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The Year Of Sandy


The Wave first published when a fire ripped through the Seaside section of Rockaway in 1892. Sandy proved a tougher challenge. For four weeks, The Wave went dark. The hometown newspaper was no different than a lot businesses and a lot of homes. The Wave was knocked down. And thankfully, just like so many others, The Wave got back up.

It’s strange looking back. It’s an event that seems like it happened 10 years ago and other times like last week. Sometimes it feels like a movie; sometimes it feels like it happened to someone else.

As we put together this, the one year Sandy anniversary edition of The Wave, we couldn’t rely on Wave stories and reports from those early days. And not only did The Wave not publish; major news outlets were spread thin and gave scant coverage to Rockaway. There are probably blogs and journals and archived posts from online communities but there is no local and cumulative record of what happened here. Perhaps there will never be. We publish this knowing that the story of Sandy is incomplete and ongoing. Some people, a year later, remain in temporary housing. Some are fighting government and insurance red tape; others are unsure if living near the ocean is the right choice.

Sandy is the storm that changed everything. We’ll never look at the ocean in quite the same way. We will mark Sandy as the event that started the resiliency movement. Houses will be built higher. Seawalls and jetties and dunes and sea grass are just some of the likely measures that will be put in place if Rockaway is not to be abandoned. And make no mistake, some people would like to see Rockaway and other coastal communities be abandoned, surrendered to the sea.

But those people? They don’t get it. We’ll learn from Sandy. We’ll do what we must. But we won’t be chased out by FEMA and others without a fight. The people who want us gone are the people who see what fell ---but they don’t see the roots. And roots run deep here.

This edition shows the devastation but also the steady signs of rebirth. Through the words of some talented writers we get glimpses of volunteerism, bravery, courage, kindness, and samples of just how remarkable a place Rockaway is.

We asked more than a dozen people to write about Sandy. Dozens more submitted photographs -- helping make this edition a community effort. And we thought that was a perfect way to put this special edition together. Because, among other things, Sandy brought neighbors together. Sandy reminded us that people in Rockaway know how to pitch in, how to lend a hand. In this edition, we got helping hands from one end of the peninsula to the other.

Although we realize the scope of Sandy cannot be conveyed in a single issue we’re proud to have made this a community effort. That’s what Rockaway is all about. Here’s to a great future.

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