Subscribe Now

travelers today

Home » News

Fire Island's Future in Question After Hurricane Sandy Leaves Destruction Behind

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Nov 24, 2012 09:59 AM EST

Text Size: A A A

fire island
Damaged house is seen after Hurricane Sandy passed through in the greatly affected community of Atlantique on Fire Island, New York.(Photo : Reuters)

Fire Island's future is in question after Hurricane Sandy's surge attacked the island off of New York head on, destroying properties, lives and its protective dunes.  However residents and visitors are counting their blessings and hoping to rebuild  the 32-mile-long barrier island again.

The surge created by Hurricane Sandy destroyed 200 homes and destroyed the protective sand dunes around the island, but it could have been worse.  Over 4,000 structures survived the storm and can be repaired and many are thanking the 10- 20 foot dunes for that. 

"The dunes were demolished, but without their protection it would have been much worse,"  Malcolm Bowman, a professor of physical oceanography at Stony Brook University told the Associated Press.

The dunes clearly made an impact as they no longer lie among the beaches, but within the streets of the island. The sand of the dunes covers the streets and properties up to half a mile away from the ocean. Sandy diminished the sand structures, leaving properties vulnerable to future destruction, but there is no doubt that the dunes helped protect much of the island.

Fire Island is a vacation hotspot for many New Yorkers. It is accessible by ferry only and lies five miles off the south of Long Island. There are only 300 permanent residents on the island, but it attracts nearly 75,000 visitors during the summer who rent homes and bungalows. It is a little slice of paradise where cars are not welcome and bikes are the main form of transportation. 

Hurricane Sandy attacked Fire Island nearly four weeks ago, but many residents and property owners have only been able to inspect the damage within the past week.

Many were shocked to see the condition of the island where nine homes were totally demolished and 200 more received severe damage.

"Decimated," Ocean Beach store owner Kenny Goodman told AP. When he saw the damage that was done to his store, he said he was "really overwhelmed and sad - it's just a gigantic loss."

One of the major concerns of the residents and visitors is having the dunes rebuilt.

"We haven't got any protection now," Retired electrical contractor Hyman Portnoy, whose house was damaged, told AP. "I'd be satisfied with anything. I'd be satisfied with a pile."

The dunes are so important that the property taxes of many homeowners goes towards maintaining the dunes. However Suzy Goldhirsch, president of the Fire Island Association, which represents businesses and homeowners, expects the federal government to fund some of the dune restoration projects since the dunes are so necessary to protecting the island. Those in Hurricane Katrina areas also received federal funding to help restore the area.

The dune restoration project has already begun as workers are picking up the sand from the community and piling it back into dunes on the beaches.

While residents have many lost a lot, they're determined to rebuild Fire Island in some way.

"It will be different. Maybe by my grandchildren's time it will be back," Goodman told AP. "It won't be like it was."

Not every area will be able to be rebuilt and federal, state, county, town and local will work together to determine what can be fixed and how to go  about doing it.

"It's part of a new national dialogue," Goldhirsch told AP. "The governor has said he wants to rebuild smarter and better, and I think we have to think about how we are going to do this so it's better in the future. We have a lot to think about; there are no easy answers, no one answer."

Bowman said a long-term will have to be set to try to repair the area as it is no quick fix.

"Not just a rapid-fire reaction to a catastrophe; this is going to happen again," Bowman said. "Some of these things are going to be very expensive decisions, and we need a longer perspective.

While Hurricane Sandy caused destruction in the area, the storm also uncovered some treasures. With the dunes being washed away, a post-Civil War ship was totally uncovered on the beach. 

Share This Story

© 2015 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

Travel Tips

Lima, Peru

A Travel Guide to Peru: Things to Know

Peru is a cultural hub filled with unique sights to see, amazing cuisine, a plethora of activities, and is definitely somewhere worth putting on your travel bucket list, but there are a few things to know before planning your trip.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest travel news, reviews, and more..

