Hurricane Sandy Ravages East Coast

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Devastation in Queens: The home of Albert and Sarit Nigri in Belle Harbor was among those hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. The house’s furnishings, say the owners, have been scattered throughout the neighborhood. The tri-state area was left utterly devastated by Hurricane Sandy, labeled as an “unthinkable” and “incalculable” storm, something neither the Eastern Seaboard nor the Northeast has ever seen. Neighborhoods are coping without electricity, which may take 4-8 days before it is fully restored, according to Con Edison, LIPA, and other area utility providers.

The storm made landfall on Monday evening, affecting more than 8.2 million people across the East Coast. New York was hard hit, causing the worst damage in the 108-year history of the city’s subway system, which was flooded in many places. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose own state has been ravaged by the storm, told reporters, “It is beyond anything I thought I’d ever see.”

“It is a devastating sight right now,” he added.

“This was a devastating storm, maybe the worst that we have ever experienced,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported. “We have begun the work of clearing and re-opening bridges and roadways. Stay off the roads. Some bridges have been re-opened. Mass transit grid may take some more time, and will need some patience,” he said.The house pictured above had recently been sold by Meir and Gloria Cohen for over five million dollars, making it the most expensive home ever sold in Queens. The new owner is Cary Pollack of Meridian Capital Group, a national real estate concern focusing on commercial properties. Pollack tells the Jewish Voice that the house had just undergone some major renovations, and he was there inspecting the house when the wave hit, sometime around 5:30 PM on Monday, causing the horrific damage seen in this photo.

Fox News’ reporter David Lee Miller, in describing the heavily flooded Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, “this has been here for 62 years. With the extent of the damage, it’s completely impassable unless you have a submarine to get to Brooklyn. To get the water out, the city still needs to pump it out.”

Hurricane Sandy’s devastation grew Tuesday as millions living along the Atlantic faced life without power or mass transit for days. The U.S. death toll is at least 40, many due to falling trees. Rescue work continues throughout the eastern seaboard.

Hurricane Sandy will be far more costly than Hurricane Irene, wreaking about $20 billion in damages, and $10 billion to $30 billion more in lost business. As of Tuesday, more than 6,000 flights were canceled. It has been reported that Sandy will likely be among the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

“My number one priority as an elected official is to be there for people when they need me most,” said New York City Councilman Greenfield. “I am very proud that whatever gets thrown at us, whether it was the blizzard of 2010, Hurricane Irene last year, or this super-storm, my office is always open to help residents. This is especially important and critical today in the aftermath of the dangerous and destructive storm we witnessed.”

“Please call me,” said Greenfield, “if there is any way I can be of assistance as we work together to clean up from this terrible event.”

The home of Ralph Nakash (of Jordache jeans fame) and his wife Rosie, on 146th Street in Queens, also bore the brunt of Sandy’s wrath. Numerous local agencies and volunteer organizations have been mobilized to help with relief efforts, and offer opportunities for those that want to donate their time, and help out. One member of the Red Cross told Fox News, “We planned in advance for this… we have shelters open and the shelters are well populated.”

Certain parts of Queens, like Belle Harbor, experienced extensive flooding, with many home suffering serious structural damage (see photos). Additionally, a fire in the Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point has claimed more than 80 homes. Said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer: “Our prayers are with those families and the more than 190 firefighters who helped to battle the blaze.”

Since the storm hit, Con Edison has assessed its damage in what is seen as the most devastating storm in its company history. Many of the power outages in lower Manhattan were due to an explosion at an electrical substation.

“It wasn’t clear whether flooding or flying debris caused the explosion,” said John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Con Edison.

MTA bus service began to run on a Sunday schedule, effective 5:00 PM on Tuesday evening.

Jewish Voice editor Daniel Perez also contributed to this report. All photos by JV staff.

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