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Battered From the Storm, Atlantic Beach Remains in the Dark

Area was hard hit by hurricane and residents have suffered without power since.

Sonya Begelman looked out at the debris in front of the Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach and recalled how “everything was destroyed.”

Begelman, a board member of the temple and a congregant for 32 years, said the center will try to salvage some of its nine Torah scrolls that were damaged by flooding, but holy books — including siddurim — will have to be disposed of.

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In Atlantic Beach, where the ocean meets the bay, buildings and homes were surrounded by water. While the devastation in Atlantic Beach was not as apparent as in Long Beach, there was plenty of damage all the same. 

“I have been pumping water out of basements in Atlantic Beach since the storm hit,” said Rich Ronzo, of Cedarhurst. “Basements are totally flooded, along with first floors, and people’s possessions are gone.”

Patch did attempt to contact Atlantic Beach residents by knocking on doors, but most were unanswered. 

Atlantic Beach has been without power since the hurricane hit on Oct. 29. Residents say that the village has done a good job of keeping them updated with daily bulletins left in their mailboxes. One such notice said, “Local officials and LIPA continue to work together to rectify the current power outage.”

Several attempts to contact the mayor, Stephen Mahler, were unsuccessful.

Village officials said Thursday night that they would be sending an inspector to each household to check the electrical panels. Once the panel and home is deemed safe, the home is eligible for power. However there is no specific date as to when the power will be fully restored to the island. Some say it may be weeks.

Fortunately, Village Hall has a generator and has been a refuge for those residents still in their homes, offering shelter, electricity and a hot cup of coffee.

Atlantic Beach’s famous beach clubs did not escape destruction either. Sunny Atlantic’s cabana doors had blown off, shelves were knocked over, and the cabanas were buried in approximately 2 feet of sand. Their pools were also filled with sand, and the winds carried pieces of the boardwalk into the club.  Lifeguard chairs and rubble were strewn in every direction at Catalina.

"Everybody looks at Atlantic Beach as an affluent community. They've been very affected by the storm,” said Frank Mistero, an Atlantic Beach resident and Inwood Republican leader. “The biggest problem is power — I don't think LIPA was prepared for this.”

Luckily, he said, Atlantic Beach is hooked into relief efforts that have been centered in Long Beach.

Volunteers from all over the country were out in full force. Jane Shaul, an Atlantic Beach resident, said that she was “touched by the kindness of strangers.” Last week, volunteers from Pennsylvania were going door-to-door asking if anyone needed assistance.

Eric Villani distributed food in the West End of Long Beach and parts of Atlantic Beach through his catering company EV Events. Villani’s wife, Suzanne, came to help out, as did other volunteers. Villani, a former Long Beach resident, said he did it “old school,” by word of mouth and going door-to-door.

“If I have the ability to help someone else out, I will,” he said.

