Coney Island Devastated By Superstorm Sandy

We report on Sandy's aftermath in Coney Island.

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ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: I'm Zoe Chace in Coney Island, and it's usually one of the most fun parts of New York. Its amusement park is known for two rides in particular: The Cyclone, which is a rollercoaster; and The Wonder Wheel, a giant, old-fashioned Ferris wheel that towers over the beach.

What you hear behind me are pumps still pumping out the park, and looking up at the Wonder Wheel, it's not moving today, the lights aren't on, and I don't think it's going to move again for a very long time.

DENO VOUDERIS: I mean, The Wonder Wheel made it, but wherever's there wood, you see swelling, wherever there's steel, you see rust.

CHACE: Deno Vouderis' sfamily owns about 20 rides down here, and every one is devastated. Sand and mud coat Zorba's Fortune Telling Machine, the bumper cars, all of the video games.

VOUDERIS: This is our scary house.

CHACE: Under the Ferris wheel is a ride called Spookarama. It looks like there was a riot in a haunted house, and the zombies attacked the witches.

VOUDERIS: A lot of them are missing heads. You know, as scary as it is without a head, they were there before.

CHACE: This is just one ride. Nothing works, no tools to fix it, either. What happened to the Spookarama is exactly what happened to the houses of people who live here near the Boardwalk. Next to the amusement park is a FEMA truck. Kim Benson is waiting to apply for disaster relief.

KIM BENSON: I still have my bed and my couch.

CHACE: But the bed was covered by a few feet of water during the storm, which means it's now covered in sewage.

BENSON: It has cushions where I can sleep.

CHACE: Oh my gosh, you're sleeping on cushions in raw sewage?

BENSON: Yes, yes.

CHACE: That's not OK.

BENSON: I know it's not OK. That's what I have left. That's what I have left.

CHACE: She's planning to apply to disaster relief along with scores of people lined up here. Here in Coney Island, if you look up, everything looks normal. You can still see the Wonder Wheel standing over us. But when you look down, everything is caked in sand. It's hard to imagine if these rides are ever going to move again or how long it's going to take the lives of the people here to get back to normal.

Zoe Chace, NPR News, Coney Island.



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