Thanks to the gigantic Sandy Relief bill and Governor Chris Christie's insistence on rebuilding, much of the area has made progress.
Eight months after Sandy ravaged the beaches of the Jersey Shore much of the beach front looks as good as new — or at least much better than it did back in November, per some incredible aerial photos at The New Yorker. Photographer George Steinmetz's images accompany a fascinating feature by John Seabrook (subscription only) on the rebuilding of beach-front properties and they give readers a chance to see the change over the last eight months thanks by comparing aerial photos taken a couple weeks after the storm and then again in the beginning of July. Nothing is back to the way it used to be, but the change is incredible.
Seaside Heights, for example, whose famous theme park boardwalk got totally wrecked in the storm (shown above), doesn't have all its replacement rides yet. But all but one of the ravaged attractions have been carted away, making way for the new ride aptly titled "The Superstorm."
A lot of the coast looked less than finished, explains Steinmetz. "There were many houses like this, in a state of indecision," he told The New Yorker. And some parts still look quite abandoned. Ortley Beach, for example, is missing a lot of houses still. Streets are still closed there, with houses waiting to be demolished, according to CBS News.
But thanks to the ginormous Sandy Relief bill and Governor Chris Christie's insistence on rebuilding, much of the area has made progress. Some of the improvements even include new fortifications. Buildings right on the shore on the town of Manasquan now sit a top concrete blocks, for example. Other Jersey communities are attempting the controversial process of putting in dunes, or other forms of beach rehabilitation, as described in John Seabrook's New Yorker article.
There is a case to be made for not rebuilding at all — because it's bad for the environment, doesn't really protect from Sandy-like storms, and costs a lot of money. But that's not a real option. The pushback, rather, is a resistance of some residents to losing ocean views to dunes or other fortification. Theoretically, multi-million beach front property is worth a lot less without the view. Then again, property value also drops when a frankenstorm comes and wipes out the entire coast.
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.