Staten Islanders came out to the borough's shorelines Tuesday, lighting candles to commemorate the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall. NY1's Anthony Pascale filed the following report.
On the same beach that bore the brunt of Hurricane Sandy, Staten Islanders stopped Tuesday to remember the storm with a tribute in lights.
The candlelight vigil helped remind some people of how far they've come.
"Tonight was a turning point. I feel like I can put all this behind me, said Elena McDonnell, whose Oakwood home was ruined by Hurricane Sandy. It's now been repaired, and she's about to move back in.
"I released it all this morning. I kind of mourned it, and I'm ready to move forward for the next year," she said.
Moving forward, though, isn't possible for everyone, especially those still displaced. For them, the vigil took on a more somber tone.
"I lost my home in Sandy, everything in it," said one person. "I've been actually homeless since last year. Every day I wake up, it's the same day as it was last year. I pray and I hope I'm not here next year taking to you about this same thing."
Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio gave words of encouragement, praising members of the community for helping each other recover.
Earlier in the day, Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota stood with Staten Islanders before a march to honor the 24 islanders who lost their lives in the storm.
One of those victims was Beatrice Spagnola. She died along with her neighbor and best friend, Anastasia Rispoli.
"Its sad. One year later. It's like yesterday," said one person. "I miss her, and it's just sad."
The vigil and other events held to commemorate the anniversary of the storm were put together by nonprofits, groups that many people credit with helping them move forward. They're groups made up of volunteers who many say give them hope for the future.