Line in the sand: City kicking out New Dorp Beach volunteers

Posted at 8:04 PM, Apr 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-23 20:04:08-04

NEW DORP BEACH, Staten Island (PIX11) —  It’s been nearly six months since super storm Sandy ravaged New Dorp Beach. There are some signs of life, but it will take much time to completely recover.

Donna Graziano and her Cedar Groves Angles are trying to speed up the process. “This has been here over 150 days,” said the Brooklyn resident as she provided a tour of the tent city.

What may appear as an eye sore for some has actually been a salvation for many more in Sandy’s aftermath.

Domenick Camerada  is a father of four boys.  While he tries to rebuild, his wife works. They lost nearly everything. When President Obama toured the area in the days following the storm, Camerada was one of the few that spoke directly with the President.

PIX11 News caught up with him while picking up donated trash cans. Every little bit helps. “What Donna does for the community is she gives us that little cushion so that we don’t have to buy paper towels and toilet paper and hot foods for the kids,” said Camerada.

Now Graziano and others are saying that the city is forcing them out.  In fact, they have to be out in less than a month.  Nicole Chati, a Sandy survivor, was there when city officials came knocking with a mandate.

Chati said she was told she needs to be off the property in three weeks so the city can beautify the beaches for Memorial Day Weekend. Chati quickly asked, “So you’re going to make the beaches beautiful, and just pan behind me if you like, and all these people including myself have no home to live in.”

PIX 11 News reached out to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. A spokeswoman attributed the ouster to a recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey that found the beach needed to be restored and dunes created to a five year still level.

The city is now implementing it saying via an email statement, “This work is being performed both in anticipation of the upcoming summer season, as well as to provide temporary emergency protective measures for the adjacent upland communities.”

Residents who lost their homes and are trying to rebuild are not anticipating the upcoming summer season at the beach — primarily at one they say has been neglected for years.

“Well I would like to go to the beach but you know, I’ve never really gone to this beach because the city has never really cleaned this beach and kept it up,” said Allison Galdorisi, whose family lost five homes during Sandy.

The Cedar Groves Angels will meet on Thursday night to evaluate their options.

They’re trying to survive this new storm on the horizon.