Post-Sandy travel report from the beaches to the Big Apple
By Andrea Sachs,
Hurricane Sandy stirred up buckets of sand and water along the East Coast last week. The storm was no friend of the beaches — or the city. New York was hit hard, with a swath of Manhattan going from dry to wet, illuminated to black, in a matter of hours.
Recovery teams are working full force and conditions are changing with each tick of the clock. Here’s a status report on some travel destinations swiped by Sandy’s massive paw.
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
City Manager Greg Ferrese has a long list of what didn’t happen, starting with no damage to the boardwalk or oceanfront businesses. Asked about beach erosion, he admitted to a depleted stock but added, “The beach replenishment project was our lifesaver. We’ll rebuild by May.”
Cape May, N.J.
Sandy barely blew a kiss to the Victorian-chic resort town. Some ocean water spilled onto Beach Avenue, but crews have been clearing away the sand and debris. Jean Barraclough, marketing director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, said the Emlen Physick Estate and Cape May Lighthouse were untouched, and the World War II Lookout Tower sustained only minor water damage. The organization plans to resume tours this weekend.
Rest easy: The section of boardwalk that crumbled wasn’t part of the boardwalk. It belonged to a northern structure that runs along the inlet between AC and Brigantine and was already scheduled for demolition. Liza Cartmell, president of the Atlantic City Alliance, said that most of the damage seemed to occur in residential sections, though the inlet and bay waters did stream into some Tangier Outlet shops. “The main thoroughfare in the oceanfront area and the casinos were not impacted significantly,” she said.
Overall, infrastructure is solid, said Tom Gilbert, district commander of Atlantic City Tourism. “If I took you up to the boardwalk,” he said, “you never would have said there was a storm.”
Casinos and hotels are eager to reopen, but they must wait for officials to restore the streetlights and certify water safety. At press time Thursday, they were also waiting for Gov. Chris Christie to lift the state of emergency, the green light to resume business.
Many major attractions — Broadway, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Empire State Building, etc. — are open. At press time, most city parks, including Central Park, planned to welcome back guests this weekend. But the Statue of Liberty, whose crown had been set to reopen on Oct. 28 after a non-storm-related closure, is, says the National Park Service, “Closed for the foreseeable future.”
Businesses south of 34th Street, in neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village and Wall Street, are wobbling to their feet. Many still have no power or water. Hotels throughout the city are assessing their bruises, so call ahead. Le Parker Meridien on West 56th Street, for one, is shuttered because of a precarious crane.
Getting around will be tricky. Parts of the subway are running — from the Bronx, Queens and upper Manhattan to Midtown, for instance. Shuttle buses will bridge gaps in service. Traffic is also tied up like a macrame bracelet, especially around closed streets and tunnels in Lower Manhattan.
Airports, bus routes and rail tracks are opening up. All three airports are pushing out planes, and low-fare buses are back on the road. (Some companies, such as Bolt, have temporarily suspended pickup/drop-off service on Canal Street.) Amtrak announced “modified” service along the Northeast Corridor.
For updates, check the tourism office Web site (www.nycgo.com) or Facebook page.