Photos: West End Sends Mixed Signs

Long Beach Florist and Groomin Tails, like other businesses on West Beech Street, posted neon signs in their windows to let passersby by know they’re open for business.
Long Beach Florist and Groomin Tails, like other businesses on West Beech Street, posted neon signs in their windows to let passersby by know they’re open for business.

When Hurricane Sandy took her wrath out on Long Beach last fall, the West End was among the hardest hit areas in town. More than three months later, as residents, business owners and government employees work to recover and rebuild citywide, there are telltale signs, both literal and figurative, of how the neighborhood is progressing — and not.

While some stores have posted neon signs in their windows letting passersby on West Beech Street know they’re open for business, a Pennsylvania Avenue homeowner wrapped her storm-ravaged bungalow in red tape and posted signs to bring attention to the bureaucratic delays she says have kept her from receiving insurance payouts, according to the Long Beach Herald. And as new construction is announced for an empty lot at Nebraska and West Beech, the charred remains of a Christmas tree stands outside the burned-out Knights of Columbus building, which succumbed to a blaze in December.

If you have photos of signs of life, or lack thereof, in the West End, feel free to share them here.

Photos by Joseph Kellard
Eddie February 15, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Who would believe anything printed in the Herald?
Me February 15, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Come on the surfers stopped the project. Really???? The project was a waste of money as it didn't include anything to protect from the bay. My house flooded in Sandy and I watched the water roll slowly up the street from the bay. The project wouldn't have done anything to stop it. Couple that with the Corp of Engineers lack of transparancy and take it or leave it attitude that is what killed the project. Anybody remeber when they were asked to provide a sample of the sand to be pumped on the beach? All they had was a sandwich bag (literally). They had lost the core sample. There were many issues with the project and it surely wasn't the surfers that killed it, what about the complaints of noise and blocked views and handicapped acces to the beach, where was the money to come from for replenishment down the line, but the surfers killed the project all by themselves?????
John February 15, 2013 at 06:49 PM
dear troll...oops, sorry - bigears, please link to said article where LB herald "blames" anyone for the ACE's plan not bring implemented. I've read an article where they recap how the situation played out, but have yet to read the column you describe. do share.
Me February 15, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Big Ears, I have the paper. It is not an editorial or a report by the paper. It is a "Guest Column” by Morris Kramer and clearly states it is his opinion. It is little more than a "letter to the editor" and shame on the Herald for portraying it as anything else. It is quite a stretch of the imagination that the "Surfers” convinced the entire city council to vote unanimously against the project. This piece doesn't address any other issues with the project that were raised at the time. It is nothing more than one man's opinion. Which we all know what opinions are like and that everybody has one. I am not a surfer and I was against the plan at the time and to just implement a plan now so we can say we did something when the plan is still a bad plan that does nothing for bayside flooding is just stupid and a feel good move. The "fact" of the topography of our island home is that for most of it the bayside is lower in elevation and will flood well before the beachside. I am not saying that something couldn't be done to protect the beach front buildings but what is needed is a true comprehensive plan that addresses all the issues including flooding from the bay, not to just throw money at something so we can all feel warm and fuzzy to say we did something. Then during the next big storm we will all watch the floodwaters come up from the bay again as they always do. Who will we blame then; the surfers, Morris Kramer, the Army Corp of Engineers for an incomplete plan or ourselves for not seeing the big picture!
Trying to Make Sense February 16, 2013 at 09:22 AM
Big EARS makes good points that are only compromised by his need to affix blame... Yes, the key truth is presented very clearly by BIG EARS: "Did the bay water destroy the OCEAN blocks of the West End and the Walks? No. The ocean did Did the bay destroy the boardwalk and severely damage almost every structure along the ocean front? No. The ocean did. Had the 2006 Army Corp been in place we would have suffered AT LEAST 100 million dollars less in outright damage and tens of millions in future costs. If the 2006 plan was in place we would be talking about fixing the bay side now from a position of strength." The specious argument that the failure to provide bay side protection is a rationale for rejecting the ACE plan and improperly stating that the Coastal Engineering study paid for by the City supports this argument does need to be called out. Only a few weeks ago a guest columnist in the Herald who was representing the LBSA, suggested that he'd have supported the plan had he been assured HIS canals home did not flood... well, a lot of people live south of Park Ave. and many of us would support any viable plan to protect our neighbors in the canals, North Park, Westholme or any other areas that require a bay side flood mitigation plan... but don't conflate the two, and do realize that there won't be much sympathy for people complaining that canal side sea walls upset their water views. That said, let any organized surfer's interest group start to acknowledge the fiduciary responsibilities of the City to its residents before talking waves and let's make no mistake about it, claiming that the surfer's rejection of the ACE plan had to do with bay side issues rather than waves is REVISIONIST HISTORY at its worst... revisionism that misleads rather than clarifying.
