Gloria Greiner-Furscht vividly remembers lying down in her recliner the night of Oct. 29 and waking up to the feeling of water on her legs before she grabbed her cane and cell phone and retreated upstairs to escape Hurricane Sandy’s floodwaters.
The 82-year-old Meadowmere Park resident, who lost furniture, appliances and décor on the first floor of her East Avenue home, said it has been even more painful seeing the community she loves barely bouncing back more than four months after the storm.
“I hope it can rebuild and be back to the way it was, but I think it will be three to four years before that happens,” Furscht said. “There’s been a lot of damage, and a lot of people haven’t come back.”
Meadowmere Park Fire Commissioner Kevin Bennett Sr. said that the area is still suffering. “Meadowmere isn’t the same after the storm,” he said. “My dream is to see it back to the way it was, but we don’t have that right now.”
Many residents, like Bennett and Furscht, enjoy the quiet neighborhood and the fact that everyone seems to know everyone else. When Bennett moved into his West Avenue home in 2000, he remodeled it the way he and his family had always dreamed. “This is our home, and this is how we wanted it,” he said. “And we’re going to put it back.”
That has become an increasingly difficult task, however, according to Bennett, as he waits to receive money from his insurance company to cover necessary repairs. Instead of delaying the restoration work, Bennett said, he has been charging everything on his credit card, which isn’t good for his family’s finances. “It’s frustrating, not just for me but for the people like myself who are … waiting for insurance money to come in,” he said. “I had to buy a new kitchen and had to put it on my charge card. Now I have to pay interest on my credit card.”
Charles Lombardo, of South Avenue, has the same problem. “I’ve maxed out all of my credit cards,” Lombardo said. “I’m getting enough money from my insurance company, but it’s been a waiting game to get the check.”
Abby Schmitt is also waiting to receive money to begin rebuilding her Bayview Avenue home. The 24-year Meadowmere Park resident said it could take up to two years for things to get back to normal for her family.