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Sandy Anniversary: Long Island's Comeback of the Year

Monster storm one year ago left us crippled but not bowed. We're back.

In this iconic photo, a Plainview firefighter cuts apart a felled tree on Opal Drive the morning after Sandy. The road was opened in 30 minutes and the crew, which had worked through the night, went on to it's next job. (Photo credit: Joe Dowd)
In this iconic photo, a Plainview firefighter cuts apart a felled tree on Opal Drive the morning after Sandy. The road was opened in 30 minutes and the crew, which had worked through the night, went on to it's next job. (Photo credit: Joe Dowd)
Today's forecast calls for partly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 50s. If you stand on our beloved Jones Beach and gaze at the sea, the ocean will be relatively calm, with surf expected below two feet.

And for that, we should be grateful.

A year ago Plainview and the rest of Long Island was staring into the spiraling face of an ocean-borne monster. Hurricane Sandy was about to make land fall and wreak havoc on our homes and lives.

The storm surge rolled over Jones Beach and the North Shore to five-feet above flood stage. The South Shore below Merrick Road became a shallow lake, and Bayville was largely cut off from the world.

First responders, firefighters, police, civilians, were risking their lives to rescue those who couldn't make their way out of the looming devastation.

By then, the power went out all over. More than 100,000 LIPA customers, including 90 percent of Plainview, were plunged into the 19th Century. You could argue Sandy was Biblical in it's proportions; darkness covered the land.

LIPA was, at first, overwhelmed, then publicly disgraced by its failure to respond promptly. Everyone from the governor of New York to the residents posting on Patch bitterly called them out for their failures.

And if there is one collective memory of Sandy, the Category 2 hurricane that came ashore a year ago today, it should not be of what we lost, but, instead, how Long Islanders came back.

By the time morning came, the Plainview Fire Department was clearing pathways all through the community. They worked without sleep for days, to the point of exhaustion, but didn't quit.

Bagel Boss on South Oyster Bay Road was open and the line went out the door. There was food, and people sent the good news out from their iPhones.

Plainview people checked on their neighbors, the elderly, the infirm. The Plainview Middle School became an emergency center.

The churches and synagogues gave shelter to those in need. Good Shepherd, the Manetto Hill Jewish Center, the Plainview Jewish Center, among many others, opened their doors to strangers. People donated clothing, blankets, socks and shoes.

The lines at the gas pumps didn't stop the community. People bought gas cans and waited their turn for those who couldn't. Neighbors helped neighbors. Kids pitched in.

The Plainview Library opened its doors as soon as it could. Under the leadership of Director Gretchen Browne and her team, it stayed open until everyone's phones were charged and laptops were operating, an oasis of light and knowledge amid the destruction.

It went on that way, here and all over Long Island, slowly, but surely, until all the lights were back on and the roads and railroad were open.

The pictures contained here are but a few examples of the resilience of our community (Please click through the images to see them). The before-and-after shots show how Plainview is still standing.

State and federal officials say the region is better prepared to address the devastation left in the wake of some future Atlantic monster.

But we don't really need them to tell us that. We know; we lived through it. We're still standing.

Today it will be partly sunny, the surf and wind will be calm.

We can be grateful.

See our breaking story from that morning here.

Follow Plainview Patch on Facebook here.

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