Five months after Superstorm Sandy hit New York, most of the city is back to normal. The power is back on, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has wrung more than $30 billion in disaster aid from Washington. But the coastal neighborhoods that bore the brunt of the wind and the water have yet to recover.
Ruin remains on the Rockaways peninsula in Queens, where the historic art deco bathhouse at Jacob Riis Park is surrounded not by pedestrians enjoying the view but by the autumn’s debris—branches, broken glass, and sheared-off brickwork. Along the beach, mechanical claws clutch at the waste that was once a house; nearby, the broken remains of another house await a buyer.
Across the bridge in Broad Channel, Queens, the destroyed Bayview Restaurant is a testament to the peril that comes with a Jamaica Bay view. And more than 23 miles away, Staten Islanders must decide whether to rebuild and stay—or abandon their beachfront homes to the wild.