Last year, work on a one-mile stretch that included our own beach was completed. The replenished dunes held during Sandy, and I'm convinced that the damage would have been worse had the beaches not been replenished. Unfortunately, that one-mile stretch ended two blocks from our beach, where a homeowner refused to sign his easement. Nearby, on the bayside, one of the locals, who rode out the storm, witnessed the bay and ocean meet during the storm surge. Now, I'm certain that flood water from the bay was responsible for some of the flooding, but it does raise the question as to the extent to which the beach replenishment limited the damage in areas where it had been completed.
It will no doubt be an interesting summer on LBI. I've heard anecdotally that rentals are down, and there are still homes where repair work has not started. That being said, all in all, the recovery has so far been quite remarkable, and those who may be fearful of vacationing there this summer because they are not sure what they'll find would be shocked to see the extent of the recovery. Personally, I'd been concerned about the plight of many of the small businesses on the island. I know of a couple of restaurants that are not reopening, but overall it should be business as usual this summer. My benchmark for the return to normalcy was set that first day we were allowed back on the island following the storm. I thought there would be hope if Ravioli & More, a small restaurant in the town of Ship Bottom, reopened. This restaurant, which makes what I consider to be the best pizza on Earth, was ravaged by the flood. But a pizza box with the word "soon" written on it appeared in the window a few months ago, giving me hope. A couple of weeks ago, I greeted the owner of that restaurant with a big hug and picked up two pies after a long day working on our little cottage. That settled it for me. Long Beach Island is back. Other Jersey Shore communities are still struggling, and I am hopeful that they will also recover to the extent that our little strip of sand has. Follow @JonMHellerCFA This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.