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Long IslandSuffolk

Sea wall collapse maroons Asharoken, Eatons Neck residents

Waves crash on the roadway near Asharoken Beach

Waves crash on the roadway near Asharoken Beach on Sunday. Credit: James Carbone

For more than two hours Sunday, Marco and Elena Pescedto sat in their sport utility vehicle on Asharoken Avenue, all dressed up, waiting for the road to open so they could get to a 2 p.m. wedding in Astoria. By 2:25 p.m., they'd seen enough.

"The best thing for us is to go home now," Marco Pescedto, 73, said as he turned the Lincoln Aviator around. "Thirty years we've been living here and this is the worst I've ever seen."

The Pescedtos, of Eatons Neck, were just one of about 700 families marooned on the spit of land that juts into Long Island Sound off Northport when 40 percent of the 500-foot-long sea wall that protects Asharoken Avenue - the only road in or out - was toppled by Saturday's storm. Water gushed around and under the pavement, leaving the road potentially compromised, Asharoken Mayor Patricia Irving said Sunday.

Irving declared a state of emergency at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, closing the road to all but emergency traffic. By yesterday afternoon, about 40 cars were lined up on the neck side of the closure, waiting for the road to reopen.

"It resembles a war zone out here," said Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), who phoned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from Village Hall. Thomas M. Creamer, the Corps' New York chief of operations, said Corps engineers Monday will examine the sea wall, which was built in 1998 for $1.019 million.

A Corps assessment of damage to the sea wall caused by November's nor'easter is due to be completed later this month, Creamer said.

Israel said he will seek emergency funding to repair the sea wall and to help the village fix its road.

With an annual budget of $2.8 million, Irving said Asharoken will be stretched to fix the road on its own. "We have no such money," she said. "We're going to be reaching to everyone for help."

The good news is that no one in Asharoken or Eatons Neck was injured in the storm, Irving said, though scores were without electricity.

The road was opened for a short period yesterday morning at low tide. That's when Christine DiPaola of Eatons Neck drove with her brother to get breakfast in Northport. When they tried to return home, the road was closed again. She waited in her car for two hours until 3 p.m., when Asharoken police allowed cars to pass single-file down the road's middle - the sides of the pavement were still too dangerous.

"It's never been this bad," she said.

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