"Cars were floating in the street — people said it was unlike anything they've ever seen before," said Long Beach resident Kiera Cohen, as she drove past a large, broken section of the boardwalk that had washed up on the corner of Park Avenue and Riverside Boulevard. The force of Hurricane Sandy battered and decimated most, if not all, of the city's iconic boardwalk — long stretches were mangled and caved in, and retaining walls blasted out — as it did the entire city and barrier island.
"It's total devastation — countless cars are ruined, the boardwalk is ruined, people's homes," said Sgt. Eric Cregeen, the Police Department's Public Information Officer, adding that the ocean met the bay. "The Lifeguard Shack? It's gone, smithereens, nothing. In front of Waldbaum's over here, there's a big chunk of boardwalk — it sailed all the way up Riverside Boulevard and landed in front of Waldbaum's."
City Manager Jack Schnirman issued a 7 p.m. curfew on Tuesday for residents who remained in the city, saying that the roads were unsafe and advised residents to stay off the damaged boardwalk.
Indeed, the scene in Long Beach the day after the storm was one of devastation. "Long Beach, and the entire region, has suffered crippling flooding and damage from Hurricane Sandy," Schnirman said in a statement on the city's website Tuesday morning. "Recovery efforts are being coordinated with all levels of government – no resource will be spared. There is no water and no sewer – your toilet and sink will not work. At this time, water from your faucet is not safe to drink or use for cooking. It is not safe to leave your home until later Tuesday morning. We will send out more updates as soon as possible."
Like many residents in Long Beach, Cohen was leaving the city, which remained under a mandatory evacuation order on Tuesday, gathering personal belongings from her Shore Road residence and checking on her mom, Nadine Watts, who lives along the bay on East State Street. Both had evacuated a day earlier. The storm surge caused the water in Watts's home to come up through the basement, and about a foot of water covered her furniture in the living room.