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Surveying Queens' Rockaway Peninsula After the Storm

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Welcome back to Camera Obscura, Curbed's series of photo essays by photographer Nathan Kensinger. The other day we visited Red Hook, Dumbo, and Gowanus. Here now, a look at the eastern end of the Rockaway Peninsula.


[The oceanfront of The Rockaways has been almost completely demolished by Hurricane Sandy. All photos by Nathan Kensinger.]

Although Hurricane Sandy passed several days ago, the eastern end of the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens has only started to recover from the storm.  In neighborhoods like Far Rockaway, Edgemere, Arverne and Hammels, streets remain flooded, with cars abandoned in the middle of the road. Electricity has not been restored. Food and water are scarce. Along the oceanfront, the devastation is nearly complete. The wooden boardwalk has been ripped from its concrete platforms and driven inland into houses and front yards.  Many beachfront businesses and homes have been completely destroyed, while streets are piled high with sand and debris pushed ashore by the storm. Local residents are slowly beginning the arduous task of digging out from the destruction. "Its like a bad dream," said one resident in Edgemere, "that I can't wake up from."

The peninsula's five mile long boardwalk was ripped apart and driven inland during the storm.

This section of the boardwalk in Edgemere is now perpendicular to the beach.

A neighborhood resident stands at the new end of the boardwalk.

Firefighters survey buildings damaged by a fire in Rockaway Park.

The fire destroyed numerous businesses along Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

The flood waters were higher than the front steps of this home in Far Rockaway.

Residents of Edgemere survived the storm, but many lost homes and property.

Boats and piers were washed ashore into the neighborhood, crushing fences and cars. 

Some residents tried to weather the storm in their cars, before fleeing to higher ground, leaving their belongings behind.

A boat owner stands near a jumbled pile of boats that the storm created in the 59th Street marina.

The storm waters dislodged boats stored onshore, settling them on top of each other.

At a marina in Hammels, the storm surge pushed boats out into Jamaica Bay.

Streets were still flooded in Arverne, and residents were without electricity.

Neighbors dried their soaked belongings on fences and makeshift clotheslines.

A police officer inspects a damaged business along the boardwalk.

A thick layer of sand was forced into the neighborhood by the storm.

Residents of the Belle Harbor neighborhood had barely begun to dig out from underneath the sandy surge.

Streets covered with sand became rivers, as water was pumped out of basements.

Several houses in the Belle Harbor neighborhood had collapsed.

Almost all of the beachfront homes in The Rockaways were severely damaged.
?Nathan Kensinger
· Official site: Nathan Kensinger Photography [kensinger.blogspot.com]
· Surveying Sandy's Damage in Red Hook, Dumbo, and Gowanus [Curbed]
· Nathan Kensinger archive [Curbed]