Sandy. And my wife is OK with it.” - CARL CORRY

Long Beach: West End

Only about half of the residents in the West End section of Long Beach have returned to their homes since Sandy wiped out the area’s one-level bungalows and the first floors of many two- and three-story homes.

Photo credit: Doug Kuntz (Nov. 2, 2012 and May 14, 2013)

before after
Long Beach will be back and better than ever. - Jacilene La Borne

When the floodwaters swept down Indiana Avenue, Patrick Jackson was dealt two blows. The home he and his wife purchased and renovated about a year ago took in more than 3 feet of water and 2 feet of sand. Five doors down, the house he was in the process of selling was also badly damaged. “We were supposed to go to contract on that house the Monday after the storm,” said Jackson, 55.

While the first floor of his current residence remains gutted, he’s repairing his former house, so it can at least be rented until the market recovers. He’s had problems with his insurance company. His wife is also coping with lung cancer, but he’s not one to complain. Jackson considers himself lucky compared with those who don’t have the means to rebuild -- and those living in the West End’s one-level homes.

Roommates Morgan Cestari, 24, and Jacilene La Borne, 26, moved into a second-floor apartment on the West End last spring. Despite Sandy’s impact on the area, they’re glad they did. “I don't know how you could ever give up on this place … The sense of community down here is just unreal,” La Borne said.

Though the bar scene is quieter than usual and the nearest grocery store is still closed, they say the neighborhood is slowly coming back. They’ve even noticed new people moving in. “People are still drawn to here,” La Borne said. “Long Beach will be back and better than ever.” - TARA CONRY

Jones Beach boardwalk

Of all of Long Island’s state parks, Jones Beach required the most repairs, with park employees, state agencies and 17 contractors beginning the work within days of the storm.

Photo credit: News12 Long Island (Oct. 30, 2012 and May 14, 2013)

before after
The water and the catch are still the same. But now, it looks like there’s a huge sandbar right off the beach. - Dante Milazzo

Storm surges upturned many sections of the iconic boardwalk and left other areas unstable. Since then, pilings have been replaced, with the Central Mall given additional support. The decking is also being repaired. State officials say the boardwalk will be usable by Memorial Day, but new railings may not be installed by then.

Officials expect repairs to continue throughout the summer, including to Field 10 fishing piers and the boat basin. They are also building new storm-resistant lifeguard buildings and umbrella stands. For the past month, Hicksville resident and avid fisherman Dante Milazzo has been fishing the ocean along Jones Beach. “The water and the catch are still the same,” Milazzo said. “But now, it looks like there’s a huge sandbar right off the beach. There’s more sewage, too."

But the disrepair doesn’t stop Milazzo from fishing there, and he doesn’t think it will deter beachgoers, either. “I think people will still come to the beach,” he said. “People are going to want to check it out and see what’s going on.” - NEWSDAY STAFF

Freeport's Nautical Mile

When superstorm Sandy pummeled the Nautical Mile in Freeport, Tropix bar and restaurant was devastated by the storm surge, high winds and a raging fire.

Photo credits: J. Conrad Williams Jr. (Nov. 1, 2012); Newsday / Danielle Finkelstein (May 14, 2013)

before after
Each day that we’re not open in the summer, I can’t recoup that in October … or in November. That’s why it’s critical for us to get open. - Chris Squeri

Chris Squeri is racing the clock. His outdoor nightclub -- Tropix on the Mile -- is still a construction zone as a crew works to rebuild the bar and restaurant in time for Memorial Day, the start of the summer season. Though Squeri and his co-owners pay taxes on their business year-round, it’s only open during the summer.

“We live off of three to four months,” said Squeri, 40, of Freeport. “Each day that we’re not open in the summer, I can’t recoup that in October … or in November. That’s why it’s critical for us to get open.” Squeri grew up boating out of the Nautical Mile and listening to his grandfather tell stories of the bar he once owned in Manhattan. After working on the Mile for more than a decade and owning a marina in Freeport, he opened Tropix in 2012 along with his partners, Michael Danon and Rocco Anastasio.

