Monday, April 29, 2013

39 Days - Six Month Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

Today marks six months since Hurricane Sandy.  In honor of this, I revisited two of my favorite areas in Queens that were hard hit.  

This is my first return to the Jamaica Bay Wilderness Refuge since the Hurricane and I'm delighted to find the sanctuary (trees, wildlife, birds, flowers) in the process of recovery.  There are only two other people visiting in the afternoon that I am here, and I wander in and out of the shaded trails, visit with the park ranger and see the Osprey, Ibis, Heron, Canda Geese and Swans through the lens of her spotting scope, view the areas where trees were destroyed and a portion of the beach is completely missing, and enjoy my picnic lunch on the only bench still standing.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge:

Returning to the Rockaways has special meaning for me, as this is the area where I spent most of my time volunteering after the Hurricane.  It is a joy to visit with people I recognize and to see that they have returned to their homes and to hear that their lives are slowly returning to normal.  It is also difficult to recognize other homes that are still in disarray, the smell of mold and mildew wafting out in to the streets as I pass by.

The beach boardwalks are being replaced one section at a time, between 65 Street and 116 Street, with the goal of being finished for Memorial Weekend.   According to the crew foreman Al at Beach 95 Street, "this is a lofty goal which we are doing our best to meet, but, I just can't see it happening".

The individuals and families that I talk to are happy, enjoying the sun and just want to put the hurricane and its affects behind them. Everyone is ready for summer and, as Annie and Bob in Broad Channel shared, "We just want to build new memories.  We want to take our kids to the beach and eat hot dogs and icecream and swim.  After all of this, they need some fun.  We all do."

The Rockaways:

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