NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With just one month left in the first post-Sandy summer, life is seemingly back to normal on Long Beach Island, an 18-mile skinny strip of sand that has been a family refuge for generations.
Although "seemingly" is the operative word here, overall, the island's recovery has been amazing. The parade of construction trucks is now dwarfed by the regular summer traffic, but there is still plenty of construction going on. The whir of saw, and pop of nail guns are sounds blending in with the calls of the gulls and sounds of motorboats.
If you were not aware that Hurricane Sandy had ravaged this island nearly 10 months ago - flooding thousands of homes as the bay and ocean met, pushing some off of their foundations and leaving mounds of debris everywhere -- you could not tell that anything had happened, unless you looked very closely. Some homes remain vacant, but from the outside appear to be fine.
What's happening on the inside, however, is anyone's guess. If a tear-out was not done soon after the flood, mold has likely taken over, and such homes will likely be razed. On our street alone I'd estimate that about 10% of the homes are not occupied this summer. It's worse in some areas of the island, better in others.The other day another home close to and similar to ours was demolished in quick fashion. If you don't see it while it is happening, you will ultimately notice empty lots where homes once stood. Sometimes it is a struggle to even remember what actually stood on these empty lots. While it is sad to see the older homes continuing to disappear, either due to the storm, or more likely due to new owners knocking down existing structures and building new, there is plenty to be thankful for this summer. The fact that the island is functioning somewhat normally is, to me, a miracle in and of itself. To see families enjoying the beach, the ocean, the bays, eating at our local restaurants was unthinkable to me after the storm hit. I originally foresaw a stripped-down summer with few renters, or open businesses, many remaining piles of debris, and battered beaches.