Home Is Where the Rubble Is
In a Staten Island neighborhood consumed by the floodwaters, long-time residents wait, and wait, to rebuild their shattered houses.
Balancing on wooden planks snaking across the skeletal beams that provide a makeshift platform for his floorless home, Earl Moody relies on a generator to power an array of electric tools as he guts and rebuilds the slate-blue cottage his wife owns on Moreland Street.
“Saltwater’s nasty, it’s corrosive. Even after the water’s gone, the salt eats away at the house,” says Moody, a sixty-year-old mechanic with wispy yellow-gray hair and a sage’s beard. “These sidings will have to go, the salt’s eating away under it.”
The ocean tried to swallow Midland Beach one hundred days ago. The water receded from the marshy residential stretch on northeast Staten Island within hours of the storm. But, like the salt that has inundated itself within the structures, slowly corroding metal and wood, the uncertainty left behind on the ravaged blocks of Cape Cod style family homes silently wreaks havoc on displaced residents’ morale.
Wearing a Duke-blue driving jacket, Moody received an …
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial