Listening Post: Superstorm Sandy Five Years Later, Your Stories

Listening Post


What is the strongest memory you have of Superstorm Sandy?

That is the question we’ve been asking as, last month, we hit the five year anniversary of the storm that wrecked havoc on our local communities just before Halloween in 2012. While many of the anniversary posts in media have stopped, we want to continue the conversation about how Sandy has affected our coastal communities and keep your stories being heard.

To continue that conversation, we spoke with Marina Milia, who says that her life and career path were dramatically altered by Superstorm Sandy, and over the past couple of months, visitors to the Red Bank Public Library have been sharing their thoughts about New Jersey storms and how the storms have affected their lives.

What storm had an effect on your life and how did it affect you?

While many New Jerseyans instantly think of Sandy when asked this question — much like two of the speakers we heard from at the Red Bank Public Library — we also heard from one woman who remembers one storm that had a great effect on her life that might not be the storm that you’d think of right away. Take a listen to some of the responses we heard from the Red Bank Public Library below:

We also asked our followers on Instagram to share with us the strongest memory that they have from the storm five years ago.


30 people responded, sharing their fear, relief, thanks, and memories good and bad that they remember when thinking about the storm.

Some remember losing power the most, with the number of days without power ranging from between 11 and 17.

But that wasn’t the end of it, some remembered the struggles that came with the power outages:

Sue Tagliaferro (@syt759): No power for 13 days

Jim Abels (@jimabels): @syt759 That was a nightmare. I was on Sprint without service on top of that.

Arlene Shumaker (@boatmate): No power for 12 days and not knowing whether our boat was one of the ones that had floated off the blocks and flooded.

@tuc_m: No power for 14 days and then a snow storm to add to the misery

Shelley Bravin (@shellbrav17): Power out for 6 days. Came back up only to go out again for 3 days after the snowstorm. Being cut off from the news.

Some remember the devastation, flooding, and what was changed:

@lbilynnie: Not being able to come home for weeks & not knowing how our Island survived #lbistrong #community #LongBeachIslandNJ

Kathleen Carlet (@khcarlet): Seeing the water line on my home in Manasquan for the first [time]…

Denanna Doria Finnerty (@deedeefinns): Kayaking to my house and going over my front gate and onto my porch

Jason Schack (@jmshack_photography): I was living and working in Tulsa, OK at the time, and I remember watching the Surf Club live and watching it get swept out to sea, and the worry of not being able to reach any of my family at the shore for days

@jennaandboo: I remember going down to ocean ave the next morning, before it was blocked off, and walking around to see the devastation on foot. Truly heartbreaking. Photos, videos, and artifacts are on display at the Monmouth County Historical Association’s Tracking Sandy exhibit which opened today, such a beautiful tribute to the people of Monmouth County!

Susan Frick (@eatknitread): Walking up to what was the Spring Lake Boardwalk on Halloween and only seeing the cement pilings left. We should have been prepared because we passed huge pieces of the boardwalk after we crossed the train tracks. People shoveling sand like it was snow from their driveways and sidewalks.

Jessica Newman (@jlnewman1): Going outside at night and stepping into the Shrewsbury River because I couldn’t see how close the water was to the house. 2. The transformers blowing up. 3. The blizzard. 4. Gas lines. 5. NO POWER and unfortunately many more sad memories

@gonbikin: Sleepy Hollow, Plainfield-house/pet sitting. Wires down fires in the street. The wind, downed trees on houses, cars… power long gone. And Leo and me snuggling up.

@fivestar1007: Going over the causeway and the empty place where “The Shack” used to be. Walking towards the beach in Surf City and seeing sand everywhere as far as you could see.

Joyce Connelly (@grandmama__): Ortley Beach and the burned out streets of Camp Osborn

@kftell: Duct taping all the doors, then thinking the worst had past, then watching water oozing up from the crawl space through the hardwood floors.

Gina Randall (@gmacrandall): My four year old son broke his arm and elbow the Friday before and needed a cast on Monday. The office was closed and they rescheduled him for Wednesday. On Wed, we had no power so no cordless phone and no cell service so there was no way to confirm the appointment. We actually drove to the office but there were so many trees and wires down we had to make detour upon detour. Of course the office was closed and then we had to backtrack all the way home again.

Some expressed thanks for the luck they had even in the bad times:

@laurie_ann63: Having not one drop of water in an old shore house on the bay! The neighbors weren’t as lucky

@karenk_photography: I’m in North Jersey so we lost power. The only way to really see what the devastation was to read the newspaper. I just remembered being out of work for the week

@creteman52: I’m in Wildwood and we didn’t get hit like up North. High water and wind but we definitely lucked out.

Lisa Bernstein (@mermb59): Feeling grateful that Cape May didn’t take any damage

@ron824nj: No power at home for a week but thankful parents were back on in 1.5 days.

Some were even too overwhelmed to share specifics:

Mike Weber (@mazda3dude): [Too] many bad memories

But some shared moments of positivity that they found amongst the chaos of the storm:

@dlm81618: Seeing all the devastation around us and not one drop of water in my basement. So weird but so grateful!

Jason DeCarlo (@jasontakesjersey): Volunteering in many cleanup efforts. Met many great folks!

@chadeileen: My husband…being our rock in the chaos that ensued. Making sure we were all safe and did what he had to to do to provide for all of us…

Richard N. Leonard (@richleonard88): Manasquan’s Mayor George Dempsey and the entire municipal government (police, fire, Borough Council, Emergency Management and more) taking charge and providing needed leadership and assistance immediately after the Hurricane hit.

So now we’re asking you: What is your strongest storm memory?

Text “Sandy” to 732-479-4033 to share your thoughts and participate in our Listening Post project.