The establishment had been open less than a year when it was hit by Sandy. Although Tropix's deck was submerged in water, the worst damage occurred once waters receded and a fire that had broken out in a neighboring building spread to Tropix. Squeri’s business suffered more than $1 million in damage and was demolished in December. Rebuilding began as soon as the weather would allow, and by mid-May, the outdoor bar and deck were nearly completed. Squeri vowed they would be open for Memorial Day, but the restaurant will take more time.

“It will be a regular bar, without food, for the first week,” he said, “but that’s better than nothing.” - TARA CONRY

East Massapequa

Many of the East Massapequa homes that sit directly on the Great South Bay are vacant. Storm surges during superstorm Sandy ripped apart walls, shattered windows and washed away parts of the houses.

Photo credits: Johnny Milano (Nov. 9, 2012); Tara Conry (May 20, 2013)

before after
I don’t think people on the water have gotten a lot of the help they should have gotten.
- Marcia Baltz

When Sandy destroyed William Ferro's waterfront home on the corner of Clocks Boulevard and Bayview Place, he knew just what to do. "I knew the process a little bit better than everybody else," said Ferro, 38, who had just finished repairing the damage left by Hurricane Irene when Sandy struck. "I was one of the first to get done."

Ferro isn't living in the house, though. He's trying to sell it. All of the houses on the south side of Bayview Place are vacant now except for Marcia Beltz's home. After the home she had been living in since 1965 sustained fire damage in 2009, she replaced it two years ago with a prefabricated house that was built to meet new codes at the time. It was raised 5 feet, the roof was hurricane-strapped and the entire house was insulated with spray foam. “It will withstand 120-mile winds,” she said.

Sandy tested Baltz’s new home, slamming it with 10-foot waves and strong gusts. When the storm passed, the deck and 15-foot lighthouse in her backyard were gone, but her house was unscathed. Her next-door neighbor’s house, at 3 Bayview Place, was destroyed. What does remain of it may soon be demolished, along with its garage, which now sits on Baltz’s property. The home is one of two houses on the block surrounded by temporary chain link fences. The other is currently under contract.

Baltz recommends that residents living on the water follow her example when rebuilding their homes “if they are able to.” Her daughter, Stacy, and son-in-law, Rob Walker, want to rebuild their home, which is on the other end of the canal, but they don’t know if they can afford to. They are still displaced. “It’s a shame,” Baltz added. “I don’t think people on the water have gotten a lot of the help they should have gotten.” - TARA CONRY

Smith Point Beach

A sense of rejuvenation is washing over visitors after the boardwalk was recently repaired and debris has been cleared. The beach, too, seems to be making a natural comeback.

Photo credit: Joseph D. Sullivan (Nov. 16, 2012); Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara (May 9, 2013)

before after
Everything was flattened like a bulldozer, leveled like a putting green. - John Baehler

John Baehler, 69, moved to Shirley from Blue Point 22 years ago in part to have easy access to Smith Point Beach. He comes with his wife Nelida, 79, and son, Edwin Jonathan, 40, to the shore every week.

Baehler said he was “devastated” by the destruction superstorm Sandy wrought on the beach. “Everything was flattened like a bulldozer, leveled like a putting green,” he said. Dunes were washed away or pushed into the parking lot, a portion of the cement walkway crumbled, main stairs to the boardwalk were destroyed and piers overlooking the beach were left jutting out with no support beneath them. A new inlet was created east of Moriches Bay. Now the stairs and the walkway have been repaired and the inlet has been filled in. The beach, too, has “regenerated somehow,” Baehler said. “It says this beach is going to outlast all of us.”

Christina Fuzie, 40, also of Shirley, takes a stroll along the boardwalk with her son Anthony, 1, nearly every day. She said she’s been impressed by the amount of reconstruction since Sandy. “I’ve been here my whole life, and I thought we lost it.” Now, she said, “The beach looks beautiful, it’s come a long way.” - CARL CORRY

Lindenhurst: Shore Road

When the more than 4 feet of water that flooded Shore Road in Lindenhurst receded, the damage left behind was both material and emotional.

