White flag over Fox Beach: A coastal community considers a permanent retreat from the water

“People should not be living here,” said Joseph Monte.
He was standing on the little piece of Staten Island he’s called home for 22 years, and arguing that it would be better if no one lived there at all.
“Turn this into what it should have been and what it was a 100 years ago, a natural area for the grounds to take the water,” he said. 
Until Hurricane Sandy rendered it uninhabitable, Monte, who owned his own construction company for two decades, lived in a grey clapboard house in Fox Beach, a subsection of Oakwood Beach on Staten Island’s southeastern flank. In good times, it was a nice place to live, and some families lived there for generations, in low-slung bungalows with American flags, just a couple of blocks from the sea.
But the neighborhood has had its downsides. Brush fires are a big issue, thanks to all the tall grass that turns to kindling in dry weather. So is flooding, a perennial, worsening problem that has proven resistant to small-bore fixes like berms and floodgates.
In the aftermath of the last big hurricane, whose surges swept more than 10 feet of water through the neighborhood and killed three residents, that problem has begun to appear insurmountable.
Today, residents are banding together in an effort to convince the government that their neighborhood should go away. The people of Fox Beach—more than 60 percent of them, according to one homeowner’s count—want a buy-out.

White flag over Fox Beach: A coastal community considers a permanent retreat from the water

“People should not be living here,” said Joseph Monte.

He was standing on the little piece of Staten Island he’s called home for 22 years, and arguing that it would be better if no one lived there at all.

“Turn this into what it should have been and what it was a 100 years ago, a natural area for the grounds to take the water,” he said. 

Until Hurricane Sandy rendered it uninhabitable, Monte, who owned his own construction company for two decades, lived in a grey clapboard house in Fox Beach, a subsection of Oakwood Beach on Staten Island’s southeastern flank. In good times, it was a nice place to live, and some families lived there for generations, in low-slung bungalows with American flags, just a couple of blocks from the sea.

But the neighborhood has had its downsides. Brush fires are a big issue, thanks to all the tall grass that turns to kindling in dry weather. So is flooding, a perennial, worsening problem that has proven resistant to small-bore fixes like berms and floodgates.

In the aftermath of the last big hurricane, whose surges swept more than 10 feet of water through the neighborhood and killed three residents, that problem has begun to appear insurmountable.

Today, residents are banding together in an effort to convince the government that their neighborhood should go away. The people of Fox Beach—more than 60 percent of them, according to one homeowner’s count—want a buy-out.


In the decade following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, when lower Manhattan’s viability as the city’s global business center was very much in question, other, unrelated trends pushed the neighborhood into a renaissance. More people live there and a greater diversity of businesses are located there than before Sept. 11. Landlords, businesses and residents have more financial incentive than ever to invest in the neighborhood, even as the damage wrought by the hurricane has many climate experts predicting a future of devastating storms like Sandy.
When the storm made landfall just south of Atlantic City on the evening of Oct. 29, it pushed a record 13.88-foot storm surge over the southern tip of Manhattan, turning the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel into a 90 million-gallon holding tank, filling the World Trade Center site’s basement levels with up to 30 feet of water.
Water climbed to the ceiling of the South Ferry subway station, the end of the No. 1 line in lower Manhattan, and debris covered tracks in stations up and down other lines after the water rushed in and out.
M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota said that seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were flooded. The flooding in the tunnels in Lower Manhattan was so serious that the Federal Emergency Management Agency asked specialists from the Army Corps of Engineers to help. The “unwatering team,” as it is known — two hydrologists and two mechanical engineers from the corps with experience in draining flooded areas — flew to the airport in White Plains because it was one of the few in the area that was open.
The eastern part of lower Manhattan, where the FDR highway divides neighborhoods from the waterfront and Pier 17 juts into the East River, was particularly hard hit. The surge and ensuing rainfall flooded parking garages and coffee shops, clothing stores, and at least one doggie daycare (the Salty Paw, on nearby Peck Slip). Thousands of New Yorkers found themselves out of office and home.
When serious questions are asked about residential waterfront communities in New Jersey, Staten Island and the south shores of Long Island, lower Manhattan is rarely mentioned. And while the big landlords interviewed by Capital expressed interest in measures they or the city might take to protect the neighborhood from the next superstorm, in the meantime almost everyone seems to be rebuilding pretty much what was there before.

Lower Manhattan rebuilds again, until the next time | by Dana Rubinstein | Capital New York

In the decade following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, when lower Manhattan’s viability as the city’s global business center was very much in question, other, unrelated trends pushed the neighborhood into a renaissance. More people live there and a greater diversity of businesses are located there than before Sept. 11. Landlords, businesses and residents have more financial incentive than ever to invest in the neighborhood, even as the damage wrought by the hurricane has many climate experts predicting a future of devastating storms like Sandy.

