Part 5: A storm like none before it

The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

This boat wound up at the intersection of Beard and Richards streets in Red Hook.
View from the pier: Rising waters uprooted many of the boards on Steeplechase Pier.
Workers surveyed the damage and started cleaning inside Fairway in Red Hook.
Surging waters inundated homes — and forced many Brooklynites to toss out their soaked possessions.
The storm flooded the basement and shattered the windows at Frank Morales’s Van Brunt Street home.
Red Hook residents tried to stay out of the floodwater left behind by Hurricane Sandy as they made their way home.
Hurricane Sandy did not spare Green-Wood Cemetery.
Hurricane Sandy hit Red Hook with strong wind, heavy rain, and a powerful storm surge.
Cover up: More than three feet of sand was deposited on West 17th Street and the Boardwalk in Coney Island as Hurricane Sandy blew through town.
Moving day: Hurricane Sandy did some rearranging in Gerritsen Beach — and left a barge containing a garage in the middle of Madoc and Cyrus avenues.
Sandy doesn’t like cars: Hurricane Sandy sent a tree crashing down upon a car on South Portland Street in Fort Greene.
Under water: Firefighters try — unsucessfully — to assist residents of East 23rd Street and Shore Parkway who were flooded out by Hurricane Sandy.

The waters have receded, the downed trees are gone, the crushed cars have been towed, and the power is back on for most — but Brooklynites across the borough are still reeling from the destruction that Hurricane Sandy left behind.

The Oct. 29 super storm pummeled everything in its path, claiming the lives of seven Brooklynites, leaving thousands displaced and homeless, and knocking out power for more than 162,000 borough residents.

Damage to businesses and homes in Brooklyn’s hardest-hit areas, including Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Red Hook, and DUMBO was extensive — and many are still picking up the pieces.

The powerful storm surge crippled the city’s transit system, created a gas shortage that reminded some of the film “Mad Max” and others of the 1973 oil crisis, and left the two-mile long Brooklyn Battery Tunnel flooded from end to end.

As Brooklyn continues to recover from the catastrophic storm, there are still approximately 270 residents without power, many of them in Gerritsen Beach. Storm damage was so severe in some cases that electrical systems must be rebuilt entirely before power can be restored, according to Con Edison.

The storm crushed Coney Island, damaging the Boardwalk, amusements, and even Nathan’s Famous — which will reopen next spring.

The New York Aquarium was underwater, but its marine life escaped largely unharmed. Damage at the Coney Island Hospital was so severe that city health officials say the medical facility won’t be able to take emergency patients for several months.

In Red Hook, Hurricane Sandy crushed the massive Fairway Market at the foot of Van Brunt Street, which remains shuttered, and nearly took the life of the beloved barkeep at Sunny’s Bar.

Residents of Red Hook Houses went more than two weeks without electricity, heat, or hot water — but a team of doctors made volunteer rounds inside the housing project to get residents the care they needed.

After the storm passed, a plethora of big-hearted Brooklynites — from the Occupy Wall Street folks to Bay Ridge rock-and-rollers — got involved in recovery efforts, helping storm-ravaged merchants and residents get back on their feet.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at
Updated 5:38 pm, July 9, 2018
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