Sea Gate Residents Deal With Sandy's Aftermath
One of the communities Sandy hit hardest was Sea Gate, Brooklyn, a lovely place to have a home but a dangerous place when a big storm threatens. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
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A day after they fled from Sea Gate, the DeAngelis family returned to see what was left of their waterfront home.
"The whole house got swept up and I found my belongings by the park about two blocks away," said Pasquale DeAngelis. "It's a mess. The house has to be abandoned. We're just taking what we could salvage."
The family bought the house in 1980. It survived several storms since then, including a powerful 1992 Nor'easter. But it didn't stand a chance against Sandy's fury. The family realized what they were up against as they tried to get the house ready for the storm's arrival.
"I was doing work on the electricity and I just got scared three times," said Angelo DeAngelis. "Kind of a nice bomb coming underneath the deck, coming through and splashing into the house."
Most Sea Gate residents evacuated before the worst of Sandy hit. By Tuesday morning, dozens of homes were destroyed. In some cases, piles of rubble are all that's left of them.
"This was a gorgeous house," said Sea Gate resident Terry Espinal. "I mean, you go on the second floor and it's like, you're in heaven. Beautiful view. It hurts me just to see it in this condition. It's unbelievable."
Sea Gate's little bit of heaven is on the western tip of Coney Island, a Zone A neighborhood that was one of the most vulnerable to the storm. Rep. Jerrold Nadler said it's the most devastated part of his district.
"Utter destruction," Nadler said. "I mean, a lot of these houses are totally destroyed. You look at that one right there, you can see through it. You can see through it from this side to the other. Both sides were destroyed. You see the sea wall there completely gone."
Many homeowners said they thought their retaining walls would hold up against the surge. But on Tuesday, sand and debris covered the roads, and the streets didn't look much better in Coney Island, where cars were strewn about.
The flood waters throughout the area have now receded, but their devastating impact on the neighborhoods will be felt for a long time to come.