Hurricane Sandy Revisited – August 2014

After driving through Holgate in March of this year, it was time to return. Had anything changed? What was new? What hadn’t yet been touched? Were the signs of Hurricane Sandy still evident?

UntitledThe town was alive with people – those that were building or repairing houses, or those enjoying the sun and sand of southern Long Beach Island. Untitled

Houses that I saw in the start of their building process (after seeing their predecessors sit in ruin be removed) were closer to finalization. Rather than timber frames, crews wrapped up putting on railings and nailing in woodwork.

UntitledOther houses looked as they did almost two years ago – untouched, battered, and appeared abandoned. No stairs to take people inside, and no sign of any attempts to repair; these Untitledocean front properties looked forgotten.

New and rehabbed houses also sprung to life in the town. Either newly built and/or rehabbed, or slapped with a fresh coat of paint, these houses were stunning. They stood as if nothing had happened here – no storm – nothing. Beautiful to see, but with the memory that what is here today may be gone tomorrow.

UntitledThis also highlighted another issue that probably isn’t as prevalent in Holgate. Most of these houses are second homes, rentals, and other forms of investment property. These aren’t primary homes that were lost to the storm. These aren’t the houses that haven’t seen Hurricane Sandy funds payed or had issues with insurance paying out on premiums. That’s the true and ongoing tragedy of this storm.

This will be my last Hurricane Sandy visit to Holgate. Perhaps another visit in October 2015?


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