The Ocean Grove Fishing Club and pier are gone, as is the boardwalk. Houses in the south end of town are flooded and the dunes destroyed. Towards the north, businesses along the boardwalk have been smashed, including the new Day’s Ice Cream. But somehow, the north end dunes have survived and our house is dry.
We sat glued to CNN for 36 hours as they repeated the same news over and over. Anderson Cooper did his best to report from Asbury Park, one town north, at least for a little while. Blogfinger, the Ocean Grove blog was a key source of information. We felt extra powerless being so very very far away. We heard that water had breached the dunes and was running up and down the streets and that parts of the roof of the Great Auditorium had been blown away. But until the storm cleared, we did not know for sure that no one in town had been injured and whether our house – just 100 meters from the beach – was still standing. Happily, a friend went and checked and reported back. Our only damage? One of the upper windows in my daughter’s room had worked its way open, letting in some water. But the inexpensive roller shade was the only thing ruined. Thank goodness the Bennison valances weren’t finished!
Ironically, our beach cottage wasn’t our only home in an evacuation zone. We still have our NYC apartment in downtown Manhattan, rented to a lovely couple. It’s a small ground floor duplex apartment in a 19th century school building. The bedrooms are downstairs, English basement style, so below ground level with windows set up high in the walls. Never, in the almost 20 years we have owned it, has there even been an implication of flooding, but this storm was different. I lost touch with the tenants early on as power and cell towers went down. I combed all the New York news sources to try to discover which zones were flooding (we are on the edge of Zone B). I was equally as worried about that space but fairly confident that the over 100-year-old brick and cinderblock walls were game for anything. After the storm our tenants moved up town where they had cell service and reported the good news. Other than the no power below 39th Street, all was well. And an extra little twist? Our tenants are getting married in two weeks – in the Convention Center on the Asbury Park boardwalk!!!! So I was pretty worried about that venue for them too. The report on that is that it is still standing, although in what shape, we don’t know.
Best of all my parents and brother and his family are all well, although my brother lost two massive 100-year-old trees in front of his house, one of which smashed up his wife’s car. And this from my dad – gotta love how genki my parents are!
“This is the second day without power and we are doing fine, in fact I told mom we should go camping. We are doing better than most since I have that little generator so we have a small refrigerator going, two lamps in the living room, I connected the hot water heater to it since it has a power vent and we both took hot showers so we are good. There are no street traffic lights so driving js tricky. Everything is closed and it’s bizarre, have no clue when we will get power but I would estimate not til Saturday. The most difficult part was that I had the generator, two cars filled with gas and I bought a siphon so I could get the gas not knowing that in newer cars there is a valve that prevents siphoning. I went all over and could not find gas until I stopped a landscaper and told him I would give him $30 dollars for 2.5 gallons and presto I had gas.”
Truthfully, I was calm the entire time. Wet basements and some spoiled furniture might have been part of the bargain and I was prepared for that. In the end we are beyond fortunate as our loved ones and property are fine and we don’t have to manage through these next weeks with no power. Thank you to all our well wishers! Our hearts go out to those who are suffering.