Time stood still in places like Fielder Ave. in Ortley Beach, NJ. Almost nothing had changed since the day of the story. coastcheck

Two years after Sandy, rebuilding remains slow and uneven across the region. Government aid is caught up in tight regulations. The folks who have made the most progress may be the ones who took the most dramatic step: selling their homes to New York state to be demolished so that the land underneath them can be returned forever to Mother Nature. There are many other ambitious 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

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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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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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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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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Brian Lehrer Show: Six Months After Sandy

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's been six months since Hurricane Sandy caused flooding and destruction throughout the region. Matthew Schuerman, WNYC editor, and Scott Gurian, freelance reporter, discuss their reporting on the recovery, from the re-building in Long Beach, Long Island to how federal money is being used to improve infrastructure.

Plus: your six-month calls. How is the recovery going in your area? If your home was affected by the storm, have you decided whether to stay and do nothing, to renovate for flood prevention, or to move away from the shore altogether? Call 212-433-9692 or post your story here.

Comments [26]

6 Months After Sandy, Rebuilding but Not Necessarily Better

Monday, April 29, 2013

The city of Long Beach broke ground this weekend on its new boardwalk: 2.2 miles long, it will feature special braces that will tie the planks to the supports and a concrete wall that will hang down from in front of the boardwalk like a skirt, to break the waves the next time the Atlantic rises up against it.

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Six Months After Sandy: Lessons from Red Hook

Monday, April 29, 2013

I was born and raised in the Red Hook projects and we’ve weathered a few storms. The last one — Sandy — has people pooling resources to brace us for future disasters.  I believe I know the biggest resource that should be in any storm-plans.

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Six Months After Sandy: Calm in the Storm

Monday, April 29, 2013

I’ve lived in the East Village, in lower Manhattan, for twenty years— in a narrow railroad apartment that I like to think of as quaint, where the living room is only eight feet wide. My walls are lined with bookshelves from the living room to the kitchen, because I’m a critic and a translator. If I’m home, which I often am, I’m either reading or writing. When Hurricane Sandy approached last October, and the skies darkened and the wind started howling, I rubbed my hands in anticipation, remembering the tornadoes of my Midwestern youth. This one, I thought, unlike Hurricane Irene, was truly going to hit.  Curling up in an armchair by the window, I started reading, listening as branches thrashed and trash cans clanged like cymbals on the sidewalk below. And then the power went out. It stayed out for five days.

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Six Months After Sandy: Sandy, You Were Delicious

Monday, April 29, 2013

Here’s the truth: I kinda sorta miss Sandy.  Not her destruction of beloved homes and property, no, of course not, nor the inconvenience of driving around an hour for a viable gas station.  And don’t get me wrong – I love hot showers.  And cable TV.  And the Internet.  Everything about the modern world, I love.

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Sandy Damage Threatens Horseshoe Crabs and Migratory Shorebirds

Friday, April 19, 2013


The numbers of horseshoe crabs laying eggs this spring in New Jersey could be lower than normal, after Sandy destroyed more than 70-percent of the crab’s nesting grounds along the Delaware Bay.

Comments [4]

Life After Sandy: Back in Business

Monday, April 15, 2013

It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions the past few weeks for Gigi Liaguno-Dorr, owner of Jakeabob’s Bay restaurant in Union Beach, New Jersey. Sandy damaged her building beyond repair, so after fourteen years of running the business, she was recently forced to take the difficult step of having it demolished.


Sandy Victims Here Illegally Struggle to Rebound

Monday, April 08, 2013

When Sandy hit, it exposed an underclass living marginal lives in basements and other rundown homes, many inhabited by people who entered the country illegally. And because many don’t qualify for federal aid, they’re at a greater disadvantage.

Comments [7]