Long Beach, NY:- A city hit hard by Sandy…

Long Beach, is a small incorporated city located about 6 miles south of Rockville Centre. Eileen and I go there often to walk on the boardwalk which is about 2.1 miles in length.  Long Beach is known for its great beaches, restaurants, shopping, and for being a great place to live. Well, anyways, that was before Superstorm Sandy.

Long Beach, along with Island Park (the town just to it’s north), were particularly hit hard. Residents only recently received electricity and many of the homes remain uninhabitable. On the day after Sandy struck, Eileen and I decided to check out our neighborhood in Rockville Centre, and were surprised to find that the downtown area had electricity (we lost power for three days). We ‘wandered’ into a local establishment, ‘McArthur Park’, which was crowded with Sandy survivors from RVC, Long Beach, Oceanside, and Island Park, all areas hit hard by the storm.

In McArthur Park, we ran into friends who had moved to Long Beach from RVC as a place to settle down after the children had left and a place to retire to.  Unfortunately for them at this time they had no place to go as their apartments and houses were destroyed by the storm. Actually, Long Beach, which is located on the Long Beach Barrier Island, was closed to everyone except for those working to help in the clean up process. Even residents were not allowed access. We offered our house to them but they had already found places with relatives to stay with until they were allowed back on the island.

We recently returned to McArthur Park, and was surprised to find that there were still people with no homes to go to, as they wait for FEMA to decide on what to do with their property.  What surprised me the most was the positive attitude they all had. They never, never complained, they just looked ahead to the day when they could return home and begin the process of rebuilding their lives. Our thoughts and prayers go with them and all who Sandy has affected.

The images below were taken a couple of days after they allowed public access to Long Beach.

(Reminder: Click on one image to begin slideshow!):

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Sandy’s Aftermath: The Boardwalk on the Rockaway Peninsula! Images by Eileen Ori…

The Rockaway Boardwalk is 5.5 miles long running from Beach 9th St. in Far Rockaway to Beach 126th St. in Rockaway Park at the edge of Belle Harbor. While several unconnected sections were first built at the end of the 19th century, the entire length was completed in the 1930s. Today, a few sections have been rebuilt in concrete. Some sections of the boardwalk such as Edgemere and Arverne offer access to mostly uncrowded beaches. Other sections include playgrounds and bathroom facilities and tend to be very crowded, such as Far Rockaway and especially Rockaway Beach with its many eateries and bars.

Eileen’s images below take a hard look at what happened during Sandy and the efforts that are beginning to be made to help restore this wonderful beach, boardwalk and neighborhood.

(Reminder: Click on one image to start slideshow!)

The Aftermath:- Red, White & Blue…

If you’ve been following my recent posts you’ve become aware of how Sandy has affected towns and cities near where we live. The Rockaway Peninsula has been hit particularly hard. When we visited   last weekend, Eileen noticed something that I had not picked up. She was quite surprised that with all the turmoil and destruction around us, the one thing that stands out in all the rubble is the American flag. Seems like before anything else got done, the citizens of the Rockaways declared their love of country and the support the American people have shown them. G-d Bless America and G-d Bless the people who have and are continuing to suffer.

Here are a few images from that trip. (Reminder: Click on one image to begin the slideshow).

Sandy’s Aftermath:- Belle Harbor, Queens, NY – Unbelievable devastation as seen on my video…

On Sunday, a couple of my photography friends joined Eileen and me as we headed to see how Sandy affected Coney Island. On the way we decided to pass through the Rockaway’s to see that area as well. We all know by now about the 100+ homes that were lost by fire in Breezy Point, the western end of the Rockaway Peninsula. We were not prepared for the destruction we found in the other parts of the Rockaway’s. No neighborhood was spared!

Belle Harbor is an upscale neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It is a tight-knit, middle to upper class community located on the western half of the Rockaway Peninsula, the southernmost area of the borough. Belle Harbor is often used to refer to the area between Beach 126th and Beach 142nd Streets.

Belle Harbor has not been immune to tragedies. On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587, bound for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, crashed in the center of Belle Harbor, killing all 260 passengers and crew on board the plane as well as five people on the ground. Many of the passengers on the plane were from the Dominican community in Washington Heights. After consultation with the families in the Belle Harbor and Washington Heights communities, a memorial was erected at Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park the neighboring community to the east.

On our way across the Peninsula I decided to pass B 129 St. to see how the storm affected my friends who live on that block. Thankfully, there house looked fine from the outside (didn’t go inside) so we were all happy about that. We continued east toward Breezy Point and only traveled one block (B. 130 St.) to find the absolutely worst ruination that I can remember seeing in person in my lifetime. We took numerous images of the area which I will post in a future blog, but I think this video is a must see! I also would like to point out that when I ran into the NYPD officer he had just stopped two men (in the van) from attempting to loot some metal from the homes. Another interesting and what could have been an outrageous action happened on Monday, when the NYC Sanitation Dept., came down the street and issued ‘summonses’ to all the homeowners for not cleaning up their property. Later that day, the city said that the summonses were for record keeping only and that there was no penalty assessed.

