Sandy ravaged south Queens, tearing apart neighborhoods like Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, and Broad Channel.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Elected officials on Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy by reflecting on the damage and how far New York has come in the wake of the catastrophe that caused more than $40 billion in damages and claimed 53 lives across the Empire State.
“Forever, we will look at flooding, surges, steady heavy rain and high tides differently because of Sandy. While we have a number of ongoing projects like NY Rising and Spring Creek to help with the mitigation of future flooding, we truly cannot put Sandy behind us until every resident has fully recovered from its devastation,” said State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach). “In the wake of Sandy, it has been satisfying and heartwarming to see so many of our local businesses reopen their doors, to have our beautiful beaches and boardwalks open up again to the public, and witness the rebuilding of so many homes that were lost to the superstorm. I represent very resilient constituents, who bound together to assist one another in the recovery after Sandy, and we all learned a great deal about the importance of neighbor helping neighbor during this continuing ordeal.”
Senate Minority Charles Schumer echoed Addabbo’s sentiments.
“Hard to believe it has already been 5 yrs since Hurricane Sandy crippled the East Coast & hurt NY families, homes, & businesses,” New York’s senior senator began in a series of tweets posted on Sunday. “Forever grateful to firefighters, police, 1st responders & volunteers from across the US who saved lives & helped when we needed it most. NY had to fight for every dollar to rebuild, repair & become more resilient. We still aren’t back 100%, but we’re stronger than ever.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo, a borough native, added on Twitter, “5 years ago today Superstorm Sandy ravaged our state. I’m proud of the work all New Yorkers have done to build back stronger than ever.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a press conference on Sunday announcing major investments to protect the Rockaways from future storms, recalled the horror of the days, weeks, and months following the weather event.
“We’re talking about the worst natural disaster we’ve ever faced in the history of this city. And we look with such pain and memory as our brothers and sisters in Houston and in Florida and in Puerto Rico have gone through their trials and tribulations, it all takes us back to what we experienced here,” de Blasio noted. “We think about those who are lost. We lost so many New Yorkers whose memories we keep alive. We think about thousands and thousands of families who were torn away from their home and the sheer devastation. And it was in all five boroughs. I went, in the days after, to communities in Queens, in Staten Island, in Brooklyn, in Manhattan, and even the Bronx that were really hit and harmed by Sandy, each in different ways, some in terrifying ways. So, five years later it’s impossible to forget what happened, and it’s impossible to let down our guard because we learned this is a fight we’ll be fighting for a long time to make our city safe, to make it resilient. And we’ve seen these other storms hit other places and it reminds us we can never rest.”