Buzzed Bands Podcast, Ep. 2 w/ Cold Blood Club

Friday, November 02, 2012

Sheepshead Bay Got Destroyed By Hurricane Sandy

I just took a trip down to Sheepshead Bay to drop off supplies to a friend in need. She lives in a small bungalow community within feet of the actual bay. The hurricane absolutely destroyed the homes in this community. None of the houses escaped undamaged and several were completely and totally destroyed beyond repair.

When we arrived we entered through the small chain link fence gate and walked down into the alley which has bungalows on each side of the walkway. There were piles of trash, wood debris, furniture, mattresses and anything else you can imagine piled up in the middle. It looked like a bomb went off.

The houses by the gate, which are furthest from the water, were damaged but didn't look so bad. Our friend met us by the gate and walked us down towards the water where her house is. It survived but took on serious flooding. Her neighbors were not so lucky. The facade of several houses were ripped off and one house, closest to the docks, collapsed in on itself. The roof was on the ground with a pile of rubble underneath.

The community shares a small dock and boat house, which was completely destroyed. Only a series of posts are left where it once stood. The actual boat house ended up on shore somewhere down the street. I couldn't see it from the angle I was at but I could see a large sailboat sticking nearly straight up a few lots over. I was told that at one point that very same boat was floating in the shared community yard which is only 20 ft from my friends house.

I grew up in South Jersey and my grandparents had a house down the shore. I've seen plenty of hurricanes roll through and make a mess but I've never seen anything like this.

Somehow my friends place, which is very close to the water, is still standing - they even have power back. However, the ground floor was flooded with upwards of 5 ft of water. They had to take refuge on the second floor and pray that the house didn't collapse. When the water level came down enough that they could come down from the second floor and assess the damage they were greeted by sea life - in their living room. As they waded through the house bio-luminescent algae lit up wherever they stepped.

As the water level dropped the house started groaning and settling. As a visitor I was a bit weary upon hearing this bit of information. Things looked okay but who knows what condition the foundation of any of these cottages are in, given that several have already collapsed.

The residents of this community have had a few brief interactions with FEMA, mostly paperwork, but nothing has actually been done to help. They've relied on friends and more fortunate community members to help them out. They have also been dealing with looters, who have ransacked all of the abandoned and partially collapsed buildings. I didn't see a single cop within in a mile on the drive over. There's nothing being done to protect these people or help them in their time of need. Obviously, many people are in need throughout the area but the nearby affluent neighborhoods are being helped while the working class folks are left to fend for themselves.

I wanted to share this experience with everyone because there is very little media attention being paid to Sheepshead Bay, and for that matter any of the working class areas along the coast. Here are the pictures I snapped. If you want to help I suggest going down there and bringing supplies. Sheepshead Bites can probably give you some more ideas.

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