Sandy Hook is stronger than Sandy!

As life in New York metropolitan area slowly returns to normal after the Frankenstorm, some of the city dwellers start thinking beyond the most vital issues. I’ve heard from several people already their concern about whether we’ll have a proper beach season next summer, because of some rumours that beaches got destroyed. So, yours truly got on a plane and went to check it out. Well, luckily I have a friend who is a pilot on a small plane and we planned a flight on the clear morning last Sunday…

When we reached the coastal area of Rockaway, it was obvious that for many people by the waterfront, the most essential question was still… where to live.

A large part of Breezy Point was wiped out by fire that fire department wasn’t able to reach because of the flooding.

These are aerial photographs of one of my favorite beaches, Fort Tilden, before Sandy.

And these are from this Sunday.

The beach itself looks as beautiful, but you can see that the dunes receded… and their sand covers the road now! I have mixed feeling about it being less accessible now. In a way, it is also nice to have some wilderness areas within NYC boundaries.

Jersey Shore suffered from Frankenstorm even more, but we flew only above its northernmost tip, Sandy Hook. Gunnison beach of Sandy Hook, probably my favorite one in the area, appeared totally flooded at first sight.

But it definitely remains to be a wide sandy beach as we know it!

It’s got this interesting sand barrier structure that goes along the shore, but I doubt it will last till next summer.

Parts of the road were still flooded, and I am sure there is a lot of mud and sand.

Another thing that I noticed looking at the beach, was that the parts of sand dunes covered with plants, even just grass or small bushes, seemed to have resisted the surge pretty well.

This made me think that the fence that limits access to the dunes for protection of shorebirds, such as plovers, was actually also necessary to preserve the plant cover. This, in turn, reminded me of a couple of case when I saw rangers patrolling the beach hitting the fence while passing through it and not bothering to put it back! One friend of mine took care of it, and he made it artfully!

In any case, I have no doubt that there will be a beach season next summer. Sandy Hook proved to be stranger than Sandy!

hurricane flashback

In anticipation of the Frankenstorm, I can’t help recalling last year experience right before arrival of the hurricane Irene to New York City. A friend of mine got a reckless idea of running in the storm. Well, not that reckless, the storm was still a few hours away from the city, and it was a classic calm before the storm. The night was just more humid usual, but there was no wind. And I have never seen the streets of Manhattan so quiet and empty. We headed out to Riverside Park and it started pouring, but still there was no sign of wind.

Our only encounter in the park was a totally wet skunk that was running hastily away from the Hudson River.

Guess what we thought next. That seemed like a unique opportunity to jog in one of New York’s major parks naked, and we didn’t miss the chance!

We ran in the rain up to George Washington Bridge.

It felt fantastic, as if the city was just ours and nothing could stop us… But of course, we had to stop and go back. The storm never really hit Manhattan severely, but we wouldn’t know beforehand. So, luckily, our naked run remained the brightest memory from the hurricane Irene. Who knows what Sandy brings us this time. It is expected to be much longer (up to 36 hours, as opposed to 6 hours of Irene), and it’s definitely not going to be warm, especially if the tropical hurricane does merge with the wintry storm. Also, combination with full moon increases the chance of particularly strong surges, so we should stay away from the river…

Be safe and take care!