Photo credit: James Carbone (Oct. 30, 2012 and May 9, 2013)

before after
If I could get out of here tomorrow, I would. - Lisa Lanzieri

The empty homes, dead landscaping and hum of power tools are reminders of how far some Shore Road families still have to go. To this day, Dennis Casale, 61, is still discovering items that were damaged by the storm. When he recently went into his garage to fetch a tool, he opened a drawer and water spilled out.

The Casales are still working on their two-story home. The entire first floor, where their daughter, her husband and 1-month-old baby had been living, was submerged. Sandy destroyed all their brand-new furniture and their baby shower gifts.

With the water almost up to her chest during the storm, Lisa Lanzieri, 48, and her family had to be rescued from their Shore Road home by local firefighters. But she didn’t become emotional until days later when she had to comb through her family's belongings and decide what to throw out. “That’s when it hit me that this really happened,” she said. “At first, I was just grateful we got out, because I was scared for our lives.”

Sandy has changed the way Lisa Lanzieri and her husband, Louis, feel about the area. They’ve thought about leaving, but don’t think they could sell their house for the right price. Louis Lanzieri added, “If I could get out of here tomorrow, I would.” - TARA CONRY

Montauk

The oceanfront beaches in Montauk lost nearly 75 yards of sand to erosion after superstorm Sandy, leaving shores nearly 2 feet lower than they were before and oceanfront homes and hotels with their foundations exposed.

Photo credit: Gordon M. Grant (Nov. 19, 2012 and May 9, 2013)

before after
It looks like they’ve done a pretty good job of getting things almost back to normal.
- Ray Kuhner

Bulldozers still rumble around the golden oceanfront beaches of Montauk, piling dirt up against the sides of the resorts facing the water.

Standing on the sand outside the Royal Atlantic Beach Resort, Ray Kuhner felt the cool breeze rolling off the Atlantic and took comfort in the tranquil moment before heading home with his wife. After having stayed during off-seasons at the resort for nearly 40 years, Kuhner was stunned to see how erosion had altered the beach. “You see bulldozers pushing sand up against the hotel for protection,” said Kuhner, 69, of Seaford. “It’s incredible to see how much sand is now gone. The beach looks smaller.”

Still he was pleasantly surprised on his first visit back since the storm. “It looks like they’ve done a pretty good job of getting things almost back to normal,” he said. “Our family loves it here. I can’t imagine going anywhere else,” he added. “I know things will get back to normal in time for the busy season. We stayed this weekend to support a hotel we’ve been staying at for decades. We wouldn’t let a storm stop us from coming back.” - BRITTANY WAIT

Ocean Parkway

Ocean Parkway suffered such severe Sandy damage that New York State awarded a $33.2-million contract to three New York-based companies to repair it just a month-and-a-half after the storm hit.

Photo credit: Steve Pfost (Nov. 16, 2012 and May 12, 2013)

before after
With this job, I like to think I'm kind of helping all the storm victims, myself included. - Colleen Frazzetta

Fixing up Ocean Parkway was a road project that was going to take a lot more than asphalt and shovels. For example, subcontractor Bohemia Garden Center had to search as far away as Michigan and Indiana to find 1.2 million plugs of American beachgrass needed to stabilize miles of newly formed dunes along the parkway east of Jones Beach.

The job had to be done intricately and quickly. By meeting the April 24 deadline, the state qualified for 100 percent reimbursement for $18.2 million of the work from the Federal Highway Administration's emergency relief fund. The federal government also will fund 80 percent of the remainder as part of an agreed funding formula -- leaving New York State with a bill of just $3 million.

The work proved therapeutic for at least one worker. The Great South Bay flooded Colleen Frazzetta’s Amity Harbor home with 6 feet of saltwater. "I'm still out of my house," Frazzetta said in March as she helped dig a trench and lay straw matting as part of the dunes project. "But with this job, I like to think I'm kind of helping all the storm victims, myself included." - NEWSDAY STAFF

Long Beach boardwalk

Long Beach was one of the areas hit hardest by superstorm Sandy, and the most iconic part of the city to fall prey was the boardwalk.

