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

© 2014 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

ADVERTISEMENT

Travel Tips

Prince Edward Island, Canada

Fall Cruises: Better Than Land Tours? It Gives Guests ‘A European Experience Without Leaving North America’

Fall cruises for foliage in the northeast are now becoming more and more popular as each year goes by. The foliage that is part of the tour is unlike any other place in the country. In fact, more guests are even paying good money to cruise the rivers, as well as the oceans, in order to peep leaves instead of having to brave today’s highly crowded roads and hotels on land.

Subscribe to our newsletter

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

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Debris field spotted on radar at time of the Louisiana loud boom

Louisiana Loud Boom: Mysterious ‘Sonic Boom’ In The Sky Rattles Residents, ‘Debris Field’ Spotted, What Is The ArkLaTex ‘Boom’?

The Louisiana loud boom which was heard and rattled many north eastern Louisiana residents is as of this moment still left unexplained. However, now the National Weather Service has added that whatever the cause of the Louisiana loud boom, it has left a debris field.

Illness Observation

Ebola Airborne CDC: Widespread Outbreak Possible, More Contagious Virus Than Thought

The Executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Jane Orient, claimed the world is dealing a different kind of Ebola virus, one which is more potent and can be transmitted in air via droplets.

Brazil is currently treating and monitoring its first suspected case of Ebola. A 47 year-old man from Guinea reportedly manifest fever withing the 21 day-incubation period of the virus.

Brazil Confirms First Suspected Ebola Case

Brazil treats its first ever suspected case of Ebola while waiting for the results of a blood test which is due to be released on Saturday.

Ebola Press Conference Boston Logan Airport

Ebola In Boston: Two Ebola Mass. Scares Raises Fears Despite Braintree Patient Declared Not At Risk, What Is The Different Types Of Ebola Risks?

Fears over Ebola in Boston have heightened after two Massachusetts scares flared up over the Columbus Day weekend. Raised concerns over Ebola in Boston have since prompted holiday press conferences and reverse 911 calls to reassure the public.

American Airlines jet landing at DCA

American Airlines Flight Depressurized Due To Cracks In Cabin Walls; Plane Had Emergency Landing

American Airlines had to have an emergency landing after its cabin walls started to break apart as its passengers, absolutely terrified, had no choice but to look on and shout for help. One of the passengers, James Wilson, said that he felt something was wrong when the fuselage started to shake violently and heard some popping noises outside the plane.

Tropical Storm Ana 2014

Tropical Storm Ana 2014: Hurricane Watch May Be Required In Hawaiian Islands Because Of Strong Intensity Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm Ana 2014 - The new tropical storm named Ana is currently getting stronger and stronger with maximum sustained winds at 70 mph or 110 km/h and it is expected to hit the main Hawaiian islands on Wednesday, KHON2 first reported.

Mount Sinabung spews pyroclastic smoke, seen from Tiga Pancur village on February 12, 2014 in Karo District, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Mount Sinabung Eruption 2014: Hauntingly Beautiful Lava And Ash Prompts Evacuations, Eruption Reaches Fourth Successive Day

A Mount Sinabung eruption 2014 occurred Friday, with the volcano spewing tons of molten lava and ash, captured in hauntingly beautiful photos. The initial Mount Sinabung eruption 2014 for the month, the latest in a recent set of eruptions of the Indonesian volcano took place Wednesday afternoon.

Protests Continue Over Police Shooting Of Michael Brown

Teen Shot St. Louis: Protests Ensue After Second Case Of White Cop Shooting Black Teen, Michael Brown Incident All Over Again?

Teen shot St. Louis – Another case of a white cop shooting a black teen dead has been reported. Following the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year old black kid was shot fatally by a white cop who was reportedly off-duty. Protests have already ensued after the incident of the teen shot St. Louis.

happy labradoodle

Labradoodle Gracie 200 Foot Fall: Dog Survives Terrifying Fall From Oregon Cliff

Labradoodle Gracie 200 foot fall - a miraculous thing happened to Michelle Simmons' pet dog, a Labradoodle named Gracie, Monday morning when it fell down a 200-foot Oregon cliff but managed to survive.

Painted Desert

Petrified Forest National Park Discovery In Arizona Reveals Second Ancient Basket-Maker Village: Report

Petrified Forest National Park's latest discovery of archaeologists suggests that another ancient basket-maker village had lived in the said area of Arizona.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2014 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics