Long Beach Fixes (Friday Photography)

A few weeks back I went around town and captured a few of the spots where Hurricane Irene’s wraith was still noticeable.  You can check those photos out here.  I couldn’t help but notice a few days after publishing, the City’s worker bees could be spotted at a number of the places I highlighted.

To give credit where credit is due, I’ve followed up and can happily show how some projects are nearing completion.  Especially pleasing is the work done to the Magnolia Park playground which they are just now wrapping up.

Good job Long Beach.

First up, the now completed deck around the snack shack.  I couldn’t help but notice that some “helpful” residents decided it would be a great idea to tag the shack with graffiti.

A huge crew working to replace the boardwalk at Magnolia Blvd.  Start to finish – about a week.

To me, the most important project, repairing the wall at the Magnolia playground, which is basically done.

Busy digging out the “newly renovated” bathrooms at National Blvd

And finally, this isn’t a picture of a fix, but a problem that I didn’t mention last time.  Sand.  We have a ton of sand where it shouldn’t be.  Here at Grand Blvd, you can see the sand piled as high as what was once a bench.  Hurricane Irene’s storm surge pushed tons of sand from the shore to the boardwalk and easily added 4-5 feet of sand, while pulling it from the water line.  The City has been working for months at different areas working to re-level the sand evenly across the beach, but it’s time consuming and expensive.  Perhaps the City should request volunteers one Saturday for a big “ramp digout” community effort.  I’ll be the first to volunteer with a shovel.  I love digging!

So the City has seemingly finally got a fire lit under its ass and even with the current budget climate, is working to fix much of the damage that lingered after Irene.  Great job, and keep it up.

4.5 Months After Irene (Friday Photography)

FEMA showed up last week to survey the leftovers from Irene and a lot of you asked why were they coming now after so much time has passed, and so many repairs have already been made.  That gave me the idea for this week’s installment of Friday Photography.  I went around to a few spots that I know received a walloping and took a look at what was there now.  This is by no means a survey of the entire City, just a quick snapshot (no pun intended).  Also take a look at some photos I put together right after Hurricane Irene to remember just how intense it was.

I really appreciate all the feedback I received last week and if any of you have some good shoot ideas, let me know.

4.5 Months After Irene

On the beach between National and Edwards, an emergency lane marker stands over the remnants of the brick and cinder-block walls that failed to hold the sea back

 Behind the empty lot next to the Allegria, where the sea wall burst flooding the street, a new lumber wall hovers over the sand.  Take a look at this photo taken as the storm hits shows the sea after it pushed through the former wall.  And here’s another view.

 The Lifeguard Shack: after being pushed off of its foundation, and then returned with the help of a crane, it’s in desperate need of a paint job.  See how it looked hours after the storm here

 Without a leg to stand on

 One of the shack’s shutters swings ajar

 After a much needed renovation, the new bathrooms at National Blvd were short-lived as they quickly became flooded and buried when Irene hit weeks later.  Now they sit boarded up and more buried than ever.

 At the beach entrance to the Allegria, the high water mark is still visible

 By New York Ave, the lifeguard station and snack shack were nearly destroyed.  October’s rapid push to rebuild their decks seems to have been abandoned as sand piles on the lumber.  Take a look at how it stood the morning Irene hit

 The west snack shack without any decking.

 After a blitz of sawing and hammering, now the new deck just waits.

 One of the many ramps destroyed by the storm surge.

 After Kelly Slater and Quiksilver rushed to rebuild the Magnolia playground, little has been done by the City.

 What once was a colorful, child-painted mosaic wall, now is open and exposed to the ocean

 Two colorfully-painted mosaic tiles sit buried in the rubble under the boardwalk.  These should be saved and used in a new wall.

FEMA to the Re$cue?

(In the photo: FEMA Project Manager Bob Nash, City Manager Jack Schnirman, DPW Commissioner Kevin Mulligan, City Council President Fran Adelson, DPW Deputy Commissioner Joe Febrizio)

FEMA disaster recovery representatives met with Long Beach officials this past Friday to tour some of the areas damaged by Hurricane Irene last August. Some of you might remember Hurricane Irene as that uninvited guest which destroyed our playground, tripped Al Roker, uplifted our lifeguard shack and flooded our streets.

So here we are several months after the storm, FEMA are evaluating the damage which, um….. Maybe they should have been here several months ago? Anyways, hopefully the city will be reimbursed for most of the repair costs. MO$T of the REPAIR CO$T$.

Quiksilver Pro Back in Long Beach 2013? (Don’t get too excited)

“Quiksilver Says Long Beach Surfing Competition ‘a Possibility’ in 2013”

Don’t get too excited. That’s just the title of an article from the Wall Street Journal, which doesn’t really say anything new. You know the story:

  • ACT 2: Tropical Storm [Hurricane] Irene
  • ACT 3: SURF
  • ACT 4: BYE BYE 2012

How about 2013? From the article:

Mike Matey, vice president of marketing for the surf and sport retailer, says the brand is not entirely ruling out a return to Long Beach. “Our year-one investment is being assessed. We are working to understand how much it really cost. We thought we would take a year off and regroup and decide,” he said.

The competition portion could come back in 2013, Matey said: “It’s a still a possibility. We would hope to make a decision by the end of 2012.”

Yep, nothing to see here. Move along. (Thanks Amy for sending it in!)

Official: LB Bond Rating Downgraded to Baa3

Trash? Ok, so not exactly Junk Bond Status, but it is a downgrade. As first mentioned on this site last Friday, Moody’s officially downgraded Long Beach’s bond rating down to a Baa3; A far cry from the A1 the city gloated about in the October 2011 LB Citybeat newsletter a few months ago. I am still waiting for the official press release on Moody’s website and will post more when it’s available, but the Long Beach Herald pretty much has all the info you need (LB Herald – Moody’s to downgrade Long Beach’s credit rating.)

According to that article, it seems like Tropical Storm [Hurricane] Irene is once again being blamed. What I don’t understand is this: If that storm was such a financial disaster for this city then why would City Council President Thomas R. Sofield, Jr. tell us how great our finances are in a city newsletter that was printed well after the storm? I mean, tell us the truth for once.

From the taxpayer-funded October 2011 LB Citybeat, Sofield said:

“Even in this era of economic uncertainty, while the Federal Government’s bond rating has been downgraded, we are proud to say that our City’s finances are in order,” states City Council President Thomas R. Sofield, Jr. “This favorable rating given to us by Moody’s demonstrates their recognition of our sound financial structure both now and going forward. 

“Our administration is proud to lessen the tax burden to our residents with no increase in taxes for the fiscal year,” says Sofield.  “We are committed to reduce spending while seeking funding through alternative  sources as we move forward with infrastructure and other upgrades throughout the City.

October might have been cutting it close, but they could have updated us taxpayers in the newsletter that was send out a month later. The followup November 2011 LB Citybeat said absolutely nothing about the financial state of affairs the City of Long Beach apparently suffered from Tropical Storm Irene. I mean, surely our elected officials would of known by then what financial damage this city suffered.

This is what I think: Leading up the the elections we were told how great our city’s financies were. The LB Coalition doesn’t get re-elected and guess what? The shit hits the fan. They sing a different tune and Long Beach is a financial disaster. First we have to borrow money and now this bond rating downgrade. Here is something to think about: Maybe it has to do with some salaries / hiring practices and not the storm at all? Can we get a list of all city employees, including Interns & their salaries? I demand to know where my tax money is going.

Operation Shack Save – Total Success

Today, Bay Crane came down to the beach with two heavy lift cranes, and in a professional manner cleaned up the most notable, and nationally-televised, bit of Irene damage.

Operation Shack Save started after Irene decided to do some  beach remodeling.  In front of a crowd of about 20 onlookers, Shack Save was completed successfully.  In what seemed like about 10 minutes of actual lifting, the two cranes worked in tandem to lift the Lifeguard Shack, rotate it, then slowly traverse it back to its restored foundation.  There were a few minutes of fine tuning as they took the tension off the cranes and brought the shack to its home (of course until the next hurricane comes through).

Great job to all involved.  I’m sure the LB Lifeguards are ecstatic that their summer home is back, and will soon be fully restored.  

Lots of pictures below.

Getting ready for the lift – don’t cross the streams

Moving around to hook to the steel beams under the shack

And we’re airborne

Moving it like its a toy


Tandem crane work

And starting to put it down


The strongest dude in Long Beach, pulling the shack back to its foundation


Great view of the fun on a sunny day

And its done – minus some additional cleanup

Throw on a fresh coat of paint, and we’re back

 And to remember, this was the shack minutes after the storm surge hit

As it stood the evening after Irene hit, and where it would stay for 41 days


Operation Shack Save on Hold

After Irene decided to remodel our lovely beach, the Lifeguard Shack has not been the same.

I’ve got to say, with the Shack now situated where it’s been for a month, I’ve sort of gotten used to it.  Further, I love walking by and seeing people come down to the boardwalk and pose for a picture in front of it.  During the Quiksilver Pro, the tourists loved the “color” that it added to Long Beach, and its off axis alignment turns it into a landmark like the leaning Tower of Pisa

In early September, crews brought a monster crane in and ran a steel girder underneath the Shack, but according to what I’ve heard, from the position the crane was in, they could not effectively move the shack back to its foundation.

The current plan that I’ve learned is that they are working to bring the crane back, but this time situate it on the beach in an area that was not available due to the Quiksilver Pro construction.  From there, they should be able to quickly move the Shack back to its former home.

With the extreme high tide this week from the full moon, I wouldn’t be surprised if they wait till next week.  You don’t want a multi-ton crane sinking into wet sand.  I’ll update if I hear more, and if you spot the crane on the beach, let me know.

Editorial: Soaking in the Quiksilver Pro (sans festival) Acceptance.

I feel the same way as Lando Calrissian: This Quiksilver Pro deal is getting worse all the time: First they take away the booze, then the concert times changed + no more Q-Tip and now no festivals (skate/bmx/motox/concerts). We can definitely blame the first two on The City of Long Beach (the galatic empire?). No booze and earlier concerts would surely appease the complaining residents, but what about the festivals? Like I said, this Quiksilver Pro deal is getting worse all the time…. But, maybe this decision by the City is justified.

Contrary to an article I wrote the other day (see – Editorial: Soaking in the Quiksilver Pro (sans festival) Disappointment), I’m going to give you the other viewpoint: Why the festivals got cancelled and why we have to learn how to deal and accept.

Here is the City’s official statement (source – QUIKSILVER PRO NEW YORK SURF CONTEST WILL RUN). The stuff I want to talk about is highlighted in red:

August 30, 2011 – Quiksilver is working closely with the City of Long Beach to preserve the heart of the professional surf contest scheduled to start on Sunday, September 4 in light of the impact of Hurricane Irene and concerns for the Long Beach community, which suffered significant damage from the storm.  The Quiksilver Pro is scheduled to start its 11-day “holding period” on Monday, September 5. The Quiksilver Pro Trials presented by Unsound Surf will run on Sunday, September 4. The situation has been changing daily, and we recognize that City resources are focused on hurricane restoration and clean up as first priority. In that context, the festival and music components of the event are no longer achievable.  The Quiksilver Pro NY is first and foremost about the surf contest and Long Beach has an incredible surfing tradition and spirit.  We are committed to holding the ASP tour event at Long Beach so that together we can promote the sport by bringing together the best surfers in the world to this terrific community.