Photo credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara (Nov. 18, 2012 and May 14, 2013)

before after
If the weather is good and the sun is hot, people will come. It’s still the beach, even without the boardwalk. - Luke Hamlet

It was clear soon after Sandy hit that the 2.2-mile Long Beach boardwalk was too badly damaged to be saved. A new one needed to be built, but first the old one needed to be honored. Thousands showed up on Jan. 5 for the beginning of the demolition. When the broken pieces of the boardwalk were made available at City Hall, residents raced there to grab a piece of history.

Though the city broke ground in April on the new $44.2-million boardwalk, those who call Long Beach home say life there won’t be the same until the boardwalk is fully restored.

Angela Morano, 66, was displaced from her walk-up apartment on West Broadway for two months after the storm. What she misses most about the boardwalk are the additional lights it provided to the neighborhood. “At night, it’s still really dark,” she said. “I don’t feel as safe.” Since the storm, she’s been sleeping on her living room couch, so she can be closer to her front door. “I still have that feeling the water is going to come,” she added.

Luke Hamlet, however, thinks summer will bring a sense of normalcy to the community. “If the weather is good and the sun is hot, people will come,” the 55-year Long Beach resident said. “It’s still the beach, even without the boardwalk.” - NEWSDAY STAFF

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

More than 4 feet of water flooded the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, damaging its VIP boardwalk, box office, electrical system, orchestra seating and concession supplies.

Photo credit: News12 Long Island (Oct. 30, 2012 and May 14, 2013)

before after
I had no doubt they would rebuild and fix it. Hopeful thinking. - Doreena Silva

Despite the damage, the theater is set to be operational for the first concert of the season on May 31. Doreena Silva, 54, of Medford, will be there for the opening of the summer concert season. Rascal Flatts is first, then she’ll be back in July for Blake Shelton. She’s been attending concerts at Jones Beach since she was a teenager and could drive there, she said. “It’s an awesome place to see a concert,” she added, “it’s on the beach, anyplace you sit you have a good view.”

Silva worried about the theater’s vulnerability to the elements long before superstorm Sandy. She said at past shows, the front section has flooded during exceptionally high tides.

But as summer approaches, Silva is excited to get back. “I’m curious to see what it looks like,” she said of the repairs. “I had no doubt they would rebuild and fix it. Hopeful thinking.” - ERIN GEISMAR

Center Moriches: Ocean Avenue

Water from Moriches Bay flooded the southernmost part of Ocean Avenue in Center Moriches, bringing 4 feet of water into the streets and many of the homes.

Photo credit: John Roca (Oct. 27, 2012 and May 11, 2013)

before after
We just need to realize that Mother Nature will do what she wants. - Chuck Maler

Among the dozen or so boarded-up homes in this area, only a few are currently livable and occupied. The day of the storm, air-conditioning units and fuel tanks floated along the streets and the water rose almost to the tops of mailboxes. The bay-facing exteriors of several houses were ripped off.

Chuck Maler built his home on Inletview Place in 2007, raising it 18 feet, which ultimately saved it. None of his neighbors have returned to live in their homes, but he’s trying to help with the process. “I’m a carpenter, so I’ve been fixing up my neighborhood,” Maler, 64 said, “including the houses to my left and right.”

He said it’s hard to imagine devastation striking twice, “but I honestly think it will. I’m just glad no one was hurt. We just need to realize that Mother Nature will do what she wants. We just need to be smarter when preparing for the next storm to hit.” A block away, on Oceanview Place, Tom and Karen Gibney’s home also remained the only one occupied on the dead-end street. Only recently have they been awakened to the sound of hammers, a sign that their neighbors are coming back to rebuild.

“We were fortunate enough that the last owner raised this house,” said Karen Gibney, 53. “Our neighbors have barely been back to start rebuilding. The storm was really scary, and we know it’s only going to get worse.” - BRITTANY WAIT

Fire Island

Fire Island’s recovery from Sandy has been equal parts resolve and rumination -- how to rebuild while coming to terms with man’s limits vs. Mother Nature. But while the discussion goes on, locals are preparing for summer as usual.

