Atlantic Beach beach clubs battle back

In Sandy’s wake, resort owners expect to be ready for summer


The loss of all the oceanfront cabanas, lockers, shower and steam rooms and part of the upper deck in Hurricane Sandy did not dissuade The Shores manager Brian Bezalel, and he plans to open the Atlantic Beach club as scheduled on Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s devastating,” Bezalel said. “There’s a lot of nice cabanas that people really wanted, and they’re gone forever.”

Since January, Bezalel has been rebuilding The Shores and The Shores West, a smaller club, both on Ocean Boulevard in Atlantic Beach. “We’ve been rebuilding some cabanas on the sand and pool courts [and] patios and refurbishing the cabanas at The Shores West, as 13 of the 26 were destroyed,” he said.

Financing the rebuilding efforts has been the most difficult part of the post-storm recovery, according to Bezalel. “We were denied assistance by our insurance company and haven’t received a penny,” he said. “And [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] doesn’t handle businesses, so we have to take out a loan from the Small Business Administration, and that took a while.”

Howard Taub, owner of the Sunny Atlantic Beach Club and part owner of The Shores, said that Sunny Atlantic saw damage to all of the oceanfront cabanas, the food court, the lockers, the pool pump room, the room that holds chairs, umbrellas and members’ belongings, as well as the refrigeration units in most of the cabanas. “The club’s restaurant also had a lot of debris damage from flying articles,” the Hewlett resident said. “Siding on the front and side of the main office, and siding on the caretaker’s cottage, was blown off, and the concrete was lifted by the oceanfront area as well as the asphalt in the parking lot.”

Like Bezalel, Taub said he has gotten no help from his insurance company or FEMA to pay for the damage. “I’ve gone through hell,” he said. “We started the process two weeks after the hurricane and haven’t seen a penny yet. It’s almost April, we’ve got six weeks to get open and even though members shouldn’t be concerned, I see where they could be.”

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