Neil Metz November 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM
The Deli next door to my house had been open for days serving the community (Dutchess and Park St). I think they have a generator and are fully operational, I must commend them. Good job guys your food is terrific !!
MAY November 10, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Was silver point hurt? I'm wondering if we will not be able to enjoy our cabana this summer. That would be a tremendous loss of business for all of them.
steven November 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM
If you live in AB and didn't evacuate and take preparations to protect the things that cannot be replaced you have only yourself to blame. Not LIPA, not the storm, but your own stupidity. You deserve no sympathy for being so dumb. Sorry if the truth hurts but you knew it was coming and plenty of time to get your valuables, car, and self to higher ground. YOU chose not to against the demands of the area pols. It is looked at as an affluent community because IT IS MORON!!!!! And the republicans wonder why they lost with "leaders" as bright as this. Wow.
steven November 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Did the blantantly anti-semetic beach club called 'sun and surf' get washed away? It is an affluent area. Very affluent. GO ahead, try to join sun and surf if your last name is Goldstein or Mandelbaum, let's see how far you get. And this club is surrounded by a majority of Jewish citizens. It's disgusting that people tolate that today. Does our republican leader have a cabana at this anti semetic haven? Hmm. And what does he exactly lead? His own self promotion? Oh. Call them, say you are Mr. Schwartz and would like to get on the waiting list for a rental. See what happens. IF it is washed away that is poetic justice. It's just so blatant. Not a single Jew or Black or Hispanic in the ENTIRE CLUB!!!!!!!!!!! Not exaggerating.
steven November 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Sun and surf has to at least have major electrical damage consider the carcophony of electric wires that are run in every different direction underneath the boardwalk and peoples cabanas. Not a SINGLE installation is to code. All interior grade cable (romex), no bx, no conduit, nothing except cheap staples. They will fix it after a child electrocutes him/herself. Where will you be then republican leader? What do you lead? What do you do? Why should anyone in this community care what you have to say? You represent no one except yourself and prove that you are an ignoramous as soon as you start speaking. Do yourself a big favor, shut up because you sound like a blubbering idiot. Leader. Ha. What have you accomplished as "leader" Mr. Leader? Besides taking nepotism and cronyism to new levels. Leader, it sounds so funny. So where are the minorities in sun surf? People, they have a quasi catholic "mass" at this place on saturdays in the summer so fat, lazy, rich (mostly alcoholics there) don't have to leave to beach for something as trivial as church. so, bring the church to them! As a devout Catholic, this practice of mass at the beach is abhorrant. There is Jesus on the cross in agonizing pain, and you can't get up off your drunk lazy ass and drive 1 town to a church instead you sit in a game room and act like you are really at a Mass. Shame on any Catholic would attend such spectacles. You need a major examination of your conscience - disgusting.
steven November 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM
"Leader." I still think that's hysterical. What or who are you leading? What have you ever accomplished for this community that didn't benefit you and your cronies 10 times over? I mean, everyone knows how corrupt sanitary district 1 is but no one is will to try and change things and clean it up. What leader, not a cause for you to take up and lead on? OK. We'll find something fr your to do, or, er, "lead." HHAHAHAHHAA Too funny, a self conferred leader. Hey look at me! I'm the governor! No wait, now I am a mayor, that's it, mayor. The hypocrisy and cronyism is a deep infection in the 5 towns. Where are the minorities at sun and surf I asked? Are you bringing in a Rabbi next year as well to be fair? of course not leader.
amynyc1 November 11, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Steven have you ever heard the expression " Be the change you want to see in the world " ! You are a very prejudice person your rants are distasteful .Listen to yourself . Pack up your troubles and move to an Island and bring your Wilson . BTW I am Jewish !
steven November 11, 2012 at 06:14 PM
was any I wrote incorrect or misleading. maybe snarky (thats the fun of it) but I do hit it on the head. why don't you try growing some "nerve" and speak up and out. Prejudiced against whom moron? Who, tell me? Or am I pointing out a statistical abberation amongst a set poulation of peoples that any statistician will say is influenced by prejudice nad is not natural. BTW, you are not going to get very far throwing around horrible, pedestrian cliches like that. It exposes your limited aptitude to think beyond little clips of words that sound nice together. Debate what I wrote not my smart alick persona. Problem is nothing is hyperbole or exxaggeration. And if you think that it is, well that's a testament to how crazy reality has become when it no longer seems real. Be the change you want to see in the world. Pretty deep dude, pretty deep. What did the next fortune cookie say? And if you are Jewish, you are the dumbest I have ever encountered. Prejudiced? Are you serious? Against other people who are prejudiced? What? What is didtateful? no cursing, foul double entendre, racial epithets, where is it? You are as bad as this reporter. Sheez. Do your homework or read a book the next time you open your trap. And lose the cliches Tony Robbins, you can form sentences and communicate your ideas independently by now. Please tell me which which, religious, cultural group did I disparage? None schmuck. why am i bothering with you, you are a waste of my time. Go learn more cliches.
