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After Sandy, the Jersey Shore Slowly Rebuilds: A Photo Essay

One year later after Superstorm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore head-on, people are still trying to pick up the pieces. Seventy-one people in New Jersey died because of the storm, thousands lost their homes or were flooded out, and the region’s landscape was forever altered.

Most people outside of the Jersey Shore only know about the area based on the MTV reality show of the same name. Snooki and the gang lived in Seaside Heights, a destination for its many bars and one-of-a-kind amusement park. After Sandy, the Casino Pier amusement park became a symbol of the storm’s wrath, as people were amazed to see its roller coaster floating in the ocean as the rest of the pier was chewed away.

There’s no doubt that the state’s $40 billion dollar tourism industry has suffered in the year since Sandy. A poll in September showed that 40 percent of beach-goers spent less time at the Shore than usual, based on a perception that the entire coast was swept away.

In remembrance of the storm’s aftermath, Gov. Chris Christie is making the rounds today to visit a few hard-hit areas, including the tiny fishing town Union Beach. Located on the coast’s Bayshore region, it sustained immense damage and still struggles to rebuild. A “Light the Shore” vigil is also planned for 7:45 p.m. along the New Jersey and New York coasts, where people will hold flashlights up for 15 minutes to honor the victims. Click on to see images of the Jersey Shore, one year after Sandy.

Seaside Heights

Thanks to a rarely updated version of Bing Maps, viewers are able to see a before and after shot of Sandy’s damage to the Jersey Shore. In the Google Maps screenshot (bottom), notice that the Seaside Heights roller coaster is still in the ocean. After, the pier holding it up was swept away.

Funtown Pier

Looking south from Seaside Heights toward Seaside Park's Funtown Pier, shards of the boardwalk remain after a fire decimated much of the pier in a September fire. In a cruel twist of fate, even though Funtown Pier survived Sandy, the blaze was blamed on electrical damage suffered during Sandy's flooding.

No More Roller Coaster

The amusement park's iconic roller coaster was situated at the very end of the pier.

Cleanup Continues

Crews are still cleaning out debris from the pier.

Some Fun to Be Had

Piles of sand dot the beach. Most of the boardwalk's businesses and games remain intact and open, selling taffy, fried Oreos, and various prizes.

What Remains

Mounds of what seems to be sand and ash make up what used to be Funtown Pier.

Union Beach

About an hour's drive north from Seaside Park, the little town of Union Beach sits on the Raritan Bay, in view of the New York City skyline. Much of the town was devastated by Sandy, as illustrated by this before and after shot.

Front Street

Many of the businesses along Front Street, the town's main drag, have been demolished because of Sandy.

"U.B. Strong"

The town's motto has become "U.B. Strong." The Verrazano Bridge and World Trade Center can be seen in the distance.

Land for Sale

Many of the town's residents were displaced because of Sandy. About 200 homes were left uninhabitable. "Land for sale" signs dot the town, with some simply leaving their flooded homes to dry out somewhere else.

Remains

All that remains of this home is an outline of its brick staircase and a parked boat.

“Looters Will Be Shot Once”

This home, with its windows blown out, is up for sale. More than 300 homes were damaged and 400 were flooded by six feet of water or more. At least one home in town still has a stern message written on its garage: “Looters will be shot once.”

Jakeabob's Bay Restaurant

Jakeabob's Bay restaurant was a staple in the small town. It has since been demolished and relocated temporarily. Owner Gigi Liaguno-Dorr collected and restored more than 50 doors from homes destroyed by Sandy. They are now used as walls and tables.

Remembering

Colorful restored doors have their owners' original addresses painted on them.

The Hope of The Town

Liaguno-Dorr says people like to come in and sit at the table of their old home’s door. “I believe we captured the hope of the town,” she says.

Hope

Tape on a fence along Front Street reads "Hope."

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