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In Sandy's wake, can Jersey Shore be saved?

8:15 AM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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BRIGANTINE, N.J. -- After nearly 80 years, Superstorm Sandy may have finally brought last call to the Rod & Reel.

A working man's tavern in this quiet island just north of Atlantic City, The Rod opened soon after the repeal of Prohibition - the original liquor license dates to 1936. It has survived countless hurricanes as well as gentrification and a down economy.

HOW TO DONATE TO OPERATION SANDY RELIEF

But Sandy's flooding, which brought 2 feet of water into the old brick building early Tuesday, may have been too much for old place, whose ancient wiring and construction will almost certainly keep it shuttered until the building's owner rebuilds. He may have to raze the structure to save it.

"It looks like there's no amount of cleaning and minor repairs that's going to get anything done," said Tom Devine, 50, whose home next door also flooded, as did many in this bedroom community. "It's suffered a few storms, but this may be the one that's the end."

Up and down New Jersey's storied shore, the scene of summer fun for generations of Easterners is now a tangle of wet, splintered wood, seawater, sand and debris. It's a region that claims rocker Bruce Springsteen as a native son - and of more recent fame, "Snooki" and the cast of MTV's Jersey Shore.

New Jersey's blunt-speaking Republican Gov. Chris Christie says as much as he loves it, the iconic Jersey Shore of his own childhood may be a thing of the past. Christie looked over the damage with President Obama on Wednesday, a day after he had looked without success for a Seaside Heights sandwich-and-lemonade stand he has known for decades.

"Gone," he concluded, noting his own disappointment will be widely shared by residents and regulars.

"There's a certain pride the citizens here have about not only each other, but about these places in our state," Christie said. "They love the idea of walking on the boardwalk in Wildwood or Ocean City or Seaside Heights or Point Pleasant with their children, the way their parents walked with them."

Although Christie and many other New Jersey veterans spoke of rebuilding, the decision will not be a simple one for many people who have seen their nest eggs or livelihoods swept away. Some said they will be back; others weren't sure.

Farther north of Atlantic City at Seaside Heights, where recovery workers in rubber boots checked storm-battered houses for residents, bodies and structural damage, those calculations were being made, building by building.

USA Today

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