Streams

Breezy Point and Midland Beach Residents Say They Need Sandy Aid

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Red Cross volunteers in Breezy Point, a month after Hurricane Sandy hit the area. Red Cross volunteers in Breezy Point, a month after Hurricane Sandy hit the area. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

As the $60.4 billon Sandy aid package remains stalled in the House of Representatives, residents of two of New York City's hardest hit neighborhoods are calling on Congress to act.

"People need money down here," said Ronnie Mershon of Midland Beach. "It’s like a warzone."

Like many in his Staten Island community, Mershon saw his home destroyed by an eight-foot wall of water that also claimed eight lives in the neighborhood. Today the streets are lined with vacant storefronts and dumpsters piled high with debris.

A carpenter by trade, Mershon has worked every day since Halloween — including weekends and New Year's Day — to repair his home and others in Midland Beach. He said lawmakers need to stop "dragging their feet."

Republican leaders have split the aid package into two bills. A $27 billion bill would provide immediate emergency funding, and a $33 billion bill would cover longterm projects, including preparation for future superstorms. 

In Breezy Point, Queens, the streets are covered with sand and many storm-tossed houses are still off their foundations, but longtime homeowners are vowing to rebuild, and people WNYC spoke with said both bills are critical for Breezy's recovery in 2013.

"The residents are counting on it," said Matthew Fleming, a lawyer who lives full-time in Breezy Point. "It's monumental." 

His neighbor Maureen Logar just got back into her home after two months without power and heat. Now, she's waiting for word that her water is safe to drink.

"We just need so much. Breezy, Rockaway, Long Island, New Jersey," Logar said, her voicing cracking. "It needs a lot of help."

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Comments [4]

Irene from Staten Island, NY

Tom- The areas effect in Staten Island and Breezy are mostly middle class civil servants/blue collar workers. Tom, they are in desperate need of assistance and as tax payers deserve to get it just like anybody else. For you to make such an ignorant statement that Wall Street should help them out is ridiculous. I would not wish this on anybody the devastation I have seen in my hometown. Staten Island has always been the forgotten borough of New York City and normally we like it that way. Low crime and small town feel, just like Breezy Point. The rest of America must realize that just a easily this can happen to any one of you. You will expect the assistance to build back up your town and I will feel you deserve it matter what part of the US you live in. You may think you are all good because you have homeowners insurance and etc. You may think that it will be all good, but you will be mistaken. I am grateful that our home was not effected, but my heart bleeds for all those in NY and NJ who were.

Jan. 02 2013 11:16 AM
Tom from Toronto

Why no reason for urgency on the aid? I think the rest of the country just feels this is not really a big disaster, and even if it is, NY and NJ should just eat the cost.

I know New Yorker's don't want to hear this, but as the home of Wall St. and a lot of rich folks, there just is very little sympathy from the rest of the country.

Jan. 02 2013 10:43 AM
April from Manhattan

Brian, have the Times reporter on PBS last night talk about the poor, literally and figuratively, people in that tower in Red Hook, Brooklyn, who still have no power, light, flush toilets, no meds, and monoxide poisoning from open ovens. If they do get down the dark stairs, no water or batteries are available. What is Bloomberg thinking?

Jan. 02 2013 10:06 AM
kevin from upper LS

they'll still vote republican in breezy point,even if they don't get the aid from the house. they are that stupid.

Jan. 02 2013 03:03 AM

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