(Amy Pearl/WNYC)
Time stood still in places like Fielder Ave. in Ortley Beach, NJ. Almost nothing had changed since the day of the story. coastcheck

A year after Sandy, rebuilding has been slow, halting and uneven across the region. Homeowners are still battling insurance companies, government aid is caught up in tight regulations, and new flood plain levels are not even final. There are a lot of plans on the drawing board, though, and some individuals and businesses are taking short-term steps to protect their property. WNYC is continuing to follow both the rebuilding process and the debate over just how to rebuild, here on this page.

Recently in Life After Sandy

To See How New York Can Survive Flooding, Look to Hamburg

Friday, September 20, 2013

To get a good sense of a what a floodproof city can look like, check out Hafen City in Hamburg, Germany.

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The Hidden Enemy Sandy Left Behind

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Almost 11 months after Sandy, the corrosive effects of saltwater remain a very real danger. And that's had an effect on all kinds of local infrastructure, from the boardwalks in seaside towns in New Jersey to the subway lines in Manhattan.


NJ Homeowners Scratch Heads Over Sandy Aid

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Alexis Norton sat at a table in a realtor's office in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., this week, swapping stories with several friends about rebuilding their Sandy-damaged homes.

Among the topics covered: flood insurance maps, local bureaucracy and confusion over the status of her applications with several of the state’s federally ...


The Jersey Shore's Summer That Wasn't

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


Despite $5.57 billion in federal disaster assistance to New Jersey survivors of Sandy, Seaside Heights and other nearby towns experienced a 40 percent drop-off in tourism-related businesses this summer.


Still Struggling in Sandy’s Wake, Rockaway Sheds Half Its Summer Beach-Goers

Saturday, August 31, 2013

At the start of summer, the Rockaways looked more like a construction zone than a beach destination. Its popular concession stand was still being renovated. The boardwalk that spanned most of the neighborhood’s 6.2 miles was washed away. Work trucks and trash littered the beach.

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9 Key Findings From the Sandy Task Force

Monday, August 19, 2013

A federal task force charged with developing a Sandy-rebuilding strategy is calling to strengthen the region's electrical grids, protect gas supply chains and fortify coastlines, according to report released Monday.

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Obama Task Force Reports on Sandy Rebuild

Monday, August 19, 2013


A task force appointed by President Obama is expected to release its report Monday on the post-Sandy rebuilding, which could guide the storm recovery process.


Buy-Out Dilemma: To Rebuild or Pull Up Stakes

Thursday, August 08, 2013

NJ Spotlight

For many homeowners and businesses recovering from Sandy, the mantra has been to rebuild stronger. But some New Jersey residents have concluded that their best option is not to rebuild at all.

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City's Sandy Aid Program for Homeowners 3 Months Behind Schedule

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Nine months after Sandy, thousands of homeowners in New York City are growing frustrated as they wait for government funds to make long-term repairs to their properties.


Candidates' Visions for Post-Sandy New York Look Much Like Bloomberg's

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Here’s a campaign oddity: Democratic candidates running for mayor who by-and-large agree that many of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ideas on a particular subject are good ones.

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Atlantic City Faces Tough Times

Monday, June 03, 2013


Seven months after Sandy, tourism officials in Atlantic City are doing their best to dispel lingering misperceptions about damage to the city’s boardwalk.  They’re gearing up for what they hope will be a busy summer season, and they’re hopeful that by re-branding the city as more than just a gambling mecca, they might be able to turn around the six-year drop in tourist revenue.



Army Corps Envisioned Hurricane Walls for NYC 50 Years Ago

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Studies calling for levees, flood gates that would have protected Staten Island, Coney Island and the Rockaway fell by the wayside due to lack of money, neighborhood opposition and environmental concerns.

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Finally Open Again After Sandy, Manhattan VA Looks Ahead to Future Floods

Monday, May 20, 2013

The last of New York City’s hospitals devastated by Sandy has fully reopened after six months of repairs.


In Staten Island, a Post-Sandy Rumor Mill

Friday, May 03, 2013


The information that owners of Sandy-damaged homes need to make decisions is at least a month from being released. As they wait, the rumors circulate.

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Life After Sandy: Fire Island Rebounds

Friday, May 03, 2013

City dwellers are beginning to turn their attention to weekend getawaysat  the beaches of Long Island. On Fire Island, business owners are still cleaning up from Sandy, but are promising to be ready for the crowds this season.

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Sandy Damage Shutters Symbol of US Immigration Until Next Year

Thursday, May 02, 2013

For more than a hundred years, visitors have been passing through Ellis Island. But since it opened as a national park, instead of the poor, huddled masses entering the 19th century building it's their descendents and tourists streaming in. All that changed after Sandy, whose flood waters covered the entire island.


