what i found at my jersey shore home in the aftermath of sandy

On Long Beach Island, the push is on to rebuild before Memorial Day. But with restaurants in shambles and insurance payments trickling in slowly, it will be tough to meet the deadline

December 21, 2012

By Timothy Bella

"Born To Run" is on the radio as I make the right at Exit 63 on the Garden State Parkway two weeks after Hurricane Sandy. It is raw and rainy, a classic winter's day in South Jersey, and Long Beach Island -- a place my family has called our summer home for almost 40 years -- is a mess. Signs for contractors from across the state, as well as from Alabama and Louisiana, cover the shoulders of Route 72 in Manahawkin. 

Driving over the causeway and heading down the island, I pass boarded-up storefronts with visible water damage, most of which have been spray-painted with optimistic messages such as Open when it's over and No fear. Hummers are camped out on side streets, keeping watch for potential looters coming by boat. Signs reading, "Unite. Rebuild. Thank you," are littered across the island. Piles of rotted wood line the streets. You see people's lives strewn there - mattresses, couches, chairs, bikes, tables, grills, children's toys, and the occasional crucifix. 

 

Timothy Bella