John February 16, 2013 at 09:24 AM
Cody - I read the article at the time and did again a few months ago. generally speaking, I agree with your position, but am completely put off with how you're trying to make your point. I know what happened in 2006 and all the missteps before and after it. I don't care who killed what, I just want to get it right this time. I'm also not willing to hold the beach side hostage because the bay side isn't addressed...some progress is better than none. that said, I'm in the west end 5 houses from the ocean and can tell you bay waters were in my home well before the dunes have way. I know this, was there and watched it all happen.
Eddie February 16, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Cody, you are certainly on a tear here. But with your search for specifics, you cannot blind yourself to some of the complexities of your argument. ................The Army plan was shot down by the elected City Council, not a surfing group, an environmentalist or your neighbors. They lobbied for what they believed, and the Council made the decision. The decision rests solely with the City Council that was in place in 2006. Was the Council's decision "bought"? Was it a result of a competent expert analysis? Was it swayed by politics? You can't criticize one group for its aggressive lobbying. Like it or not, that is a fundamental of how our system works. .....................You are further assuming that the Army's plan would have been at least marginally effective. That assumption was very heavily debated at the time. At least publicly, the Council rejected the plan because they deemed it to be ineffective and not cost effective. They said, at the time, that the plan would cause more harm than good. I know that's difficult to tell to a man whose house would have been saved, but we place these decisions in the hands of or elected officials. They and their electors are solely responsible. .................At the crux of poor decisions is corrupt leadership which appoints political hacks to jobs requiring and traditionally held by professionals. The city no longer employs an engineer, so engineering decisions are made by a 20-something hack with no engineering knowledge. It no longer employs a CPA as a treasurer, so financial reports and analysis is simply not forthcoming. ..............To blame what you feel to be a bad decision on one lobbying group is as senseless as blaming a bank robbery on the NRA.
Trying to Make Sense February 16, 2013 at 11:14 AM
Well said John... no need to assign blame because Eddie is correct, the only ones at "fault" are the City Council at that time who had the authority. Further, it was controversial and 20/20 hindsight is cheating. I was against the ACE plan too, just barely, as I believed the potential negatives outweighed the potential positives then. But more important, no holding the ocean side hostage for the specious argument that it relates to bay side mediation and let's keep single focused interest groups out of the discussion... they don't deserve scorn, but they have had their moment and now need to be more honest brokers in the discussion.
Trying to Make Sense February 16, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Excuse... meant bay side mitigation.
Beachguy February 16, 2013 at 01:23 PM
The City commissioned a study after rejecting the ACE plan which made a number of specific recommendations. Years went by and none of these recommendations were implemented by the City. That's where the blame lies. Take a look at the Long Beach Surfers Association website to see the steps that should have been taken.
BSM February 16, 2013 at 06:18 PM
I would like to know how long Big Ears has lived in Long Beach and where he was during the 2006 hearings. I also would like to know what he has done, previous to Sandy, to benefit the area. I am not a surfer, or in anyway associated with them, but as a long time resident I can assure you the surfing community has always been at the forefront of community activism and they brought scientific information to their arguments against the ACE plan. Those same surfers you want to vilify have also been extremely active in activities to help the people of LB get their lives back in order and have donated time, labor and money to do so. When you bought your home did you never consider the potential disasters implicit in living next to the ocean? Have you any knowledge of the formation of these barrier islands? What happened to this city breaks my heart. I hate knowing how many lives have been affected and seeing empty homes and stores. But the fact remains each of us who chose to live here took a gamble. And that is our responsibility. Not Surf Riders, not the city council, not ACE, personal responsibility. I did not support the ACE plan as written. Like many of my neighbors, I thought there should have been more willingness on the part of the Corp to heed the concerns of the people who would have to live with the results. Was the whole plan bad? No, but it also wasn't user friendly either and there were big, legitimate questions about the long term benefits of the plan. And to presume that it makes sense to implement it today to make people such as yourself feel better shows a total lack of knowledge of the FACTS.
Eddie February 16, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Cody, you tend to repeat yourself. Apparently, the City Council decided that $15 million could be better spent elsewhere. I'm not sure the Army Corps plan would have prevented $15 million in damage. If I recall properly, at the time, the Army would not assure that it would prevent any damage at all. That is why the plan was not adopted.
