Fires devastated Breezy Point; areas of Staten Island were destroyed with lives lost; thousands of residents in Lower Manhattan were plunged into darkness after an electrical transformer exploded on the East River. These events were among the horrific results of Superstorm Sandy, an event that continues to haunt countless New York residents nearly eight months after the storm surge.
“As with most victims, they feel relief is slow and not enough,” says Greg Carlson, executive director of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives & Condominiums (FNYHC). “The process is so slow that many without the means feel helpless.”
The superstorm is being blamed for roughly $70 billion in damage and other losses, the vast majority of which was in New Jersey and New York. Hitting two days shy of Halloween, Sandy is the second-costliest storm in U.S. history after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans.
“As we all have seen, certain areas of New York City were hit harder by Sandy than others, and some residents have been disappointed by the slow political machines that determined various recovery activities,” says Michael Berenson, president of Manhattan-based AKAM Living Services. “AKAM cannot speak to the political issues that have arisen in Sandy’s wake, nor to the overall mood in the city, but we can however address the responses we have gotten from the properties under our management that were impacted, which have been overwhelmingly positive.”
Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.” And while no person, state or entity wants to endure a storm the magnitude of Sandy, prior weather-related crises served as an education. Elected officials are learning as they move forward, including New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, who many months after the storm has pledged that rebuilding efforts will continue.