Ocean Breeze Residents: The Second The Cameras Leave We'll Be Forgotten

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A river ran through it.

New video of Superstorm Sandy’s march through Staten Island shows the dramatic scene that unfolded on one block in the disaster area.

Now, weeks later, the residents of hard hit Ocean Breeze are sharing their anxieties about the pace of recovery and the continuing interest of the outside world, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported on Friday.

Maria Shirshidz said she didn’t go shopping on Black Friday and isn’t sure where she’s spending Christmas. Her partially gutted home on Staten Island has power only on the upper floor, and a kerosene heater for warmth. The 68-year-old immigrant is still trying to reclaim what the water took away.

We now know what her street looked like the night of the storm.  Video just released by the FDNY shows a constant rushing torrent of water, with firefighters guiding stunned victims to the relative safety of higher ground in conditions that could have taken any one of their lives.

The ocean moved along Seaview Avenue like the pavement was a riverbed. It made a sharp left on Quincy Avenue. The people who were there that night want you to remember.

“It was a river. The water was making this turn going down this block like it did it for a hundred years. It was crazy. It was its path, the path that it took,” resident Cathy McKeon said.

Weeks later, the water is long gone but the damage endures, and so many empty homes. McKeon said she found a ladder propped up against her back window — she believes it was an attempted burglary.

She said she feels increasingly isolated.

“Now it’s been three weeks, about a month? Eventually it’ll pass just like everything else does. Everybody gets forgotten after a while. Out of sight, out of mind,” McKeon said.

The fear is that our incremental progress with the larger disaster will somehow run out of steam before the worst hit get the help they need.

“Once you leave this immediate area, it’s like it never happened,” victim Robert Raymondi said.

But it did happen and the victims of the storm are hoping the rest of us to continue to remember.

Donations and volunteer work historically drop off in the first month after any major disaster. Relief organizers call it “three-week fatigue.”

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