Bayswater, NY - Waterfront Community Reeling After Storm
Bayswater, NY - While so much of the greater New York area is still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, certain areas were particularly hard hit, with catastrophic results.
Bayswater, a tranquil community located on a peninsula northwest of Far Rockaway, was devastated by Monday night’s storm, with parts of the area completely submerged at the height of the hurricane.
“The bay and the ocean met up on most parts of the peninsula,” Elkana Edelman, vice president of the Rockaway Citizens Safety Patrol told VIN News. “Many people, especially those who live on the bay have had major flooding and mold is going to be a huge problem.”
The Agudah of Bayswater, located approximately one third of a mile from the bay, has been totally destroyed by the storm. The shul, which is located lower than street level had recently undergone renovations.
“They were under eight feet of water at one point in time,” said Edelman. “Now that the water has receded they are only under about four to six feet of water. Thankfully all the Sifrei Torah were removed before the storm, but while the shell of the building is still intact, the building will need to be gutted completely.”
According to Edelman all the Sifrei Torah in Bayswater had been evacuated except one that was located in a small basement shul and was later pulled from its Aron Kodesh as it floated down the street during the storm.
“It was the only Sefer Torah here that didn’t make it,” said Edelman. “We pulled it out of the Aron Kodesh but it was ruined.”
The RCSP was out in force during the storm and according to Edelman they saved several lives during the height of the hurricane.
“I pulled one guy out of a car that was stuck in waist high water,” reported Edelman. “He couldn’t get the door open and he was trapped in his car. “Our patrol saved ten police officers that night. Their vehicle was submerged almost to the roof and they couldn’t swim because they were weighted down with gear. We got them all out and one was rushed to Jamaica Hospital.”
Residents are hoping that electricity may be restored in approximately one week and with the exception of Norton Drive, located just opposite the bay which still floods at high tide, most streets are no longer submerged. Meanwhile, local business such as Brach’s and Jerry Bloom Caterers have been supplying the community with food and the Jewish Community Center of the Rockaway Peninsula has been operating a food pantry out of the Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater, which will be open today from 11 AM to 4 PM, distributing essentials including milk, bread, dry goods and juice.
One of the biggest issues facing evacuated communities post-Sandy has been crime and looting and according to Edelman nearby areas have been particularly affected.
“All around us it is like a war zone, like living in Lebanon,” said Edelman. “The entire 100th precinct is completely non-operational and police are responding only to life or death emergency situations. Thankfully, we have had no looting because of our patrols and had only two robberies at one point when we had no shifts operating. We have been policing here 24/7 with ten guys per shift. We have full radio capabilities and Shomrim from Williamsburg gave us backup units. As a multi-ethnic patrol, we expect to be fully covered over Shabbos as well.”
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