Home of Springsteen’s E Street Rallies After Boardwalk Destroyed

Monday, 12 Nov 2012 06:40 AM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Outside Belmar’s Borough Hall, bundled-up volunteers offered hot meals of homemade bowtie pasta and sandwiches in brown bags to residents of the New Jersey shore town ravaged by superstorm Sandy. Inside, others stood behind tables loaded with canned goods and cleaning supplies.

Madison Kenny, 26, was trying to reach people by telephone to determine what assistance they needed. Although she didn’t regain power until Nov. 8, 10 days after Sandy hit, the registered nurse had spent every day she wasn’t working as a volunteer, mostly wading ankle deep into sewage to move items from flooded basements.

“Belmar is a strong, amazing town,” Kenny said. “In times of need, people can come together instantly.”

Belmar, whose E Street was immortalized in the name of Bruce Springsteen's band -- the group once practiced in a garage there -- was among the hardest-hit in Sandy’s swath of destruction along the Jersey Shore. At least 40 percent of its homes have significant flood damage and streets were still submerged almost a week after the storm, said Mayor Matt Doherty.

At the peak, 60,000 gallons of water a minute were being pumped out of the town, which is home to two lakes. All but a 20-foot (6-meter) section of the 1.2-mile boardwalk, which draws 60,000 people every summer to the borough of 5,800 yearlong residents, was destroyed, with pieces landing on streets and roofs of houses.

The Passion

All the buildings by the boardwalk were condemned, including family-run restaurants such as Matisse. Along the beach, once-tall blue lamps were twisted toward the ground.

Since Oct. 31, about 600 volunteers have shown up daily, said Jennifer Nicolay, a councilwoman organizing them.

“The passion, the outpouring of support has been unimaginable,” she said, pausing after sending a team to a home to clear debris. Donations have also streamed in, from 50 cents in envelopes sent by children to $10,000 from MillerCoors LLC, Doherty said.

Megan Brzozowski, 23, drove almost two hours from her home in Flemington, New Jersey, to volunteer. She walked through the streets near the remains of the boardwalk and mounds of sand, holding a sign with the Borough Hall’s address and telling residents that hot meals and supplies were available there. She grew up taking day trips to Belmar, she said.

“I feel that I was so fortunate, and so many people haven’t been,” she said.

Nightly Bonfire

Those who were stranded without power on Ocean Avenue banded together and created a bonfire nightly facing the beach, said Diane Ragickas, 51. Talking to each other for the first time, people chipped in whatever food and supplies they had and swapped stories, she said.

Ragickas created a memorial of sand featuring American flags, pumpkins and signs of gratitude on the corner of Ocean and Ninth avenues. She plans to keep adding to it to give people hope.

“We’re strong,” she said. “We’re American.”

Belmar will recover, said Doherty, the 39-year-old mayor, who has vowed that the boardwalk will be rebuilt by Memorial Day. He has “unwavering” confidence in the community, he said.

“Future generations of this town will look back and they’re going to say that this was Belmar’s finest hour,” Doherty said.

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Boehner's Christmas Carol Celebrates a GOP Congress

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 23:15 PM

Republican House Speaker John Boehner put his own political spin on "a Christmas reading" on his YouTube page Thursday,  . . .

Dershowitz: Hollywood Should Have Followed Rushdie Example

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 22:29 PM

Hollywood should have rallied around Sony Pictures and released "The Interview" jointly online, says Harvard law profess . . .

Army Pulls ROTC Job Posting Requiring Christian Candidates

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 22:18 PM

The Army has pulled a job posting at an Illinois religious college that required leaders of its ROTC program to be Chris . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved