Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hurricane Sandy was much worse to Saltaire than the legendary Ash Wednesday Storm

It is much worse.  I was there in March 1962. So was the Beav and so were the Baums. The  worst storm in our lifetime to this end of the FI. Until now. 

The damage to the dune line  from Hurricane Sandy is just devastating - I was out to the beach immediately after the '62 Nor'easter, was on the beach the night of the '91 Halloween storm, out to Saltaire immediately after the 92 and 93 nor'easters. This is by far(on an actual and future) much much worse. The dunes are gone. Pacific Walk - from my house at 215 you can stand on the walk and watch the waves break up at the ocean - the old Baum house is on it's stilts out on the beach - Schlossers house along with every house from Pacific to West Walk could go out on the next lunar high tides and prevailing winter southeast winds. I have spent my entire life on Great South Bay, I ran ferries while in college - the current situation ain't pretty. Spoke today with Mike Mooney(son of FI Ferry owner Ed Mooney) he agreed.
Of lesser importance - many homes probably had water infestation. I know of some specifically having been able to look in windows. Most every walk was "popped" by tidal flow from east bay and ocean - with few exceptions they look like Coney Island/Great Adventure roller coasters. I would recommend that you do not go out there as trying to traverse these walks could be hazardous to your health - either that or retain a personal injury lawyer should you slip and fall(some walks have a slippery residue in them).

All in all my trip to the Asylum with my brother and John Zaccaro was a high point in my otherwise dull existence.

Top: Baum House, March 1962 pic by Peter Baum
 Same House 10-31-12 pic by Beaver

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
               ---Edgar Allan Poe

below same house after 2009 beach replenishment
(village website photo)

below: same House August 5, 2012 (Pic by Poteat)

Dear All--On behalf of the Baum family, I am so sorry to learn this fate for our (former) home at 309 Pacific Walk. When my parents got married during WW II, my Mom told my Dad that her family was of old Fire Island stock and they needed to build a cottage there. So after the war was over, they visited Saltaire and picked a very ocean front lot. Village attorney Frank Goggins refused to sell the young couple the lot they chose and instead sold them 309 Pacific Walk, which he deemed a much safer location. That spot was well behind dunes that were at that time as high as the house. They built their cottage "Sea Spray" there in 1948 and thanked Frank Goggins after many a storm. But after 64 years, Hurricane Sandy has turned out to be "The Big One". Our thoughts are with all of you as deal with recovery ahead.

Warm regards,
Victoria Baum Bjorklund

The photos and the linked video on the saltaire38 site are just haunting! Flashbacks from those times run through my mind as I look at the photos and video.
    --Jean Campbell

West side near ocean
Lighthoust prom and Pacific
Schlolsser looking west
pics by the Beaver

Add caption

Lighthouse Prom at Pacific walk
That shot of the corner of Lighthouse and Pacific is so upsetting, as it was "our" corner for so many years.  The images are haunting and so sad...and I've heard the same response from my siblings, as I've forwarded this to all of them.  Jennifer Burns bought our house from my Dad in 2004, and yet Saltaire will ALWAYS be home to me...I do hope they can rebuild the beach, and that the Schlossers, the old Baum house, the Kampas, and all the other beachfront folks will be okay.  --Jean Campbell

In conversation several years ago Mrs. Virginia Baum mentioned that she had spent many  hours standing at Lighthouse Prom and Pacific talking to friends..  "We would talk, for hours." she said.  "for hours." (JO'H).

I hope this isn't too huge for recovery, yet Fire Island has been a resilient place in the past, and I hope too in the future. The Keegan house, where I spent quite a few Augusts is now a waterfront house on both sides, although it still stands. I wonder how the McManus house across from the tennis courts is faring. It's enough in the middle to give me hope. Even though it's now not in our family, I have a special place in my heart for that house--actually for so many of the Saltaire houses. How easily we'd go from one to another as kids, walking right in without the formality of knocking--makes me think of that old saying that "it takes a village to raise a child." And Saltaire, as a village, in many ways, raised me.
Seeing it so flooded, I feel its wounds from afar. --Diane McManus


Anonymous said...

How is Beaver getting to the beach when homeowners can't even get there??

c.l. ball said...

Thank you very much for posting these. I thought from helicopter and ANG C-130 aerials that dunes were almost gone, but this confirms it.

Please continue to post updates (I'm the son-in-law of the Schoening's on Surf walk; they have no power in Manhattan so have no idea what is going on).

Heidi said...

Heartbreaking. So many memories, a lifetime ago.

Mik Muller said...

Is that last photo of Pomander? Been so long since I was out there.

Anonymous said...

yup, that is Pomander walk. As to the rest of them, hard for me to tell, but the iron ball from the top of the old water tower is a dead give away--as is the white side entry to the Village Hall.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there any photos of the bayfront?