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Hard-Hit Meadowmere Feels Forgotten After Sandy

Nearly all of the homes in this coastal community have been destroyed by flooding.

Although the images aren’t as shocking in Meadowmere Park as nearby Long Beach, the small, out of the way, Five Towns community on the Queens border has been nearly completely decimated by Hurricane Sandy.

Residents of the six-block area that is surrounded by water on all sides estimate that flooding has destroyed every home’s basement and first floor. Piles of furniture, boxes of personal goods and spoiled food line the front yards of the neighborhood’s small streets, waiting to be tagged and claimed to federal officials. The storm has created the unseen dangers of mildew and mold. The people who have stayed in their homes sleep on the second floor, if they have one, without heat, electricity and hot water.

“I can’t be in my house right now. I need a break,” Justin P., a 19-year-old resident of Meadowmere and volunteer firefighter (like many residents of the community), told Patch on Friday on the walking bridge between Meadowmere and a small sliver of neighboring Rosedale. “You’re sitting here and you want something different. We’re known for high tides. We’ve dealt with it before. We’ve never dealt with five feet of water in our houses.”

Lynn Rollo, a 63-year resident of Meadowmere Park, confirmed this, and said Sandy was the worst she’s seen.

Television news shows have highlighted other communities in similar situations that are awaiting the arrival of officials from FEMA and the Office of Emergency Management. This has not been the case for Meadowmere Park, whose residents feel they’re completely alone.

We need assistance,” said Joann Waters.

“They don’t acknowledge we’re here,” Kris Pugliese added.

Pete Henry, who lives in Long Beach, lost everything in the storm, and is now staying with relatives in Meadowmere. As he cleaned out their garage, pointing out his empty gas tank, he had one simple message: “Get FEMA over here.”

The Meadowmere Park Fire Department is now, more than ever, acting as the essential backbone of the community, as of Saturday the only place to take a hot shower, and even providing security in the way of lights powered by one of its fire trucks. On Friday night, kids and teenagers, mostly the children of firefighters, filled their time playing Monopoly and Clue on the second floor of the firehouse, while a single DVD played on a nearby TV.

Kevin Carrero, whose house is higher than many in the community, still had a foot and a half of water in his house, and estimates the first floor has to be gutted. A contractor, Carrero is acting chief of the fire department, and has unofficially served as the community’s leader since the storm hit.

“We’re helping everyone clean out their homes,” said a visibly drained Carrero, who has slept only two hours a night this week on a cot in the firehouse and finally went to sleep at home for the first time Friday evening. “A lot of my guys are taking care of their own. This has been the most stressful time being chief.”

Looting is a huge concern in Meadowmere, but Carrero said he has not gotten any response from the Fourth Precinct or the auxiliary force.

“The other fire departments are the only ones helping us,” he said. “We can’t get outside help — we’ll take care of ourselves.”

Still, residents are hopeful.

Diane Kircher, who was cleaning her garage, assured Patch, “We’re going to have Halloween.”

The American flag hung high over Charles Lombardo’s home, which now has oil sludge in its crawl space after his neighbor’s tank spilled. “That was a freaky storm,” he said.

But Carrero is not so sure residents’ spirits can withstand the hardships that have yet to come as a result of Sandy.

“It’ll never be the same,” he said. “It’s hard to see what got lost.”

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Diane Giambalvo November 04, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Sorry all of you had to go thru this. I grew up in Meadowmere , but now live in Nashville, TN. My family had 3 homes there.
Mark H Getman November 04, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Sorry for what happened, in order to get assistance have fd contact nassau oem and explain the situation they may not know severity..they can then contact and coordinate with national guard to assist
Amy Bentley November 04, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Where is the footbridge connecting Meadowmere to Rosedale? I can't place in my mind the bridge, and I looked on Google maps, but couldn't find it. Fingers crossed for aid to come quickly to your lovely, albeit forgotten, hamlet.
Stephen J. Bronner November 04, 2012 at 03:55 PM
On the map it's Meyer Avenue. The map considers both sides Meadowmere Park.
Diane Giambalvo November 04, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Amy, It was in one of the pictures posted. It is on East Avenue right near the firehouse.
susan mingelgreen November 04, 2012 at 07:39 PM
What about us in North Woodmere. Our power substation was destroyed along with Branch Blvd. many people lost everything. No one seems to care
Diane Giambalvo November 05, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Susan, Sorry to heard that. How is Glenridge Ave ? I've been trying to reach a friend that lives there. They are living there since the house was new
Heather November 05, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Our thoughts and prayers go out to you all and especially my Seaman family....we love you all and pray yous stay safe through recovery ♡♥
Heather November 05, 2012 at 03:18 PM
People need to be checked on....on the other side of Meadowmere NOT just the inwood side....1ST ST AND 3RD ST....I saw TONS of pics of the inwood side..but NONE from 1ST and 3RD....my families ENTIRE business their LIVELIHOOD GONE!! And looters have been ALL OVER there! PLEASE DON'T LET THAT SMALL COMMUNITY GO UNSEEN HELP THEM!!
Dave November 06, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Today was the first that I saw a work crew in North Woodmere. It took LIPA a week just to pick up the downed lines on Hungry Harbor Rd, by the park. The FEMA guy who came around on Sunday told us power maybe on Wednesday, unless the coming Nor'easter hits hard, in which case, it could be another week. So cold; so angry...
Triplethrees November 06, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I live in the community and this is the second time around but the worst. I hope help comes soon be because it is such a sobering experience when you look at what nature is capable of doing. What a catastrophic event. One another note, if you are an official in the community and state you are helping all residents empty out their homes, help ALL residents empty out their homes. Put your differences to the side and step up as your supposed to and do the right thing.

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