Many homes in the Tottenville section of Staten Island were completely decimated by Hurricane Sandy, and some locals worry whether their area will ever fully recover from the storm. Borough reporter Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Larissa Marants says her extensively damaged house on Rockaway Street in Tottenville is still her dream home. Given her breathtaking views of the ocean and good schools in the area, not even the destruction of Hurricane Sandy could change her love for her home.
However, she cannot deny that the storm and its aftermath have taken their toll on her neighborhood.
"We have a beautiful area here and it's very, very depressing right now," Marants said.
A spray-painted message on the side of a nearby storm-damaged home reads "Sandy, you broke our hearts." Photographs are still buried under debris throughout the neighborhood.
John Andreala's house took on nearly six feet of water. While he is grateful his house survived, Andreala said he is still in shock about the damage the storm caused.
"I've been working on my home constantly and we'll see what happens. Time will tell. Supposedly time heals all wounds but I don't know about this one," said Andreala.
Just four of 12 families living on a quiet Tottenville street have been able to return to their homes since the storm hit. Residents said it is unclear when their neighbors will come back or if they ever will.
On Saturday, a crew of volunteers from Pennsylvania worked to try to change that. The group paired up with a Staten Island grassroots volunteer organization to help gut out a local home. A decision cannot be made about whether to rebuild or knock down the badly damaged structure until basic demolition is complete.
"They don't have the answers to those questions. so we're going to get them primed and ready to rebuild, rather than have them wait another month and find out if they're going to be able to rebuild," said volunteer Mike Hoffman.