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'Much of the Beach Is Gone'

Fire Island, a beach community off the coast of Long Island, struggles in the wake of massive Sandy damage.


Hurricane Sandy was especially unkind to Fire Island, one of New York's most popular beach communities off the coast of Long Island. Most of the Island was underwater last week, and residents are just now being let back on shore to assess the damage. "Much of the beach is gone," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told reporters. "And the beach is what Fire Island is." Schumer said the Army Corps of Engineers would work to restore the beaches by the summer, using sand from dredging projects.

Many of the island's ocean-front homes were also battered or destroyed. As New York's Newsday reports:

Many look like a stiff breeze could collapse them. Sand is piled several feet over concrete walks, burying fire hydrants. Along with debris, propane tanks litter the sand.

Because of the dangerous conditions, town, fire and police officials are pleading with homeowners to stay away until they can assess the damage and solve sewage and water issues that could cause public health problems.

Also, the risk of fire is high, because of the saltwater corrosion of electrical wires, officials said. There have been scattered structural fires in nearby Ocean Beach and without normal crews, trucks and a reliable water supply, fire departments aren't equipped to fight them

Below, photos of the aftermath.

Fishing huts destroyed by Hurricane Sandy are seen on an island near Fire Island, New York. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Home stands on stilts that once had sand piled to just below the floorboards after being struck by Hurricane Sandy. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
A man surveys the damage from Hurricane Sandy on an island near Fire Island, New York. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Men pass through a flooded walkway while viewing damage caused by Hurricane Sandy on Fire Island. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

The sun sets over the Robert Moses Causeway leading to Fire Island, New York. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.