Rockaways Residents Vow To Rebuild Their Ruined Neighborhoods
Almost three weeks after Sandy, Rockaway residents are still trying to put their lives back together, but while the storm took away many of their possessions, it did not affect their spirits. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Only the detached top half of Kathy Douglass Rigaut's home on Rockaway Beach in Queens remains after it was hit by Hurricane Sandy.
"It's just tragic and stunning when you look at what happened here. As you can see, that's a two-story house. That's my bedroom that we're looking at. It's on the street," said Rigaut.
The home was in her family for years.
"It was in the family for five generations. My family actually built the first six houses on this street and I grew up in this house with my four brothers and sister," she said.
Rigaut evacuated but her neighbors just a few blocks away did not heed the warnings.
"Within a half an hour, the water was just raging down the block like roaring rapids, about nine feet. It came up to the top board of the porch, started to go through the door," said Jennifer Gallagher, a neighbor.
The prevalent devastation in the beachfront community, however, is not encouraging people to leave. Many of them said they are born-and-bred Rockaway residents who are not going anywhere.
"Rockaway people are tougher, I think, in general," a local said.
Some of their homes will have to be demolished. The Department of Buildings plans to bulldoze at least 200 homes in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens that are damaged beyond repair.
"A lot of these homes are very, very old and I think they probably can't come back from this kind of damage," said a local woman.
However, she took the news in stride, saying, "We know that Rockaway can be rebuilt. We know that we were in the middle of a renaissance when this happened, so hopefully that will continue to happen."
"We're trying to keep our chins up. We're trying to just stay happy," said another Rockaways resident.
All over this resilient community, people are confident they will come out of this stronger and better than before.