Six months later: Hurricane Sandy’s damage lingers on Long Beach

Superstorm Sandy devastated most of the Atlantic Coast in October 2012, with its most severe damage hitting New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. While most areas have recovered, there are equally as many areas that are still suffering the storm’s damage. One of these areas include the city of Long Beach on Long Island, New York. The following compilation of multimedia elements about this topic is by Ashley Hartman, Magdalene Michalik, Taylor Leonard-Coleman, and Christopher Owens.

Video

Check out our video which shows the Long Beach community speaking out about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Vuvox

Take a look at our Vuvox which shows a series of photos of Long Beach in its reconstruction process.

Article

We reached out to residents and learned that they are still struggling daily to cope from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Rebuilding Hearts and Homes

Superstorm Sandy hit New York and neighboring states like New Jersey approximately seven months ago, and the exhausting recovery attempt carries on with repairing, rebuilding and reopening devastated homes and businesses. The process has been rough and many people are still stressed in the aftermath of one of the most vicious storms to hit the Northeast region.

According to Long Beach Police Department Commissioner Michael Tagney, 30 percent of Long Beach’s residents have not returned to their homes after Hurricane Sandy. Many residents have not returned yet because there is nothing for them to return to.

“I evacuated my condo on West Park Avenue the day before the storm hit in late October and I am still out,” said Shari Kivet Stier, a Long Beach resident. “I had insurance but no flood insurance, so the process for rebuilding is taking much longer then expected. I lost everything.”

Superstorm Sandy has left countless Long Beach families stressed to conquer the natural damage and defeat that resulted from one of the worst storms to hit Long Island.  The large quantity of building wreckage and still vacant residences confirm the reality that almost no one on this beach island was unaffected by this superstorm. What is not so candidly displayed, however, is the emotional suffering and mental wounds that frequently follow a tragic event like Sandy.

“I couldn’t even eat for weeks,” said Elliot Posner, a Long Beach resident. “I was devastated at the damage that Sandy caused both to my home and to my family. My kids were out of school for weeks and we lost basically our whole life. The rebuilding of my entire life was hard to grasp and still is but there is nothing I could of done and I just try my best everyday not to let the feeling overwhelm me.”

Posner is a father of four and has lived in Long Beach for only a few years. His house was completely flooded, ruining almost everything. He was stranded from his house for three months and when his family moved back in they still had no running water. The reconstruction of his house can take almost a year while waiting for insurance and money from FEMA.

“Waiting for FEMA is like watching paint dry,” said Posner. “It’s a long process but I have to do it for my family. We’ve been volunteering and helping the community rebuild that’s the only thing I want to happen.”

Tragedies like Superstorm Sandy often bring communities together. Now that the summer is quickly approaching we can still see that the camaraderie amongst fellow Long Beach citizens is still shining strong.

Storify

Check out our Storify about the public’s reactions about reconstructing the boardwalk:

Long Beach boardwalk reconstruction begins after Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy wrecked the town of Long Beach during its path on between October 22-21, 2012. The storm was the most destructive and deadliest hurricane in 2012. The damage included the Long Beach boardwalk.

  1. Long Beach, NY Boardwalk Transition, part 1
  2. On April 27, 2013, reconstruction of the boardwalk began. The public is reminiscent while it awaits the beloved boardwalk to come back stronger than it was before.
  3. First trip to Long Beach since the hurricane. It looks so wrong without the boardwalk 😦
  4. Ship lights out at sea. So odd not having my beloved boardwalk, but it shall be back. Love my Long Beach. 4sq.com/11reY6f
  5. my summer won’t be the same without the boardwalk at long beach #memories
  6. Thought to myself I want to ride my bike on the boardwalk at long beach… Then I remembered there was no boardwalk #fusandy
  7. Others express their dissent about the $44 million project as many are still displaced from their homes.
  8. Long Beach is apparently getting close to 200 million in FEMA aid……included in this amount will be the 44 MILLION for the boardwalk……..Curious about where the other 156 Million is going? Directly to homeowners? Is the City using that money for overtime costs related to Hurricane Sandy too? What will be left for the homeowners? What will be left for the businesses? What will be left for the INFRASTRUCTURE that was damaged as a result of Sandy?
  9. The Long Beach boardwalk is going to
    cost 44 Million Dollars to repair ???Hahaha Hahahaaa !!! Unbelievable !!
    Oh my Lord !! Not hard to understand why this country is falling apart man. That is just incredible.
  10. it really annoys me every time i hear that the long beach boardwalk costs $44million to rebuild and fema will pick up most of the cost. i enjoy the boardwalk too but isnt it more important for people to rebuild their homes
  11. My family has been in Long Beach for close to a century, but I cannot, in good conscience go to support a boardwalk “groundbreaking” ceremony when our infrastructure is collapsing around us. I love this City, but families and businesses are still displaced. 44 Million dollars for a boardwalk is shameful.
  12. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy that the Broadwalk is finally getting rebuilt but what about the our homes? When will the “people””WE” get anything from all those fundraisers supposedly done for us? It’s been almost 6 months and we’re still displaced!
  13. More information about restoring the Long Beach boardwalk can be found here:
  14. The boardwalk will not be finished by the end of this summer. However, pieces of the 2.2 mile public attraction will open one at a time.

