Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach residents devastated by Sandy

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Photo gallery

Debris litters Channel Road in Broad Channel. Photo by Christina Santucci
Debris fills the street and covers a car on Channel Road in Broad Channel. Photo by Christina Santucci
Maria Martinez said she one chicken and two ducks were killed during the storm. She found the rest about six blocks away. Photo by Christina Santucci
Francis Seim adjusts his cap as he looks through belongings in his home at East 10th Raid and Channel Road in Broad Channel. Seim is a member of the Army Reserves and said his uniform was one of the few items of clothing he could salvage. Photo by Christina Santucci
A bungalow off of East 12th Road dangles above the water. Photo by Christina Santucci
A man rides a bicycle past a boat that ended up on Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel. Photo by Christina Santucci
Tom and Ginger Brauner use binoculars to see their summer bungalow off of East 12th Road. The home was still there, but it would be some time before they would be able to survey more closely. The bridge that connects the pier with Broad Channel was destroyed. Photo by Christina Santucci
The roof of the North Channel Yacht Club's shed in Broad Channel. collapsed onto the structure. Photo by Christina Santucci
Francis Seim points to his debris left in front of his house at the intersection of East 10th Raid and Channel Road. Photo by Christina Santucci
"The whole club is destroyed," said Mark Kaminski, a member of the North Channel Yacht Club in Broad Channel. "We have a lot of work ahead of us to rebuild this." Photo by Christina Santucci
Flooding remains at corner of First Street and 104th Street in Hamilton Beach Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Christina Santucci
A boat rests in front of a home on Cross Bay Boulevard. Photo by Christina Santucci
The backyard of a home on 165th Avenue in Hamilton Beach is flooded. Photo by Christina Santucci
Hamilton Beach resident Phillip Lynch shows the water level during the height of the surge. "I'm down here 73 years and I've never seen it this bad," he said. Photo by Christina Santucci
Vehicles navigate around debris, including a large boat, while driving northbound on Cross Bay Boulevard. Photo by Christina Santucci
A relative of Francis Seim walks through Seim's home in Broad Channel. Photo by Christina Santucci
A deck sits on the sidewalk of East 10th Road after floating down the street during the storm surge. Photo by Christina Santucci
Debris litters Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel. Photo by Christina Santucci
Remnants of a bridge that connected East 12th Road in Broad Channel with several homes built on stilts and a pier in the Jamaica Bay. Photo by Christina Santucci
West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department's Deputy Chief Daniel Amorim said the organization's only surviving vehicle is an ambulance. Photo by Christina Santucci
A piece of a wooden bridge that connected homes off East 12th Road in Broad Channel with the island is strewn across backyards. Photo by Christina Santucci

Many residents of Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach have lost everything as a result of superstorm Sandy.

Francis Seim braved the storm in a neighbor’s home in Broad Channel, while his family spent the night in Rockaway. He headed to his house on 10th Road at about 3 a.m. Tuesday and found a neighbor’s deck in the street in front of his home and everything inside ruined.

“I was devastated. I have really nowhere to live. My wife, my son, I don’t know where we are going after this,” Seim said, as he picked through water-soaked belongings Tuesday afternoon before he planned to bring supplies to his relatives in Rockaway.

Several blocks away, Ginger and Tom Brauner marveled at the debris, which included most of a wooden bridge that connected the island with several bungalows on stilts, one of which they own.

“It’s like a bomb went off,” said Ginger Brauner, who traveled to Broad Channel from Long Island to check on her summer home. Her home, which was originally built in 1904, is only accessible by the wooden bridge on East 12th Road. Most of it was strewn across several backyards.

The Brauners’ home was still standing, albeit with damage to the deck and exterior. However, half of another bungalow hung precariously above the water. The rest had fallen off into Jamaica Bay, residents said.

Debris and remnants of flooding were visible on nearly every block in Broad Channel, and a powerful stench of gasoline and home heating oil permeated the air. On Channel Road, the North Channel Yacht Club’s shed collapsed into the street, which was impassable by car because of the debris. Among items on the ground were a bottle of whiskey and a dead cat.

Large boats had floated into Cross Bay Boulevard, the fronts of homes and backyards.

In Hamilton Beach, a neighborhood of Howard Beach, residents estimated that the water surged between six and 10 feet.

Christine Kilkenny said she called the cell phone of a West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department to rescue her after water filled her entire first floor. Responders told her they weren’t able to get to her because they themselves were trapped in the firehouse with six feet of water outside.

Kilkenny said her home had been affected during Tropical Storm Irene, but this storm was much worse.

“This year I really lost everything,” she said.

West Hamilton Beach’s Deputy Chief Daniel Amorim said all of the firehouse’s vehicles were destroyed in the storm, except for one ambulance. In addition, the personal cars of many of the volunteers were wrecked after they parked them in the Walbaum’s lot in Howard Beach, which was flooded.

Amorim and fellow volunteers were surveying the damage Tuesday afternoon as about a dozen FEMA workers from Massachusetts walked along 104th Street.

Maria Martinez, whose house looks out onto Jamaica Bay, pointed out that her deck had shifted in the storm and piles of debris filled her yard. In addition, one chicken and two ducks had died.

She said she found the remaining members of her flock six blocks away.

Reach photo editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4589.

Updated 12:30 pm, November 3, 2012
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Reader feedback

Jason Kolman from Hamilton Beach says:
As a former member of the Hamilton Beach community, my thoughts go out to all of my friends over there and in Broad Channel!
Oct. 31, 2012, 10:12 am
Bart Harte from B.C.N.Y. says:
Although devestaing to see I thank you for shedding some light on these two areas. It seems all the networks were too busy looking for ratings to even ask about Broad Channel or Hamilton beach!Beach People are a sturdy breed & will,with hard work & their faith ,get through this!
Oct. 31, 2012, 3:51 pm
Robert OHare from Broad Channel says:
The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department lost most of their Equipment as well. Go to to learn how you can help. My prayers are with you all.
Oct. 31, 2012, 7:19 pm
Mary M from Florida says:
Many of us have family and friends in Broad Channel and have been concerned by the lack of coverage of the area. We expected the news wouldn't be good and unfortunately you confirmed it. These people need help and little to none has been forthcoming. A good number of the residents are first responders themselves and are always there for their city. Now the city needs to be there for them. Many older residents can't help themselves and their neighbors have more than they can handle. Please help to get them some assistance which they would never ask for themselves.
Oct. 31, 2012, 7:20 pm
A friend from W 11th rd Broad Channel says:
I live in TX but have a very close friend in her late 60's and is in poor health who lives on W 11th rd in Broad Channel. Can anyone tell me how that part of town handled the storm and if she's probably safe? I am worried sick about her and am pretty sure she didn't evacuate for various reasons. The tv doesn't mention Broad Channel but the stories and photos I've googled have really scared me. My heart and prayers are with all of you affected by this horrific storm. Thanks for any info possible about the street and block my friend lives on.

Many Blessings
Oct. 31, 2012, 9:12 pm
Maureen Dady from Broad Channel devastation says:
I live in Massachusettes but have many friends and family who live in Broad Channel and from what I am hearing they are in desperate need of assistance. The focus has been in other areas that have been effected but no focus has been shed on this devastated community. Please bring attention to their needs by bringing this community to the forfront and getting them assistance.
Nov. 1, 2012, 11:08 am
Margaret Smith from Adirondacks says:
We are trying to find out the condition of barb delaney on 30 west 11th Broad Channel, can you let us know?
Nov. 1, 2012, 3:42 pm
mary ellen from south ozone park says:
it looks like a war zone in howard beach,hamilton and many other surrounnding areas, we can all help, outside of joe adabo's office in old howard they are accepting donations, they need clothes, shoes, can goods, blankets, there will be someone there from 10:00 am to 4:00,. if we all chipped in and did a little something WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. i think they are also accepting thing at our lady of grace school yard. every little bit helps
Nov. 2, 2012, 7:27 pm
mary ellen from south ozone park says:
does anybody know where they are accepting donationa in broad channel???
Nov. 2, 2012, 7:28 pm
mary ellen from south ozone park says:
does anybody know where they are accepting donations for broad channel or where we can go to help?
Nov. 2, 2012, 7:29 pm
Katie from Clarksville, MD says:
Take heart! You have native sons (and daughters) here gathering up stuff to bring to you this weekend - food, sleeping bags, household goods, supplies. We are all feeling your pain and wanting to help. Our prayers are with you all!
Nov. 2, 2012, 7:32 pm
Katie from Clarksville, MD says:
Please take heart! You have native sons and daughters who are gathering up stuff to bring to you - food, sleeping bags, towels, supplies, anything we thought you could use. We are feeling your pain and are praying for you. It will take time, but things will get better!
Nov. 2, 2012, 7:35 pm
mary k from broadchannel says:
I am hunting for Barbara Delany who lives in Broad Channel. Can anyone tell me if she is safe
Nov. 3, 2012, 8:35 am
TimesLedger says:
Margaret and Mary Ellen, there were no fatalities in Broad Channnel. However, there is no power so it's very difficult to get in touch with people there. We didn't go down West 11th while there the other day. Most of the streets have large piles of debris and the homes are wrecked by flooding. Hope this a bit helpful. - the TL staff
Nov. 3, 2012, 11:13 am
Allene S. from Somerdale, N.J. says:

We are trying to find out if anyone knows if Barbara Delaney is okay..she lives in Broad Channel..My heart goes out to all that were in Sandys path. Allene
Nov. 4, 2012, 9:51 am
Gary from Colorado says:
Used to live on 163 Road in WHB,and have friends there,in Broad Channel, and Breezy Point. You are all in my thoughts and prayers in this most difficult of times. If anyone knows Marie Persans, let me know how she is.
Nov. 5, 2012, 1:08 pm
btian from howard beach says:
I'm leaving.
Nov. 29, 2012, 10:08 pm

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