When the storm made landfall just south of Atlantic City on the evening of Oct. 29, it pushed a record 13.88-foot storm surge over the southern tip of Manhattan, turning the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel into a 90 million-gallon holding tank, filling the World Trade Center site’s basement levels with up to 30 feet of water.

Water climbed to the ceiling of the South Ferry subway station, the end of the No. 1 line in lower Manhattan, and debris covered tracks in stations up and down other lines after the water rushed in and out.

M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota said that seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were flooded. The flooding in the tunnels in Lower Manhattan was so serious that the Federal Emergency Management Agency asked specialists from the Army Corps of Engineers to help. The “unwatering team,” as it is known — two hydrologists and two mechanical engineers from the corps with experience in draining flooded areas — flew to the airport in White Plains because it was one of the few in the area that was open.

The eastern part of lower Manhattan, where the FDR highway divides neighborhoods from the waterfront and Pier 17 juts into the East River, was particularly hard hit. The surge and ensuing rainfall flooded parking garages and coffee shops, clothing stores, and at least one doggie daycare (the Salty Paw, on nearby Peck Slip). Thousands of New Yorkers found themselves out of office and home.

When serious questions are asked about residential waterfront communities in New Jersey, Staten Island and the south shores of Long Island, lower Manhattan is rarely mentioned. And while the big landlords interviewed by Capital expressed interest in measures they or the city might take to protect the neighborhood from the next superstorm, in the meantime almost everyone seems to be rebuilding pretty much what was there before.

Lower Manhattan rebuilds again, until the next time | by Dana Rubinstein | Capital New York

A gap in the city’s hurricane response, and a volunteer army’s attempt to fill it

A gap in the city’s hurricane response, and a volunteer army’s attempt to fill it

rockawayrecovery:

This past Saturday, more than 400 people came out to volunteer with NYCC and completed more than 1,500 needs-assessment forms.

Saturday was a great first step towards ensuring that folks in the Rockaways have the resources they need and a voice in the process of rebuilding their community.NYCC…

Great Tumblr to follow if you’re looking for ways to help out the Rockaways.

Tags: Sandy


WFMU took a $250,000 hit as a result of the storm—no small thing for an independent community radio facility overwhelmingly funded by listener support. It was another reminder that Sandy’s impact will continue to be felt by the region’s cultural institutions long after the last FEMA truck has left.
WFMU, which runs on an annual budget of $1.8 million, lost an estimated $150,000 from the cancellation last weekend of its annual record fair at Chelsea’s Metropolitan Pavilion, said Freedman, who’s been with the station since 1985. It was the first cancellation in the 20-year history of the three-day event, which provides a much-needed cash infusion to help sustain WFMU in the months heading into its annual March fund-raising drive. Beyond that, a brownout that occurred before most of Jersey City lost power altogether last Monday caused significant electrical damage to valuable studio equipment including audio processors, computers and the fire alarm system.
When the storm hit, WFMU had $40,000 in the bank, and $25,000 of that total has since been drained in order to pay the bi-weekly salaries of its seven full-time employees, thus leaving the station in a precarious situation.

Beloved indie radio station WFMU is back on the air, but running on fumes

WFMU took a $250,000 hit as a result of the storm—no small thing for an independent community radio facility overwhelmingly funded by listener support. It was another reminder that Sandy’s impact will continue to be felt by the region’s cultural institutions long after the last FEMA truck has left.

WFMU, which runs on an annual budget of $1.8 million, lost an estimated $150,000 from the cancellation last weekend of its annual record fair at Chelsea’s Metropolitan Pavilion, said Freedman, who’s been with the station since 1985. It was the first cancellation in the 20-year history of the three-day event, which provides a much-needed cash infusion to help sustain WFMU in the months heading into its annual March fund-raising drive. Beyond that, a brownout that occurred before most of Jersey City lost power altogether last Monday caused significant electrical damage to valuable studio equipment including audio processors, computers and the fire alarm system.

When the storm hit, WFMU had $40,000 in the bank, and $25,000 of that total has since been drained in order to pay the bi-weekly salaries of its seven full-time employees, thus leaving the station in a precarious situation.

Beloved indie radio station WFMU is back on the air, but running on fumes

Before the flood: New York City is just beginning to gird for the ‘100-year storm,’ if it’s not already too late
(Written by Katharine Jose for Capital New York in February)
Obama and Christie on the cover, around the world

Obama and Christie on the cover, around the world

After the storm, New York’s theaters face blackouts and empty houses

Tags: Sandy theater