Newsday asked a cross-section of Long Islanders for their insight on how superstorm Sandy changed the future of Long Island.
John D. Cameron Jr.
Chairman, Long Island Regional Planning Council, managing partner, Cameron Engineering & Associates
"The impacts of superstorm Sandy on Long Island were physical, economic and psychological in nature. The weaknesses in our natural and built environment were exposed. In order for Long Island to survive future such events, it is critical that we assess our vulnerabilities and address them."
Real estate agent active with Camp Bulldog, a volunteer group helping Sandy victims in Lindenhurst and the Town of Babylon
"Superstorm Sandy has had a huge impact on real estate. The inventory is down, as many homes that were on the market when the storm hit are no longer. Some of the damaged homes are selling for several thousand dollars less, in 'as is' condition. Other owners have chosen to repair and perhaps stay."
Plan examiner II/Certified flood plain manager, Town of Hempstead
"Moving forward from the storm, a transformation to flood-resistant construction is currently under way. Waterfront communities will take on a different aesthetic. Many residential dwellings are being elevated on crawl spaces with flood venting."
Chief economist, Long Island Association
"Superstorm Sandy made Long Islanders keenly aware of their vulnerability to natural disasters. It has forced Long Island to attempt to “harden” its public infrastructure, including its sewage plants, roads and electrical distribution systems. Gas stations in key locations will be required to have emergency generators."
(Credit: Chris Ware)
Executive director, Stony Brook University Center for Regional Policy Studies
"In my judgment and experience Sandy will not change Long Island?s future any more than the 1938 and subsequent damaging storms have. For change to occur, policies of allowing residences to be built in a flood plain would have to change."
(Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)
President and chief executive, Long Island Association
"Six months ago, superstorm Sandy led to epic destruction and disruption to our critical infrastructure, such as our roads and rail, utilities, wastewater treatment facilities and housing supply while also inflicting serious harm to small businesses. No storm of this size has ever hit a region as densely populated as ours."
Executive dean, Hofstra University National Center for Suburban Studies
"In the months since the superstorm shredded America’s First Suburb, pundits and politicians have reached for words like these to turn Sandy into an iconic rallying cry. But Sandy won’t change anything unless we seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tackle long-standing problems — many related to suburban sprawl and fragmented governance — that have stalled economic growth and social cohesion."
Scott J. Mandel
President, Long Beach City Council
"In the wake of the unprecedented devastation Sandy caused across the city’s critical infrastructure, it is vital that we rebuild stronger, smarter and safer. The new Long Beach boardwalk will be built using a strong, sustainable tropical hardwood, in conjunction with concrete in the most highly trafficked areas.
(Credit: David Pokress)
Workers rights program coordinator, National Day Laborer Organizing Network
"Superstorm Sandy may have devastated Long Island’s homes and infrastructure, but it also revealed how communities pull together in surprising ways in the face of disaster. The recovery highlighted the irony that, in times of crisis, it is Long Island’s most marginalized and impoverished communities — day laborers and immigrant construction workers — who play an essential role in the Island’s response to disasters."
(Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin)
President and chief executive, Urban League of Long Island
"Long Island has historically struggled with issues of equity encompassing all of its community systems, including education, employment, housing and health. These inequities have placed Long Island as one of the most segregated places in America."
(Credit: Steve Pfost)
Tim C. Smith
Creator of the SouthShoreLiftProject.com website, Lindenhurst
"On the morning of Oct. 29, my wife and I returned to our home in the wake of Sandy. Nearly 3 feet of water was in the street, along with boats randomly positioned throughout the neighborhood. The only means of getting to our home was in the raft I had secured to a tree close to Montauk Highway the prior evening. I remember looking at my wife, her eyes welled up with tears. I turned to her and said: 'I need you to be strong, the hard part is yet to come.'"
(Credit: Jim Staubitser)
Aram V. Terchunian
Coastal geologist and president, First Coastal Corp., Westhampton Beach
"Sandy will rank as one of the benchmark storms of record over the past century, joining the Great Hurricane of 1938, the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, and the nor’easters of 1991-1992. Sandy reminded people of the value of high dunes and wide beaches, whether you visit our fabulous beaches or live in the mainland areas protected by the barrier island."
(Credit: Randee Daddona)