Beachguy February 16, 2013 at 08:29 PM
There were many valid reasons the. ACE plan was voted down. Why was nothing done in the intervening years? Because TILB. The blame lies with the "take it or leave it" ACE and the subsequent ineffective , incompetent City administrations. BSM and others are right. We live on a sandbar with all the risks that entails. But we also deserve better from the people who stand for office and then fail in their duties.
1_Good_Guy February 17, 2013 at 10:36 AM
The only way the ocean side would have been protected is to have dunes as high as the ones in lido behind marvel. The WHOLE island from point lookout to silver point would need them that high in order for it to make a difference. Was that going to be done in 2006 or ever. Probably not. You all are a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks who really havent a clue. The way the water came in , east to west, at high tide full moon, we didnt stand a chance unless a wall of sand that high was in place. NOOOOOOOBBBBBS!
Rebecca February 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM
Long Beach government always lets us down and expects us tax payers to pick up the tab. Point Lookout took the Army Engineers up on the plan and fared much better than we did in Long Beach. I am worried about the fate of the West End with all the for rent signs in the windows along Beech street. Lack of revenues from local business, high taxes from mismanagement of prior administrations and the possibility of my flood insurance being as high as $9,000 a year. The fact that they tore down the boardwalk that only sustained about 20% damage without having a real plan in place terrifies me. They should have repaired the boardwalk for the summer trade while we waited to see what funds were going to be in place to pay for this and the best way to protect us going forward. Lets not forget the government has not paid out yet for Irene. The focus groups set up to talk about the new boardwalk is all smoke and mirrors. This last statement may be controversial I hate the red tape placed on the homes in the West End. I understand the statement you are making however as someone who was displaced and a home that was damaged it makes moving back even harder. Only 20% of my street has moved back and the red tape on the homes is unsightly.
Niblug February 17, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Finger pointing rarely serves a purpose and often interferes with the ability of the pointers to get past it and move forward. The fact is that all of us who live in LB are to blame. Barrier islands were never intended to support large infrastructure such as we created. In our hearts of hearts we all know that we take our chances when we live where we live. The water will always win. We need to recognize that and then make our own decisions with the full knowledge that we are each responsible for the choices we make.
Beachguy February 17, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Good Girl, Rebecca and Niblug are all correct. Regarding the dunes if they were there at Lido then why not all along the island? There were wider and higher dunes at EAB which also largely spared except where the cut for the trucks was where the water poured in. After Irene as far as I observed nothing was done to replenish and strengthen the dunes in West End. No snow fences, no Christmas trees, no planting of sand grass. Total neglect. Why weren't dunes built in the center of town? Because TILB and we have suffered with shortsighted , inept administrators for years. Hopefully things will change. But the realist in me says don't hold your breath.
Eddie February 17, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Your life is ruined, I suspect because your house flooded. It flooded because you bought it on the beach at a low elevation. Your life is ruined because you did not consider its elevation when you bought the house. It is ruined because you did not have sufficient resources to repair or rebuild. Your life is ruined because you are not knowledgeable enough to avoid damage or to rebuild. Your life is ruined because you want to blame others for your bad decisions and lack of sufficiency. It is not ruined because someone lobbied against sand dunes. Get a grip, get some personal responsibility, rebuild and go vote.
Elliot Zuckerman February 18, 2013 at 06:29 AM
The sad truth is you are all right in some ways, yes the city of LB put all the warning signs to the side and yes the acoe was shot down by the council, and the surfers, and the fisherman and odds are by you, as well as many of the LB residents that attended many of the meetings and yes the city turned a deaf ear to the newer plan brought by an independent engineering firm covering many of the areas the the ACOE did not and yes we could have been protected better with 20 foot dunes like in lido and yes this storm really kicked out LB assess BUT we live on a sand bar and odds are no matter what we do short of building a wall around our island we cannot stop mother nature, hell you all talk about the big ACOE plan to stop the ocean, well what about Island Park and Oceanside, no ocean there, we live by the water and when mother nature want to clean us up she will and please no bashing me as I lost everything as well but all you that have the answers and feel that you want to blame someone, remember WE LIVE ON A SAND BAR...... I only wish everyone that is still in limbo and trying to get their insurance money to rebuild god speed. my real name
Trying to Make Sense February 18, 2013 at 09:37 AM
BSM wrote" I would like to know how long Big Ears has lived in Long Beach and where he was during the 2006 hearings. I also would like to know what he has done, previous to Sandy, to benefit the area." I would like to know what that has to do with the issue and what makes BSM think that any of the surfers "community activism" (often self serving) or "scientific information"(often cherry picked to support one conclusion) deserves any weight going forward. Beachguy, Goodgirl, Eddie... they know exactly what to do despite being anonymous and having no credentials to support their positions. We need to see a new ACE plan if we are lucky enough to get one. The City needs to reconcile it with the Coastal Engineering recommendations that the City never acted on (maybe due to cost, not TILB). Any organized interest group should lobby and advocate and pay for any "science based" presentation they feel will educate the City regarding its decision. SurfRider is a national organization, they can raise money for a formal point by point rebuttal of the ACE plan. Regarding living on a barrier island that ought never have been developed for full time communities... that ship has sailed... and regardless of Eddie's insistance that global warming is part of some environmentalist driven propaganda campaign, rising sea levels call for a realistic assessment of all options.
