Scott Richheimer looked outside the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach around 5 a.m. Sunday and saw lobster pots floating down National Boulevard.
“It was pretty amazing,” he said. “I won't forget seeing that.”
The ocean was flooding the street and the hotel lobby as Tropical Storm Irene plowed through the piles of sand intended to contain the surf.
In retrospect, Richheimer, the hotel’s kitchen manager, said he should have retrieved some of the pots to see if they contained lobsters.
“We could have served them for the dinner buffet,” he said.
Richheimer also said he and other hotel employees were ready for Irene. Three buffets were prepared for guests, who primarily were reporters from CNN, The Weather Channel and other television outlets, and airline passengers whose flights from Kennedy Airport were canceled.
“No one panicked. We never lost power and the bar was open,” Richheimer said.
He was supervising the cleanup Sunday afternoon. Pumps were working to remove 2½ feet of water from the lobby.
He doubted that a wedding planned for last night could be accommodated but said it was possible to do it today.
"We know what to do. We had water in the lobby two weeks ago when it rained a lot," Richheimer said.
Photo: Scott Richheimer, kitchen manager of the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach, stands outside the hotel lobby, which flooded when surf churned by Tropical Storm Irene swept over sand barriers and up National Boulevard. (Aug. 28, 2011)