Ten years after Hurricane Sandy ravaged Staten Island, residents and city officials are finally ready to put the borough’s devastation in the rear view and look towards its “vibrant” future.
“This place was devastated; it was destroyed, and look at it now. Vibrant, full of life,” said Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella during a ceremony marking Sandy’s 10-year anniversary at Miller Field on New Dorp’s beachfront.
Fossella was joined by Mayor Adams, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and other community leaders and residents — some of whom had their homes destroyed by the massive storm.
New Dorp was among the neighborhoods hardest hit by Sandy on Staten Island, the epicenter of the fatal storm surge. Homes there were destroyed or severely damaged — decades of waterlogged belongings piled in heaps along the sidewalks in the days and weeks after the storm.
Flooding was so bad that some residents had to evacuate through their second-floor windows and be rescued by boat by emergency service crews.
“This level of devastation really plants a seed of our dedication on why we must deal with climate change and why we must do everything possible to make sure we shore up our coastal areas,” said Adams, who days earlier called on the feds to provide $8.5 billion in funds to help the city complete resiliency projects aimed at protecting the Big Apple from future superstorms and hurricanes.
Some neighborhood residents in attendance said they suffered plenty of property damage but were thankful to come out of the hurricane alive.
“You know, we had six feet of water in the house,” said Michael Coppotelli, whose Hylan Boulevard home suffered massive damage.
“But I mean, we were lucky. You know, we lost things and stuff, right? I didn’t lose people. You know you see the names on the board that were just here,” added Coppetelli, referring to a new board displayed at nearby New Dorp Beach honoring 24 Staten Islanders who died during Sandy.
Sandy devastated New York from Oct. 29-30, 2012, especially coastal areas in the city and on Long Island.
Storm surges and fierce winds raced through the city, catching many New Yorkers off guard. It flooded the city’s subway system and all road tunnels into Manhattan except the Lincoln Tunnel.
Besides parts of Staten Island, coastal communities like Coney Island and Red Hook in Brooklyn and the Rockaways in Queens also suffered severe damage and lack of power.
The Centers for Disease Control has attributed 117 deaths to Sandy.
In New York City alone, at least 44 lives were lost – including some who tragically drowned in their own homes. The city has estimated it suffered $19 billion in damages and lost economic activity and more than 69,000 residential units. Following the hurricane, thousands of New Yorkers were temporarily displaced.
The storm even wrecked havoc on what was supposed to be the Nets’ first game in Brooklyn at the new Barclays Center as a much-hyped Nov. 1, 2012 contest against the rival Knicks was postponed due to lack of available mass transit.
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