Lets face the facts: Hurricane (or Tropical Storm) Irene happend and hit us hard. Maybe your place is fine, but many folks in Long Beach suffered severe damage, flooding & loss of electricity. Many are just getting their electric back now. The city needs to focus all of its resources (fire/police/security/maintenance etc.) on helping these residents (our neighbors) get back to a normal life. My house suffered no damage, so I feel kinda crappy complaining I won’t get to see The Flaming Lips, while my neighbors are still pumping water out of their houses. The City is telling us: Let’s keep the crowds down and give our residents a break. They suffered enough. My words, not theres, but I am sure that’s what they’re thinking.

Am I still disappointed? Sure, I’m allowed to be, but emergencies come first. All we can do now is wish for good waves and a smooth successful event.

Let these photos taken by Jerry Otero remind you of the devastation that Long Beach suffered:




The German Metal Queen’s Long Beach house, Destroyed by Hurricane Irene.

My friend, who is really into Heavy Metal, sent me this one: Doro Pesch, who is known as the German Metal Queen, had her Long Beach house destroyed during Hurricane Irene. That sucks. I wish her luck getting it rebuilt. From the article, Doro states:

“I stayed in New York City for the next ten years. It just got to be too expensive to live in Manhattan, so I moved to Long Beach, Long Island. It’s a nice community here and I’m not that far from the city. I have no complaints.”

You can read the full story here: Blabbermouth.net: DORO PESCH’s House In Long Beach, New York Destroyed By Tropical Storm Irene – Sep. 1, 2011.

Doro, if you are still out here in Long Beach, please say hi. Maybe you can write a Heavy Metal theme song for the blog!!

Long Beach has hit THE NEW YORKER

The September 5th issue of The New Yorker has an outdated article on our wonderful city of Long Beach, local surfer – Balaram Stack & the Quiksilver Pro (The New Yorker – AT THE SHORE, LOCAL HERO by William Finneganr.)

I say “outdated” because it was written pre-Hurricane Irene, so the festivals, Flaming Lips and skateboarding are mentioned, but that’s neither the magazines nor the authors fault; it’s just the way of printed life. Perhaps a ‘correction’ blurb in their next issue will mention the new Hurricane Aftermath-Event?

The article mostly talks about local surfer Balaram Stack, as it should since it’s rare for surf pros to hail from the northeast. The writer gives us an inside look at Balaram’s life around town – such as helping kids learn how to surf, then signing autographs when the lesson is over. Good stuff. Balaram is, after all, our local celebrity.

In typical The New Yorker fashion, they take a snobby shot at Long Beach by saying it’s a retirement community and the likes of Hoffmann Manor “set the oceanfront tone.”  I know how this magazine works, since we’re subscribers at my household. The New Yorker being pretentious is normal behavior; this comment was meant to make the Brooklyn & Manhattanites feel more superior and secure about themselves- since Long Beach is in neither. (BOOM, there goes my slight, snobby comment back atcha).  I lived in the city for a long time. I know all about their ‘center of the universe’ syndrome. Don’t get me wrong, I loved living there, but Long Beach is very special and untouchable as far as I’m concern. I’ll defend it as much as I can. Besides, who doesn’t like old people?

Anyways, it’s pretty significate to be in The New Yorker since it’s a prestigious magazine that’s well written and read worldwide. It’s a great mention for those who are dying to get Long Beach on ‘the map.’ By doing a search for LONG BEACH on The New Yorker website, this is the only Long Beach-related article that shows up. Let’s enjoy the publicity while we can.

If you’re an avid New Yorker reader, chances are you already subscribe and have this issue. For everybody else, you can’t read the article online, unless you want to pay a fee. (Link: The New Yorker – AT THE SHORE, LOCAL HERO). Otherwise, you can find it on newsstands now. It’s a weekly magazine, so just look for the September 5th issue.The article is short, so make sure you flip though the magazine first and check it out before you pay for it.