Part 5: A storm like none before it

Here’s how to apply for federal aid for Sandy–related damage
Associated Press / Bebeto Matthews

The waters have receded, the downed trees are gone, the crushed cars have been towed, and the power is back on for most — but Brooklynites across the borough are still reeling from the destruction that Hurricane Sandy left behind.

The Oct. 29 super storm pummeled everything in its path, claiming the lives of seven Brooklynites, leaving thousands displaced and homeless, and knocking out power for more than 162,000 borough residents.

Damage to businesses and homes in Brooklyn’s hardest-hit areas, including Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Red Hook, and DUMBO was extensive — and many are still picking up the pieces.

The powerful storm surge crippled the city’s transit system, created a gas shortage that reminded some of the film “Mad Max” and others of the 1973 oil crisis, and left the two-mile long Brooklyn Battery Tunnel flooded from end to end.

As Brooklyn continues to recover from the catastrophic storm, there are still approximately 270 residents without power, many of them in Gerritsen Beach. Storm damage was so severe in some cases that electrical systems must be rebuilt entirely before power can be restored, according to Con Edison.

The storm crushed Coney Island, damaging the Boardwalk, amusements, and even Nathan’s Famous — which will reopen next spring.

The New York Aquarium was underwater, but its marine life escaped largely unharmed. Damage at the Coney Island Hospital was so severe that city health officials say the medical facility won’t be able to take emergency patients for several months.

In Red Hook, Hurricane Sandy crushed the massive Fairway Market at the foot of Van Brunt Street, which remains shuttered, and nearly took the life of the beloved barkeep at Sunny’s Bar.

Residents of Red Hook Houses went more than two weeks without electricity, heat, or hot water — but a team of doctors made volunteer rounds inside the housing project to get residents the care they needed.

After the storm passed, a plethora of big-hearted Brooklynites — from the Occupy Wall Street folks to Bay Ridge rock-and-rollers — got involved in recovery efforts, helping storm-ravaged merchants and residents get back on their feet.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.