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Anti-Jewish leaflets were found on cars in Chicago

Jewish Graves Desecrated With Slogans: Teenagers Apprehended For Heinous Act In Brumath, Message Of Hatred?

Jewish Graves Desecrated With Slogans – Five teenage boys, aged 15-17, were apprehended by French police. The five teens reportedly defaced and knocked over Jewish gravestones. This incident has been dubbed a hate message in times of the terrorist act in Denmark and Paris.

Ryan Seacrest, Ford, The Recording Academy And GRAMMY Foundation Celebrate National Semi-Finalist For The Music Educator Award

Chicago-Area Substitute Teacher Bully: Helped Student Harrass And Bully A Classmate

Chicago-Area Substitute Teacher Bully – It looks like bullying doesn’t involve only students. The latest report of bullying now involves a substitute teacher in the Chicago area. What did the teacher do to the student that had it counted as an act of bullying?

ISIS Al Asad Base Attack

Copenhagen Shooting Attack PM: Gunman Killed By Authorities After Two Attacks, Killer Inspired By Islamic State Militants

Copenhagen Shooting Attack PM – The man involved in two terrorist attacks in Copenhagen has finally been shot dead by Danish police. Still unidentified, the man is reportedly responsible for shooting down two civilians and severely wounding five police officials. The shooting was done in separate events, first being the attack on a synagogue, and the second at an event where talks on freedom of speech was being held.

China Prepares For Spring Festival Travel Rush

Bus Train Collision Mexico February 13: Kills 20, Leaves 30 Injured, What Led To Deadly Crash?

Bus Train Collision Mexico February 13 – Around 16 people were killed in a collision that occurred north of Mexico on Friday night. The collision involved a bus on the highway and a freight train. Aside from the 16 people who died that night, 30 other people sustained injuries. So what led to the crash?

Chapel Hill Shooting A Hate Crime? New Details Revealed

Chapel Hill Shooting A Hate Crime? New Details, Thousands Mourn Victims

Chapel Hill Shooting – While thousands of mourners gathered for the funeral of three Muslim students killed in the Chapel Hill shooting in North Carolina, their father told the crowd they were shot because of a hate crime.

A gray wolf unseen for over eight decades was shot by a hunter in Iowa.

Grand Canyon Wolf Sighting: Wolf Named Echo Mistaken For Coyote, Killed In Utah By Hunter, Officials Investigating Death

Grand Canyon Wolf Sighting – It has been a decade since a wolf made its appearance at the Grand Canyon. Now, it seems this event is unlikely to repeat since the wolf identified at the sighting has been killed in Utah. A hunter had mistaken the wolf for a coyote.

Intoxicated couple sleeps in Tampa dumpster, rescued from Florida garbage truck

Florida Couple, Dumpster Sleeping, Almost Died, 911 Call From Truck Driver

Florida Couple Dumpster – Florida authorities reported that an intoxicated man and woman had to be rescued after falling asleep inside a Dumpster then later emptied into a garbage truck, according to the Associated Press. A driver from Progressive Waste Solutions said he found the Florida couple dumpster at the back of his truck Wednesday morning.

Piggly Wiggly Crash

Piggly Wiggly Crash: 92-Year Old Driver Slams Into 9 Cars, Incident In Wisconsin Parking Lot 'Dubbed' Accident, Senior To Retake Driving Test? Should Senior Be Allowed Behind The Wheel?

Piggly Wiggly Crash – In some cases of road accidents, drivers behind the wheel who had been the cause of the incident usually get charged for reckless driving. However, the latest case involving a 92-year old man and nine cars parked at Piggly Wiggly’s parking lot – no charges will be cited against him.

SFO taxi protest causes gridlock, backfires

US Loudest Quietest Spots: New York Dubbed Loudest, Yellowstone National Park Dubbed Quietest

US Loudest Quietest spots have been indicated on a map by none other than the National Park Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division. So what parts of the United States made it to the list of quietest? What parts of the United States have been dubbed as the loudest?

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2015 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics