April 4, 2013 -- Mantoloking, NJ
Just one of thousands of homes destroyed by the storm. More pictures here.
It’s worse than I expected. I saw all the news reports about Super Storm
Sandy on TV, of course, and talked with friends and family about their
experiences. But that didn’t prepare me for what I'm seeing. Actually standing
amid the ruin is an entirely different experience than seeing it on the news.
One of my first stops today is Mantoloking, N.J. a place considered by
many to be “ground zero” for the storm. I walk along the coastline, with its
pristine white Jersey sand and fresh tracks from the heavy equipment used to
groom the beach. But right next to the perfect beaches of my childhood are huge
piles of debris. No, wait -- that’s wrong. The debris isn't next to the beach, it is on top
of it. There is no “land” here; it’s all beach. It’s all sand, broken up in
places by asphalt or stones or wooden decks, but under that, it’s just more
sand. And the piles aren’t debris – they are entire houses, or what’s left of
them. You know it’s a house because, well, what else could it be? You can see
the roof, the doors, the wires, and the furniture. But it’s all mixed up and
tangled. It’s deeply unsettling.