Ally November 12, 2012 at 05:02 AM
I've been a member at Sun & Surf for years and not only know many jewish families that are members there as well, but I share a cabana with one. Also, I have seen both black and hispanic people around the club routinely. Not only are you not "not exaggerating," you are telling flat out lies. People who couldn't successfully protect their homes from a force of nature are dumb? You're the one ranting like an idiot when you don't even know what the hell you're talking about. And as for having mass at the beach, as a Catholic I don't believe Jesus minds where you worship him. Last time I checked you didn't have to be in a church to pray. And if you were really such a devout Catholic, you should know that. Perhaps you should do your homework or open a book the next time YOU open your trap.
J November 12, 2012 at 08:27 AM
steven- You are probably not from Atlantic Beach, you do not know anything about Atlantic Beach, stay in your own little neighborhood with your power and stop trying to bring the people in Atlantic Beach down. After evacuating for Irene and having nothing major happen to our community, a majority of us decided that it wouldn't be worth it to evacuate, you live and you learn right? Nobody was prepared for this, not Long Island, not LIPA, not even the government. Therefore, do me a favor and shut your mouth because you clearly are not aware of anything. In addition, how one person can blame the loss of homes on the homeowner is actually mind boggling considering the fact that homeowners had no control of what was about to happen to their town. LOL, also really confused as to why you are bringing politics into a situation that has nothing to do with anything of the sort. If you feel that Sun and Surf is anti-simetic (which I can assure you, is not), then you probably need a reality check and take a look around you, because a vast majority of the Five Towns is Jewish. Do you think that Sunny Atlantic is anti-Catholic due to the fact that many of the Orthodox Jewish population attends that beach? Probably not, right? Have you, yourself, ever even tried to sign up for a cabana or locker at Sun and Surf? Probably not, right? You're making a big deal out of something so minuscule to something so major that just happened around the area. Grow up and take your sick comments elsewhere.
steven November 12, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Can you read? If you didn't evac AB and LB and you lost a car and valuables...YOUR FAULT! How much advance notice do you need to take precautions to protect the things that cannot be replaced. A house can be replaced, furniture, cars, carpet, whatever. But if you complaining about photos, computers, important documents, clothing, memoribilia, etc., YOUR FAULT!! You were ordered out of the area. If you stayed, #1 you are selfish to ignore official orders #2 wasted precious time of rescue workers to get your dumb asses out. If you stayed that was a very self centered attitude to take. You obviously are a newbie to the beach club if you belong at all. S&S has an anti minority rep for about 40 years now. Nothing new. Who said "prayer service" moron? It is advertised as a Catholic Sunday Mass. Now, use google to find the Official Catechism of the Catholic Church or the GIRM (general instruction of roman missal). I think that should set your ass straight about who knows what they are talking about. It is a completely invalid Mass with no Transubstiation taking place. As a Catholic my dear, you follow the rules, not make them up on your own. You definitely do not belong to S&S because you are so off base with your comments. Do you know the Bishop "kindly requests" that these beach "masses" stop every year. And if you think that is an appropriate setting for Mass, you need to find a new church to frequent and make up your own rules. Just stop posting, you are embarassing yourself.
steven November 12, 2012 at 10:50 AM
I feel like I'm in the moron club here. I was prepared. I had all of my valuables packed and wrapped to seal out water. A full back up of my CPU so I wouldn't lose a single photo. Momentos from special times with our family and friends, my bible, my missal, a couple of odds and ends, passports, birth certs, insurance policy, all wrapped together and ready to go before the #!# hit the fan. Are you following this, because if you did not do this before Sandy showed up you are a moron and take responsibility for your unpreparedness by thinking you know better than everyone else. Like I said, you don't have to take my word for it, better yet don't. Prove it to yourself. Let's see a Stein or Goldburg from the 5 towns get on any list there. TRY IT! The population profile of the club is so far removed from the demos of the 5 towns, nassau county, NYS, and the nation. This can only occur via an artificial influence that drastically alters the statistical model. Of course every community is different and have their own unique model, no doubt. If a statistician analyzed the figures, he/she would assume a mistake was made in the census or survey during data collection. You never said who I disparaged racially. You owe me an apology for slanderous comments. Sunny A, Clearwater, catalina are mostly Jewish, but no where near the odd concentration at S&S. Those clubs actually reflect the immediate towns pretty well. Fact is, a private club could restrict it's membership, that's their right.
