Part one in a series on how South Shore residents are coping in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This week, we begin in Bellmore-Merrick. In subsequent weeks we plan to spotlight recovery efforts in other communities.
John Giammarino’s one-level house stood near the intersection of Bellmore Avenue and Clubhouse Road for 30 years. But only three years after the south Bellmore resident began renting the waterfront home, his landlord sent crews to rip out what was left of the walls.
Paint chips and a fish tank were all that remained in Giammarino’s living room on Nov. 2. Everything else was on the front lawn. Clothing, a microwave, lamps, dishware and other possessions were piled on couches and shelves that his friends helped him move outside. A stained New York Post front page featuring the Kentucky Derby-winning horse, Funny Cide, lay on the grass, its ink bleeding, evidence of the flooding that occurred in the house during Hurricane Sandy. Watermarks on the soaked beams holding what was left of the structure together were several feet high.
Giammarino shook his head when pointing out the water line, stamping out a cigarette while looking toward the canal bordering his backyard.
“After this, I don’t want to be near the water again,” he said. “I’m not coming back to this home.”
Giammarino was one of thousands across Long Island and the Northeast left suffering after the storm tore through homes with high winds and a 10-foot tidal surge. In Bellmore-Merrick, residents south of Sunrise Highway near canals suffered extensive damage, as waterways flooded into streets. When the storm cleared out of the area, locals began surveying millions of dollars in damage in the Bellmore-Merrick area alone.
Joe Palmese said he has been busy tending to his North Road home since the storm hit. Last week he used another powerless morning to move his furniture to the curb. Next door, a neighbor was shaking out carpets while throwing other ruined items into a trash pile. A few doors down, another house was quiet. It had been abandoned since Hurricane Irene caused flooding and damage more than a year earlier.