Photo credit: Ed Betz (Feb. 7, 2013 and May 10, 2013)

before after
It doesn't look as bad as I thought. - Greg Quirk

Businesses have made amazing strides to be ready for Memorial Day weekend -- the unofficial season opener for an island that swells from a few hundred permanent residents to tens of thousands for the warm months. "People were saying, 'I guess I'm not coming to Fire Island this summer because you guys are buried, right?'" Ocean Beach Mayor James Mallott said in May. "And we were like, 'No! We're here, we're working, we're trying to get this place back together.'"

Post-Sandy many discussions have centered on when to let the island evolve on its own terms. A breach in the Fire Island National Seashore has produced a spirited back-and-forth on whether it should be closed. In March, state parks officials announced they won't rebuild some storm-wrecked sections of boardwalk at the east end of Robert Moses State Park in time for summer. They are unsure if they ever will.

Greg Quirk, 56, a Babylon resident and professional offshore boat racer, has been visiting Fire Island's bars and restaurants for 35 years. Even after the storm, he continues to go there twice a month. He said many of the waterfront homes are still without electricity, but the island seems ready for tourists. “It doesn't look as bad as I thought," Quirk said. - NEWSDAY STAFF

Mastic Beach

The Village of Mastic Beach saw widespread flooding, downed trees, outages and homes damaged. While much has been cleared, some residents are still struggling to make repairs, while others have left altogether.

Photo credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara (Oct. 30, 2012 and May 9, 2013)

before after
I was just able to move back a couple weeks ago. It was devastating to me. The community is still not back to normal. - Alice Schultheis

Laurelton Drive was among the most heavily flooded areas in Mastic Beach, with some homes damaged beyond repair. Alice Schultheis’ circa 1921 cottage was salvageable, unlike surrounding homes in her neighborhood. “Laurelton looked like a war zone,” said Schultheis, 61, adding that she just moved back in early May. "It was devastating to me. The community is still not back to normal.”

Schultheis said she's still shocked to see so many X’s painted on her neighbors’ homes. Such properties have been deemed unsafe to live in. “I chose to stay and rebuild,” she said. “I don’t know what the future brings, but I’ll just take it one day at a time. I do notice people slowly coming back to my neighborhood, but my entire block is still pretty empty.”

Robin Amato-Lanci and her husband were forced to live on the second floor of their two-story house on Peconic Drive for three months. It was submerged in a foot of water after Sandy. “We fared, relatively speaking, much better than our neighbors because the house was built on piers with an elevated crawl space,” she said. Nearby roads were blocked by boats and docks and fallen trees. “We’ve been fortunate, but I think it’s been really hard for this village,” she said. “I’ve walked by homes in my neighborhoods that were totally destroyed. It breaks my heart and people are still struggling.” - BRITTANY WAIT

Westhampton Beach

Many of the ground-level homes in Westhampton Beach were flooded by storm surges from Moriches Bay. As summer nears, signs of hope and normality are returning.

Photo credit: Doug Kuntz (Oct. 30, 2012 and May 14, 2013)

before after
Living here, you have to have your house raised. Anyone whose home sat at ground-level was devastated by severe flooding. - Bob Flanagan

Jean Dunn feels lucky that her home on Point Road had been raised 8 feet after Hurricane Gloria in 1985 nearly washed it away. She’s one of the few who lives year-round in the neighborhood off Dune Road year-round. “If you weren’t at least 4 feet off the ground, your home was flooded,” said Dunn, 64, of Westhampton Beach. “This is a tightknit community. I’m sure even after something like this we can pull ourselves together and enjoy our summer in a place we all love.”

Bob Flanagan has spent the summers with his family at his small cottage on Bay Road and a larger summer home nearby on Point Road for nearly 38 years. His smaller cottage, which was built at ground-level, was submerged in nearly 4 feet of water. “Living here, you have to have your house raised,” said Flanagan, 74, of Huntington. “Anyone whose home sat at ground-level was devastated by severe flooding.”

