OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Superstorm Sandy changed thousands of people’s lives, but it also changed many communities in ways they are only now starting to realize.
As CBS 2’s Don Dahler reported Monday, one Long Island town will never be the same.
Back in August, Middle Bay Golf Club was hosting the Blind Golfers’ championship. But after the hurricane, everything was altered – permanently.
“The water came over the bulkhead, probably 6 or 7 feet high, and just covered the entire golf course, and just caused so much devastation that we couldn’t rebuild,” said member Steve Cohen.
The golf club that has been a fixture of Oceanside for eight decades is now closed.
Considering the fact that so many people lost their homes as a result of Sandy, it would be easy to look at this story and say, “Well, so what? So some rich guys have to find a new place to play golf.”
But the death of such a place as Middle Bay impacts the whole community.
Cohen has been a member of the club for 21 years, and was one of the people who tried in vain to keep the club alive.
“It’s really about saving the jobs of 130 people, during the height of the season. It’s about the $2.5 million operating budget that we have, most of which gets infused into the local communities. And it’s about the $100,000 or so every summer that our membership raises for local charities,” Cohen said. “That’s all gone.”
For 57 years, Gary Grossman attended weddings, charity outings, and bar mitzvahs at the golf club, including that of his oldest son.
“We’re just sick about it,” Grossman said. “It was a very important part of our lives.”
Long-time employees now find themselves cast adrift.
“I lost my job, and I lost a family here,” said Susan Barnathan. “I’m here 17 years. It just wasn’t a job. It was a family.”
“Right now, I’m currently on a visa program,” said club food and beverage manager Rakesh Sarkar. “Right now, I don’t have a job, so I have to find a job in two or three months to stay in the United States. If nothing happens, I have to go back.”
The friends said their goodbyes as they headed off to uncertain futures. For the members, there are other golf courses, but they are not Middle Bay.
The Oceanside High School golf team will now have to find a new place to play. Middle Bay allowed them to practice and play tournaments there for free.
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