Post-Sandy: Update from the Staten Island Waterfront
For the Staten Island community—one of the hardest hit in Superstorm Sandy—recovery comes in small steps. The island’s marine sector has fared no differently. After Folly, a 39-foot aluminum pilothouse sloop owned by John and Kerry Pears, was flung two boatyards away, a recovery crane dismasted it during lifting. Amid the confusion, the couple filed this report about the island’s state of affairs since the storm struck the U.S. East Coast on October 29, 2012.
A month after Hurricane Sandy swept the U.S. Eastern seaboard with her vicious storm surge and winds, Great Kills Harbor, Staten Island, New York, is still marked indelibly by her passing. (View the Superstorm Sandy—One Month Later photo gallery)
Sailboats and motor yachts alike stand brokenly forlorn, lines and sails draped indiscriminately over their grimy, gouged decks and hulls. Only today, the attractive sloop Deliverance was finally spared the ignominy of lying bow down toward the asphalt, stern in the air, held only by the tree she tangled with during Sandy, and which stopped her being carried onto power lines.
Insurance claim assessors, boat workers, and U.S. Coast Guard officials wander about the stacked boats, clipboards in hand. Anxious boat owners clamber from jumble of hulls to ordered lines of yachts on stands, looking for their beloved vessels.
Owners wanting to winterize their boats as the bitter winds and sleety snow move in have to find generators with which to power their endeavors. Some homeowners are still without electricity, their belongings strewn in front of their homes from flooded first-floor rooms and basement garages. Small boats lie abandoned against their fences where Sandy’s rage threw them indiscriminately.
When the Red Cross Disaster Relief Van sounds its horn, hungry people appear from their cold and powerless homes and boatyards, looking for the welcome hot meal that’s provided free of charge. The NYPD patrol day and night, spotlighting the street to deter looting and vandalism on this distressed and distressing area. During the day the area is bustling with workers piling debris from wrecked homes, marina offices, workshops, and boats into massive piles, which sanitation trucks remove each night.
“Well, I guess I’m going to have to add a couple of chapters to my book about the restoration of the cat boat,” says Andy Bogaart wryly. Andy, specializing in the restoration of wooden yachts, had all but finished his fine work on this historic sailboat. The owner requested that she be launched to enjoy a few days of fall sailing before being winterized. She was swept up in Sandy’s fury, and finished up sandwiched between two other yachts against power lines. Heartbreaking as it will be to repeat some of the restoration work, the owner has more serious problems: His home invited Sandy in through the front door, and out of the back, swamping home and vehicle. Andy’s own sailboat, Second Chance, a Hunter 42, survived on the hard, but with hull and topsides damaged from other yachts that were thrown against it by the storm.