Monday, November 5, 2012

Long Beach

I spent my High School years in Long Beach, NY

The “City by the Sea” and hated it.
I never saw the beauty and I certainly never wanted to stay.
Who ever heard of a beach with a raised boardwalk and buildings along the shoreline?
Where were the mountains and palm trees?
The beaches in Malibu never looked like this.

I could never understand why everyone loved Long Beach so much.
It was so hard to get into.
The streets only went one way.
Why couldn’t my parents move to a more central location?
Why did they have to move somewhere so far away???

On the eve of Hurricane Sandy, I sent my husband to Long Beach to bring my parents to my Northern New Jersey home.
They were evacuating the island and my parents refused to leave.
“Don’t worry,” they said. “They blew Irene out of proportion, It’s gonna be fine. Nothing is going to happen.”

Fighting with old people never works.
You are always wrong.
They are always right. 
But you see.
My step father is battling brain cancer and my mother takes care of him.
Elliot can hardly walk.
And they wouldn’t get in the car.

They had just moved. 
His medication was there. 
They were just so tired. 

The bridges started to close and the storm was approaching.
My husband had no choice, but to leave without them.
My parents were locked in.
On a tiny island bordering the main Long Island coast.
With no hospitals.
With no help.
They were there on their own with my sister on the floor above them.
Why couldn't they just listen to me!
I was livid.
So very very worried.
And then the storm hit.

The wind was like nothing I have ever heard or felt before.
The sheer power of its force - Godly.
Green and red sparks lit up the dark sky as transformers blew up throughout the city.

All I could think about were my parents being washed away at sea.
Or trapped in their first floor house like titanic, holding each other as they died.
I swear I thought I would lose my mind.

At 4 am I was a nervous wreck.
I got an update from the Long Beach website that read:

“Long Beach and the entire region has suffered crippling flooding and damage from Hurricane Sandy…… There is no water and no sewer – your toilet and sink will not work. At this time water from your faucet is not safe to drink or use for cooking unless boiled. It is not safe to leave your home until later Tuesday morning. We will send out more updates as soon as possible.”

I couldn’t get a hold of them.

My brother called me around 6am Tuesday morning and told me he was going out to Long Beach.
He was going to try to rescue them.
Thank God, but what would he find?

My parents were safe.
My mother was helping my sister clear the front yard like nothing had ever happened.
Pieces of boardwalk and debris littered all around them.
Their cars were flooded with water.
They packed up their stuff and my brother drove them to my sisters in Queens.

And then pictures started to come in......

2pm at low tide. Ocean is getting rougher, it's getting windier.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rosner
Taken at sunset as the storm hit, 2 hours before high tide.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rosner

8 pm during high tide.
Photo Credit: Lauren Friedman 
The morning after. The Boardwalk has been ripped away.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rosner
The Clean Up.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rosner
The Boardwalk
Photo Credit: Matsi Chinskey

Chunks of boardwalk in the middle of the street.
Photo Credit: Matsi Chinskey

Like many historical sites. This one is destroyed.
Photo Credit: Lauren Friedman 
Wanna go on the beach anyone?
A beach ticket booth. Washed up 5 blocks from the beach.
Walnut and Long Beach Road.
Photo Credit: Matsi Chinskey

The Park at Magnolia Blvd.
Photo Credit: Unknown 

They can’t go home for at least a month.
They realize how lucky they are.
God was with them the whole time.
Their home was one of the only ones that was NEVER touched by water.
The ocean rose up to 4 inches from the door and then it began to recede.
Their car will be covered by insurance.
They have their clothes, valuables, and medication.
They have their life.
My children still have their grandparents.

But for now Long Beach is devastated.
I didn't realize how much I cared until it was no more.
My city by the sea will never be the same.
The National Guard is roaming the streets.
There is a strict curfew at night.
They are not letting anyone in except for residents. 
They is no power. 
No cell service. 
No sewer system.
Broken shards of boardwalk are strewn all over the city.  

Many cities throughout the tristate area have been plunged into darkness.
Candles illuminate dinner tables for thousands of American homes.
I cannot help but feel diminished and in awe. 

For it’s not the internet, nor cell phones, nor power that illuminates and gives light.
But it is He who said, “Let there be light.” Who ultimately controls the world.                                                                                                                 Ron Yitzchok Eisenman

To help rebuild Long Beach please click HERE and donate. 
Please watch this video of Rabbi Goodman, the Rabbi of the Bach. 

Tisku L'Mitzvot!


  1. This is amazing! I'm so glad they're ok! Thanks for keeping my button on your blog btw :)

  2. Thank G-d they're OK. My parents go to Long Beach often during the summers. They're so sad about all that has happened. SIgh. I hope they can rebuild. Devastating. Your parents were truly lucky and blessed. And watched over.

  3. I am so glad your parents survived. What an ordeal.

  4. Thank you Abbey. This is a touching story, even if I was referred to as old. I am thankful to Hashem that we made it out safely,and I can promise you that no matter how tired i am, I will never put you through this again.