As always, I appreciate your thoughtful comments to my blog. More about Sandy will follow.

(Click on link below to watch video)

Sandy’s Aftermath:- Belle Harbor, NY

Superstorm Sandy: The Aftermath Two Weeks Later:- Jones Beach

Jones Beach has been closed to the public since Sandy did her damage. It was recently re-opened and Eileen and I decided to check it out and see what damage was done to the park:

Jones Beach State Park  is a New York state park. It is located in southern Nassau County,  on Jones Beach Island, a barrier island linked to Long Island by the Meadowbrook State Parkway, Wantagh State Parkway and Ocean Parkway (Long Island). Both the Meadowbrook and Wantagh were closed immediately after Hurricane Sandy, and recently was reopened so the public could have limited  access once again to the park and beaches. Ocean Parkway remains closed as it was destroyed by Sandy. Looks like it will take months for it to be repaired.

The park is known  for its great beaches, 10 mi  in length, facing the open Atlantic Ocean and is the most popular and heavily visited beach on the East Coast, with an estimated six million visitors per year.  The park also has a 2.1 mi  long boardwalk. Many of its buildings and facilities feature Art Deco architecture. In the center of a traffic circle  Robert Moses, the man behind the design and opening of Jones Beach,  ordered the construction of an Italianate-style water tower to serve as a central feature of the park. The primary buildings on the Jones Beach site are the two enormous bathhouses (west and east) which can be seen in some of our images and the 231-foot water tower, all built to Moses’s specifications. It once featured dining and catering facilities that were popular sites for private parties and weddings; these have been shut down.  The Donald will be building a restaurant/catering hall on the boardwalk once the park is cleaned up.

The following images were taken last Friday the day after Jones Beach re-opened. The ‘lakes’ and ‘rivers’ were formed by Sandy!

THE BOARDWALK

Lifeguard shack blown onto the beach…

If you open it, they will come…

Shacks moved around on the boardwalk…

Umbrellas waiting for next season…water tower in background…

THE BEACH

The beach was hard hit with storm fences downed and scattered…

A new lake carved in the sand…

‘Beach Lake’ with water tower in distance…

A river runs through it…

Searching for washed up treasure…

Sand shapes 1…

Sand shapes 2…

Sand shapes 3…

Sand shapes 4…

Sand Clam…

KEEP OFF THE DUNES…

Another lake in the sand…

Watts Campbell Engine Co., Newark, NJ:- The Color Images…

When I go to places to shoot like Watts Campbell Steam Engine Co.or the Silk Mill I usually find myself automatically thinking about shooting Black & White images. In my last post you can see that these can be quite interesting and dramatic. But, when I was processing the images from Watts Campbell, and the more   I fooled around with the color images, the more I was drawn to them. Very surprising indeed!

What I found myself liking the most was when I ‘over-processed’ the images in HDR Efex Pro and in Topaz Adjust 5.  I know my friend John Barclay is probably screaming at his monitor as he reads this and looks at the images, but for me the high structure and details in many of these images blew me away. Would love to know what you think!

(Reminder, just click on one image to begin the slideshow!)

Watts Campbell Engine Co., Newark, NJ:- Black & White Images…

Watts Campbell Engine Co. was founded in 1851 and is located in Newark, New Jersey. It became a premier supplier of big steam engines and at its peak employed 300 people. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 13, 1986.

I recently visited Watts Campbell with several other photographers where we met  the current owner, Charles (Chad) Watts, a 70++ year old Veteran and who’s great-great-grandfather started the business.

Chad Watts and one of the guard dogs secures the building for us.

Chad is still roaming around the facility, trying to preserve it. He met us at the front gate and we were given a history of the company. He is a good man with a sincere desire to preserve as much as he can of the factory. It is a time capsule of local industry with large early machinery still in place and much of it operational at the flip of a switch. Old wood cranes and rail system remain in the floor. Some machinery from 1860/70 converted to electric and still working. Several key machine tools were built by Watts Campbell and Hewes & Philips right in Newark. Without getting into specifics the building was sold and the collection was due to be moved.  The move fell through. The building was sold but it’s contents remain looking for a home. A tragic situation.

We were then allowed to roam the premises and admire and shoot all the “OLD” machinery used to make steam engines as well as other jobs that came their way as the (hungry?) guard dogs eyed us as we roamed the building.  Chad told us when we were leaving that he is not going to allow other photographers into the building as he found them to be rude and uncaring about what they were seeing and shooting. But, our group of wonderful photographers and people, will be allowed to return.

The following Black & White images can be seen as a slide show by clicking on one of the images below.