Ally November 12, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I assure you, if there is a moron club, you are without a doubt in it. Now since we've agreed on something, let's set this straight. Even if I were a newbie to the club, which I assure you I am not, I would still have more grounds than you to talk about what the demos of it are. From firsthand experience, unlike you, I'm trying to correct this fallacy you believe. But instead of just admitting that you are wrong, you instead counter by saying that I must not be a member. LOL, ok. But, for what it's worth, I have lived in AB and been a member at the club since I was born. And my family has been members there since even before that. You don't need to tell me about any beach club demos, I grew up around all of them. But by all means, continue on, you and your ignorance are providing my entire social network with prime entertainment.. Also, I have worked for the club for a few years, so I can personally tell you what would happen if your hypothetical Shwartz and Goldstein wanted a rental there. They would get put on the list, and wait, most likely for years, like everyone else does. When I click on this article all I see are pictures of my destroyed town that will probably never be the same, and all the great memories that can now not be had there. Last thing anybody wants to see is some nosey zealot reprimanding people who have lost so much, regardless of who is to blame.
Ally November 12, 2012 at 05:57 PM
As for S&S mass. If you want to be pessimistic and view it so negatively, that's all you. Everybody has their own interpretations and ways they think are best to practice their religion. But who are you to disparage the attempts of people to worship and pray where they please? I think it's lovely that the service is offered, sorry if it isn't up to your zealous standards, but people leave feeling just as close to God at the beach as they would 1 town over in a church, regardless of whether or not they have ingested bread and wine. And isn't that the point after all? Fortunately, your negative opinion does not even matter, since you are not at all affiliated with the club, but just like to talk about it like you are.
Leslie Mann November 12, 2012 at 09:15 PM
About the make-up of the beach clubs..I've been around there since 1952, and was always fascinated by the few clubs that were known as "anti-semitic" My thoughts as a 6 yr. old havn't changed at all. So what-who needs them anyway? We have our own.. and thats the way "clubs" are formed. PC? No, but true. Things have loosened up over the years at all the clubs as the population changes. I just worry that they survive. And to the folks who are arguing over Catholic mass at the S&S club? To the best of my recollection, Catholics wernt so popular there either. They had a preference for Protestants from the Oyster Bay area. Leslie
J November 13, 2012 at 02:22 AM
You literally are the definition of a moron.
Phil November 14, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Steven your probably black and work at McDonalds. Heres an idea! you want to go to Sun & Surf? You can come and install my new refrigerator in the spring.
unknownauthor November 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Does anyone who actually lives in Atalntic Beach have a tough time dealing with the people who work for the village office?
steven November 22, 2012 at 12:15 AM
It is a Mass not a service. Bread and wine? BREAD AND WINE? YOU ARE CATHOLIC? Please get another religion. How about the Real Presence of Christ as his actual flesh and blood. It ceases to be merely bread and wine. It's existance, it's essence is not bread and wine. There are no black people in S&S. Period. Show me pictures. Please. I've been there 35 years. There are no black people at all. I have never met a Jew there - except for my friends that I bring down. The Mass is a hoax to anyone with a brain, sorry. Those are facts not opinions - if I am wrong you can prove it. Let's see. Lily white is an understatement. It's true, Catholics were not welcome in the area. Good point Leslie Mom. That's why the rock hall family are pretty unlikable people. (plus they were loyalists)
steven November 22, 2012 at 12:17 AM
The anti-semetism is as old as I am. But the "Catholic" masses are really disgraceful. I feel like emulating Jesus in the Temple and flipping the tables during the hoax. It's sad and sickening.
Randi July 04, 2013 at 08:57 PM
YOU ARE A MORON. We are a jewish family who has never had a better experience than @ Sun & Surf. My son was a Bar Mitzvah only four weeks ago and the gentleman who runs the club could not have been happier for us. We have many friends there and think of it as one of our favorite places on earth. Guess you can't leave the shetl that is Westbury or Sunny Atlantic. It's 2013--

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