Elliot Zuckerman February 18, 2013 at 10:48 AM
You are are so right, Surfriders was the reason for the rejection, it had nothing to do with the failure to provide a solid program that would have save you and me and all the rest of us that own and live here. How stupid of me to think the ACOE had the answers. If the surfers had not been so powerful to have the power to get the issue passed we all would be living in the fairy tail world you are coming from.. Their program would have stopped the ocean, the bay and everything that we lost... Balls hell at least I use my real name not like you cowards that hide behind a screen name. Balls, hell man up and give your real name, on the other hand, I wish all the best and a speedy recovery and a solution to our problems.I would bet a solution will never come and would even go further and say this is not the last time we will be in this position ,again hopefully not in my life time. Least we not forget, we are all hoping and wishing for a solution and how to resolve our flooding problem. My real name.....
Me February 18, 2013 at 10:54 AM
I do love all the 20/20 hindsight and Monday morning Quarterbaking, but I have to agree with the point that has been made a number of times here. We live on an island and are at the mercy of the sea. We all knew and know that one day it can all be just wiped away with one storm. Just because nobody thought it would happen in their lifetime and chose to ignore the real possibilty it would happen. In the end even the ACOE plan wouldn't have helped here and now. The storm surge was reported as high as 14Ft. What good would a ten foot dune have done?
Elliot Zuckerman February 18, 2013 at 11:53 AM
Hey instead of wasting so much time and money I have the answer to all of you that think you have the answers, move north to the mountains you will not have the flooding issue, or other natural events that come with living on this planet but in case you have forgotten we live on a sand bar and this is exactly happens. To make this island our great city on LB so secure that we can be garenteeded not to flood is imposable , if you have all the answers please speak up. I only read here how everyone is screwed up and that you have the answers, so here is a great arena to voice it, I am open to anything but the bashing truly sucks, grow some balls lol at least I use my real name and doing that here does take balls as you know who you are talking to. so Hobber lets hear your plan.......and FYI I respect everyones comments and input just do not like to be told to grow some balls, instead of growing some balls, how about just growing up... My real name
Trying to Make Sense February 18, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Elliot is right on with his comment that the namecalling and fault assigning is childish, inaccurate and counter productive. That said, the issue here is not whether a mitigation project will protect in rare 14 ft storm surges(so called "perfect "or 100 year storms), but rather, whether we are ready for lesser but potentially damaging high seas driven by warmer temps and higher sea levels. Let's reexamine our options with the information this storm has provided. Let ACOE reexamine their plan with the new knowledge of this experience. If they offer a " take it or leave it", let's ask the key question: "Why?". Might it be that the counter arguments to their plan do not hold water(pun intended)? Might it be that they are merely an intransigent bunch who are protecting their own turf? I doubt that. The ACOE has enough work without taking on LB and as professionals who are charged to provide protection or restoration in the name of the US government, I can't imagine their position is only ego driven arrogance. Re bay side and Island Park /Oceanside or for that matter Lindenhurst issues, there is a very clear reason these are more difficult to address and this is noted in the Coastal Engineering report. Stopping storm surge through inlets into narrow shallow bays is a monster of an engineering problem. NYC is looking into an extremely expensive engineering project that would use a moveable structure to block the surge into NY Harbor, but we baysiders are not near Wall St. I am open minded to any future decision. I want the new debate to be driven by serious credible data and an eye toward good financial sense and prudent responsible fiduciary concerns. It is true Elliot, Mother Nature is one powerful lady. But she was more powerful in 1913 than she is in 2013 because of human capital and ingenuity.
MikeC. February 18, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Last time I looked, FEMA was prohibited by law from raising flood insurance premiums more than 25% per annum. Has that changed? I've heard of no new law or proposed law that would change this. Anybody with any different info, please post.
Elizabeth Treston February 18, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Here's the new law signed in the Summer of 2012. This article appears in Press of Atlantic City , ironically a couple of weeks before the chaos unfolded at our front door. http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/business/real_estate/flood-insurance-stability-comes-with-a-higher-cost/article_49480444-b3a3-50f3-95ea-e2ffddc88380.html


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