A little more than six months after Hurricane Sandy, several dozen Rockaway residents stood in the cold spring rain at Beach 95th Street and Shore Front Parkway to protest.
From their vantage point, they were able to see right out into the ocean. Any rougher weather and where they stood would have been underwater.
With summer, and hurricane season, bearing down on them, the residents feared they were vulnerable to an angry Atlantic Ocean.
Much of Rockaway Beach was washed away in Sandy and the Army Corps of Engineers is undergoing a massive $10 million reconstruction of the lost beach
John Cori, of the civic group Friends of Rockaway Beach, said the construction of a new beach and of trap bags — heavy sand-filled bags meant to stop water — are helpful, if a little slow in coming.
“The snail’s pace is frustrating,” he said. “Especially if the sea level is rising like they’re predicting.”
Cori would like to see small jetties placed along the beach as part of any “study,” which the federal government plans to do.
Meanwhile for all residents, the potential rise in flood insurance rates presents a big future problem.
Because of the Biggert-Waters Act, a law passed shortly before Sandy, flood insurance premiums may skyrocket and new maps drawn by the Federal Emergency Management Agency may draw most of Howard Beach into a flood zone.
Dan Mundy Jr., president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, has been leading the fight against the 2012 law in South Queens. He said if changes aren’t made soon — and so far Congress hasn’t touched the issue — it could be disastrous for coastal communities.
“We survived the 700-year storm and now we find out that bureaucrats are our biggest threat,” Mundy said. “We’re now going to deal with the unidentified consequences of the mistake.”