Future of the Rockaways Hinges on a Successful Summer

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

On the Rockaway peninsula in Queens catastrophic damages from Sandy are still visible, and many residents and business owners wonder if anyone will come to a beach that’s still under construction this summer.

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Would-Be Homebuyers Inspect Repaired Basement, Mimosas in Hand

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Realtors go the extra mile to sell in a neighborhood vulnerable to storms.

+ Sandy Damage Prompts Some to Walk Away

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Sandy Damage Prompts Some to Walk Away Instead of Stay

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


In some places, Sandy’s wrath is a reason to walk away from their homes as opposed to staying on and fixing them up.




For many Sandy’s wrath is a memory that happened six months ago.

But some home buyers and sellers are just now feeling its power surge through the real estate market in coastal areas.


“Not one property has closed to date in Sea Bright since the storm,” said Donna Markowitz, broker-manager at Gloria Nilson and company real estate in Keyport, New Jersey.


In parts of New Jersey, coastal properties are selling for much less than they were worth before the storm. 


Many homes that were flooded will have to be raised up to new flood elevation standards set by FEMA.  And they’ll also incur increased costs for flood and homeowner’s insurance.  Those increased expenses, combined with the uncertainty of what new regulations will be, could be spooking buyers and coaxing sellers to drop their prices.


“There’s the uncertainty of the [FEMA flood] zones - we don’t have anything firm yet, we don’t have firm maps or elevations,” said Steve Acropolis, the Mayor of Brick Township, New Jersey.


The uncertainty is causing some to walk away. 


In the working class town of Keyport on the Raritan Bay, two Sandy-damaged homes on the market in Keyport are on the market for about $70,000.


“Before Sandy, they would have been, in this market,  like a $240 to 250,000 home,” said agent Markowitz.


It’s a similar situation in tony Mantaloking, father south, where only one home sold on the open market since the storm struck. 


“It was on the market for $5.5 million before the storm.  The house was destroyed [during Sandy] and sold for $2.7 million, about half the value after the storm,” said Peter Zanowic, with Gloria Nilson and Company real estate in Bay Head, NJ.




According to Zillow, the online real estate site, there’s not enough data yet to determine via sale listings, if there’s a high volume of short selling going on.


But Zillow economist Svenja Gudell says there is added pressure on owners of homes seriously damaged by Sandy, particularly in the Garden State.


She said that in New Jersey, 25 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were underwater before Sandy hit, meaning they owe more on their homes than their property is worth.


“You’re getting the double whammy if you will,” Gudell said of those homeowners. “Not only were you underwater before, but now you’re even worse off because your home has been damaged.”


And some of those financially ‘underwater’ are more likely to sell at distressed property price instead of trying to cobble together a way to pay for repairs on what is already, a losing investment for them.


“That makes it easier for people to say: ‘It’s going to take so long for me to reach positive equity again in my home, I’m going to walk away from my home now,’ ” Gudell said.


This homeowner fatigue is expected to shake out overtime, experts say. 

As powerful as Sandy’s storm surge was, it’s not likely to influence buyers of shore properties a few years from now, if tradition is any guide. 


“The older homes that were destroyed, there will be brand new homes in there.  So the houses will be worth more, the market will rebound, and people will want to live here and spend money for it,” said Zanowic.


But some fear the rebuilding will force working class families away from the beach.


“It’s going to change the character of some towns, and I worry about young people being able to afford being on the water,” added Steve Acropolis, Mayor of Brick.


But in some storm-ravaged areas, like Long Beach, and on Long’s Island’s North Shore too, sales this spring have been less affected by Sandy.


“Waterfront [property] is a limited commodity [here] and it still commands the high numbers,” said Risa Ziegler, a licensed broker with Douglas Elliman in Huntington, Long Island.


The North Shore still lacks inventory, and it’s a desirable area.


Long Island’s South Shore sustained much more Sandy damage, and initially, home prices of flooded properties fell sharply.


But now, in anticipation of summer, sales are trending upwards.


“When Sandy first hit, I thought my career was over, I didn’t know how I’d sell another house here,” said Long Beach real estate agent Joyce Coletti.


But over time some started buying damaged homes on the South shore, and prices began rising, even for homes that had been gutted after storm damage.  In Long Beach, nine homes burnt after a car blew up during Sandy.


“I had a bidding war on burnt homes, that were burnt to the ground,” and we sold them,” added Coletti.


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Union Beach’s Sandy Recovery Requires ‘Patience’

Monday, April 29, 2013

While the most badly damaged structures in Union Beach, N.J.,  are being totally demolished, more than 1,700 homes and rentals — or about 80 percent of all the borough’s dwellings — sustained at least some damage when storm surges enveloped the community last October. 

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