Only a few days after Sandy terrorized the Eastern Coast and before droves of generous volunteers began their efforts to rebuild the seaboard, the damage done by the hurricane was visible against the landscapes of the region.
Coney Island, in particular, was littered with refuse from the Atlantic: the remnants of people’s homes, lives and everything else that was ripped away from them.
The residents of the community painfully packed their drenched belongings on the sidewalks, mattresses, toys and memories, while the boardwalk with its shuttered storefronts was left largely abandoned.
On Friday, business owners and photographic tourists pounced on the historic beachfront to assess the damage.
Nathan’s Famous workers swabbed the sidewalk and packed up dozens of bags of rotten food while intrepid shutterbugs mulled over the broken and beaten objects that lined the shore.
Families traversed the beach, stopping at children’s cribs, upturned rowboats and even marooned Jet Skis, to take portraits and document their own experience with the storm.
The New York Observer captured this strange moment before the cleaning truly commenced and long after Sandy had passed to find Coney Island perfectly preserved in a moment of chaos and calm.