The boardwalk on Staten Island is one of the largest in the world and, therefore, found itself to be extremely vulnerable as Sandy sent water washing ashore, leaving millions of dollars in damage that took months to fix. NY1's Anthony Pascale looks back on the road to recovery for the Staten Island landmark and filed the following report.
Take a stroll down the South Beach Boardwalk and it's easy to forget the storm. In what many call the Forgotten Borough, the progress is clear.
After $2 million in repairs, the mile and a half boardwalk is back open. It was no easy feat, says the borough's parks commissioner Adena Long.
"It was something out of a bad horror film when we came out here following the storm," Long recalled.
There were signs of trouble in the hours before Sandy actually hit. Water began flooding the area early on. Though damaged, the boardwalk remained in tact.
"Everything that's a lighter color is actually new wood that was used to improve the support of the overhead structure," Long said.
The city also installed temporary dunes to protect from future storms. It's providing some peace of mind for Salvatore Sulsenti who manages a restaurant and banquet hall on the boardwalk.
"People still think we got wiped out," Sulsenti said.
While business is not what it was, they're back open and thankful for that.
"We definitely struggled, but we make do and we made changes and we're bettering ourselves everyday with the struggles we faced," Sulsenti said.
While there has been progress, not everyone's smiling about it. The storm killed more people on Staten Island than in any other borough and hundreds remain out of their homes, leaving many to wonder if the money spent to restore the boardwalk would've been better spent elsewhere.
"Why would you put back together a recreation area when you could've gotten people back in their homes," said Joe Hernnkind, a borough resident.
Both Hernnkind and Frank Moszcynski remain displaced. Frustrated by the red tape that's become synonymous with city and federal aid, they search for the normalcy they once had.
"I can't go to my neighbor, 'Phil can you put my cans in I'm not going to be here tomorrow,' cause Phil's gone. So for us, the locals here it'll never be the same," Moszcynski said.
Still, for many who visit the boardwalk, it has once again become a place to escape the rigors of everyday life...with the water a constant reminder of what happened there one year ago.