Hundreds of residents have accepted buyouts and moved out of a shorefront community on Staten Island, leaving the few that remain facing a life very different from the one they knew before Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
It's summer in Oakwood Beach — the time of year residents here once savored.
But most are gone now, moving out after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
It's quiet now.
This was the first community to join Gov. Andrew Cuomo's program of buying out entire neighborhoods, and allowing nature to reclaim the land to end the cycle of damaging storms and costly repairs.
303 homeowners in Oakwood Beach accepted the voluntary buyouts. 27 did not.
Four of the holdouts live on Fox Lane, including Christopher Camuso.
"My neighborhood is very quiet. It's very peaceful here," Camuso said.
Peaceful, but not without challenges. Camuso's flood insurance has tripled, and city services have declined.
"They pick up garbage around the block; they don't pick up garbage here no more," Camuso said. "They can't come down here."
That's because of the craters that opened up in the road, some of them quite deep and filled with green, murky water.
Cars that drive through them often become caked with algae.
The street hasn't been maintained since Sandy. Residents say broken streetlights haven't been replaced, either.
Residents familiar with the perils of driving up the street say they only travel about five miles an hour when passing by.
Others have not been so lucky, and that's why people can find pieces of damaged cars littering the street.
City and state officials told NY1 that they are negotiating the transfer of the open land to the city, most likely to the parks department.
The department is expected to then develop a long-term plan for the area, including what to do with the roads.
For that reason, the transportation department said it has decided to leave the streets as they are.
And so things will remain as they are in Oakwood Beach for the foreseeable future.