Lately, Flanagan said he hears signs of rebuilding. “We’ve been hearing a lot of hammering lately, so I guess everyone’s starting to return to fix up their homes in time for Memorial Day weekend,” he said. “Families have had summer homes here for decades, so they’re not gonna give up their little bit of heaven.” - BRITTANY WAIT

Freeport neighborhoods

Most Freeport residents are back in their homes, but many are still repairing the damage from a 9-foot storm surge that crested over nearby Woodcleft Canal.

Photo credit: Howard Schnapp (Oct. 30, 2012 and May 13, 2013)

before after
I’m just so happy that nobody that I know lost their lives. You can always rebuild. - Diego Diaz

Freeport native Samantha Membhard thought about selling her South Ocean Avenue home after the first floor flooded for the second time in two years. It took in 4 feet of water during Tropical Storm Irene and nearly 7 feet during Sandy. The house sustained an estimated $200,000 in damage from Sandy alone. “At first I was like, ‘Oh, I’m getting out of here,’ but you can’t run from natural disasters,” said Membhard, 41, who has lived in the home for 17 years. “I’m not running anywhere.”

The Membhard family has been confined to the home’s second story and living on take-out food as repairs are made. “We’re getting there,” Samantha Membhard said. “At least we’re in our house. There’s a lot of people who are not.” Diego Diaz, 36, and his wife, Darcy, have only owned their house for two years and it’s flooded twice, as well. Insurance covered about half of the $80,000 in damage the house sustained; they receive no FEMA funds. Repairs are almost complete. “I’m just so happy that nobody that I know lost their lives,” Diaz said. “You can always rebuild.” - TARA CONRY

Lindenhurst: South Wellwood Avenue

Residents living on South Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst are still trying to restore their homes, which took in roughly 4 feet of water laced with silt, fuel and debris from the Great South Bay.

Photo credit: James Carbone (Oct. 29, 2012 and May 9, 2013)

before after
I’m done. I’m just tired. I’m mentally shot. - Lois Curry

After putting in a full day of work, a bigger project awaits carpenter Tim Landry when he gets home. Half of his one-level house is still gutted after the storm, forcing him, his wife, his two teenage children and their three dogs to live in the only three rooms he has finished renovating. The couple's bed is in the living room. Landry, 49, said he could have completed the job already, but his insurance company has been slow to pay out and has given him less than half the $100,000 in structural damage his house sustained.

“You can’t build something if you don’t have the money to replace things,” he added. Across the street, Ed Curry, 53, has also been doing much of the work on his split-level home, which is directly on the water, while his wife, Lois, fights with the insurance company.

The Currys lost just about everything on the first floor because of flooding. Only a few months before superstorm Sandy, they had replaced flooring, walls and some electrical outlets after Tropical Storm Irene brought in about a foot of water in 2011. They’ve had to borrow money from relatives to pay for renovation materials while fighting for more reimbursement funds. - TARA CONRY

Center Moriches: Inletview Place

Water from Moriches Bay swept over the small spit of land between Ocean Avenue in Center Moriches and Inletview Place, breaking down boat docks and house walls, and flushing out homes.

Photo credit: John Roca (Oct. 30, 2012 an May 11, 2013)

before after
We have no intention of moving or cutting our losses, we will get it back together. The process just feels like it’s taking forever. - Ian Fischer

Ian Fischer, his mother and her husband moved back into their house at the corner of Inletview Place and Ocean Avenue in March after the storm ripped the bay-facing wall off their home. It has not been a joyous homecoming. “No, God, no,” said Fischer, 29. “It was nice to move in but it’s more like, ‘OK, let’s start this process.’ Now we’re waiting for this report and that report. It’s annoying.”

Fischer said his mother’s husband has owned the two-story house for about 10 years. Before the storm, they boarded it up and did everything they could think of to prepare, but it was no match for the raging storm surge. Half their kitchen was torn away with the wall. The only salvageable appliance was the oven. Their boat dock, broken in two, was found up the street. For now, a makeshift wall of plywood sheets separates their home from the outside world.

Dealing with the insurance company has been a “long, confusing and annoying,” process, Fischer said, but they are committed to rebuilding. “We have no intention of moving or cutting our losses, we will get it back together. The process just feels like it’s taking forever.” - ERIN GEISMAR