Listen up, New Yorkers

At some point, we have all experienced hearing someone’s music blasting from his or her headphones. Sometimes it feels as though you are listening to the music yourself.

There is a point where too loud becomes too dangerous. A recent report conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey stated that 1 in 5 teens have hearing loss.  These numbers are only increasing.

Hofstra student Ehlayna Napolitano listens to loud music while walking to classes and doing work. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

Hofstra student Ehlayna Napolitano listens to loud music while walking to classes and doing work. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign last week. This public health initiative will include education over social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. More specifically, the target audience is mostly teens.

Wait, Bloomberg, wasn’t this the plot of Footloose? In this fictitious musical, enjoying music in public is banned.

“People who are exposed to loud noises interferes with the ability for the hair cells in our ear to send messages to the brain,” said Dr. Doron Milstein, audiologist and professor at Hoftra University. “It ultimately affects our ability to communicate if you’re unable to hear or misinterpret sounds.”

The clinical term for this is called noise induced hearing loss, according to Milstein. As of now, hearing loss is a permanent damage. The most damage will occur to the people who are exposed to the longest and loudest noises.

According to Milstein, inside the middle ear section of the ear, there are hair cells that are stimulated by sound. When the cells receive the message, it sends the message from a nerve to the brain stem. Then, the brain processes the sound. Therefore, when there is damage in the hair cells, it affects our ability to hear. This damage is exactly what loud music playing in headphones does.

Unless we protect ourselves, those are the consequences. We need to educate people to understand that you can’t just take an antibiotic or drops to fix this.

“The less you expose yourself the better,” said Milstein. “Hearing loss inhibits people’s daily functioning. With this one, education is the key to prevention.”

This education is exactly what the Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign is promoting.

Ultimately, they’re not trying to stop us to listen to music. They’re just trying to cause awareness to something, like smoking.

I have a feeling that New York City won’t be as dramatic as the town of Bomont from Footloose, but it is taking the proper steps to ensure appropriate education to the public.

People use their iPods and other music players to listen to their music on full blast. There should be greater awareness about hearing loss. Once it's gone, it's gone. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

People use their iPods and other music players to listen to their music on full blast. There should be greater awareness about hearing loss. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

Breaking news: the future of journalism will be okay

An older man recently stopped me to congratulate me on a scholarship that I received in January, saying that he recognized my face from an article about the award. His compliment transitioned into a conversation and we discussed topics such as my other accomplishments and where was studying. He then asked me what field I was majoring in, and I replied proudly, “journalism.” He shook his head and said, “How could someone so smart be so stupid?”

He was referring to the future of journalism, which is experiencing a transition. Due to its tenuous state, there are not as many jobs in the field, for example.

Of course, I defended myself, telling him the same thing I tell everyone: Journalism does have a future. It is just changing.

His comment, however, is something that I have heard over and over again.

Major newspapers, such as The New York Times, continue to be published in print as well as embracing the digital age. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

“The future of journalism looks more innovative and creative than ever before,” said Don Dreyer, mass media professor at Hofstra University.

If we look at the history of mass media, according to Dreyer, journalism has already endured its fair share of transitions, for example from cave art to the printing press or the introduction of broadcast media.

“There will be a continuation of this crafting of a balance between the self made digital journalist and establishment form of journalism,” said Dreyer. “We have the opportunity through the availability of digital resources for discovery on an unprecedented number of writers, thinkers and policy shapers.”

“There will be a continuation of this crafting of a balance between the self made digital journalist and establishment form of journalism,” said Dreyer. “We have the opportunity through the availability of digital resources for discovery on an unprecedented number of writers, thinkers and policy shapers.”

These new digital mediums include social media, blogs and online newspapers. Such would include Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and The New York Times.

Many people, such as this journalism student, get their news online. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

Many people, such as this journalism student, get their news online. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

“[Online journalism] has opened the conversation about what is going on in the world,” said Carol Fletcher, journalism professor at Hofstra University. “There have never been as many people reporting before.”

One example of this digital transition is Hofstra University’s student newspaper, The Chronicle. The publication is incorporating social media, like Twitter and Facebook, and publishes an online version in addition to the traditional print version.

“We’re dealing with less print and more progress with things like social media,” said Samantha Neudorf, news editor of The Chronicle. “I don’t think it’s dying. It’s heading towards a new direction which is the digital world.”

Fletcher is, however, concerned about the content of stories in this new medium.  According to Fletcher, since the traditional models of reporting are changing, lengthy, in-depth reports about topics like government corruption, may be deemed not worthy of this expense.

Although nobody can say for sure where the field will be- we all know it will just be different. Isn’t that the exciting part?’

IMG_3079

Will there be a time when all notes will be taken digitally as well? Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

“Journalism has a bright future,” said Fletcher. “Studies have shown that the public of consumption of news has only increased. People have a bigger appetite for the news.”

Next time someone recognizes me and criticizes my career path, I may just say, “You saw me in a newspaper, didn’t you?”