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MANTOLOKING: The Long Road Back After Sandy

The exclusive community was hit especially hard by the superstorm, and much of the town remains in disrepair

The houses always seemed so detached from everywhere else, set back against the Mantoloking beach and away from Route 35, close but distant in spirit.

The thousands of tourists who pass by them each day, during the summer, could barely see anything beyond the giant bushes that stand between them and the front door.

Over the past month, however, and since Hurricane Sandy hit, those same houses have become a bit too visible, while Route 35 has virtually disappeared.

Few towns were hit as hard, or harder, than Mantoloking, and its adjacent towns. Few have been able to get as close as Jeff Childers did, photographing a community where fires burned long after the winds of the storm died down.

Now, the people will try to pick up the broken pieces of a community that always seemed too distant from tragedies like this.

Over the past month, some of those exclusive houses have been in the water. Or they were smashed, boarded-up and tilted on their sides. Some debris of a demolished house even ended up on the Mantoloking Bridge.

A new inlet even formed where the Atlantic Ocean breached into the Barnegat Bay, leaving a sliver of a sandbar in between the two.

Route 35, meanwhile, has looked like it did in the 19th century, with sand covering it from side to side.

Here are some of the photos that Jeff Childers, a local land agent, took of the devastation.

Cat November 23, 2012 at 02:01 PM
FEMA has been doing an an outstanding job. My neighbors who were hit hard received prompt help from FEMA.
green November 23, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Barney, you're confused. Rick Santorium is the one who hates educated people. Remember when he called Obama an elitist snob for saying he wants every student to graduate “college and career ready" from High School.
B N November 23, 2012 at 02:19 PM
@craig really and what did any party get from Seaside?
barbara November 23, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Well said, Jennifer. A home is a home whether it's a one-room studio or a million dollar mansion. There's enough back-biting and nastiness in the world! Count yourself lucky and blessed if you still have a warm place to live.
Barney November 23, 2012 at 02:34 PM
"green", how fitting of a name for a money mooching LIBBY. The 99% vote for Obama from Asbury... education you say?
Lauren November 23, 2012 at 02:51 PM
I agree with Jennifer. Everyone who lost something in this disaster most likely worked very hard for what they had. To see that taken away is absolutely devastating. I lost my summer home and my family is heartbroken. I feel awful for everyone that lost something. This is not a political article. Take a moment and think about everything that these people lost.
Ken November 23, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Some people can no afford a first home and we are supposed to feel bad for people who lost their second home? A lot of people work very hard, but still can not afford to buy their own home, especially in this state.
heather magee November 23, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I'm sorry but you have a house, on a beach, facing the ocean! Why wouldn't you protect it?
suz November 23, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Oh my goodness...I am a bit sadden by the "wealthy" comments here. Who cares if someone had a million dollar home and lost it! It was still their home. I say God bless them if they could afford a mansion. Stop the jealousy.
localh November 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Those on the beach front don't care about you....they don't even want you on the beaches behind them. So why should anyone care about them?
localh November 23, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Those on the beach front don't care about you...they don't even want you on the beaches behind them. So why should anyone care about them.
Just Watching November 24, 2012 at 02:06 AM
When the school tax portion of your property tax bill increases substantially because of the lost revenue from those beach homes, you'll be concerned!
Mary E Rowlands November 24, 2012 at 03:21 AM
This article was well written. Those homes did seem immune to the "sands of time?!" Did they not? But don't lose any sleep about those people on the beach there. After all if anyone has been paying attention one can see a difference in the landscape and the architecture over the course of time. Many of the homes are not the original ones. Many have been torn down and another has been rebuilt there over the years, I'd never paid much attention to the weathered clapboard houses except to know these people had cottages not shantys. But about 10 years ago all of a sudden one of my favorites was gone! I mean gone! No storm no nothing It had simply been replaced with some lesser inhabitant. But that's life. Not static.
Elaine November 24, 2012 at 03:38 AM
suz, This has nothing to do with jealousy. I can't feel sorry for those who live on or close to any body of water/beach and decides not to protect their house. They should it is their investment. If they choose not to, it is no ones fault but their own. There is two reason why a lot of people on the East coast took a chance. 1) They did not want to believe they could be wiped out by a storm. 2) Were to cheap to pay for some type of policy. Many reaped benefits year after year renting out their beach houses. It is called greed. People get greedy and it will always get the best of them in the end. Like "localh" said, Those on the beaches don't care about you...they don't even want you on the beaches behind them. So why should anyone care about them. I am sick of paying for others, all the peons pay for all the "wealthy" scams that they have going on and the reason why most become "wealthy, they are no better than the other end the "wealthy" complain about.
Daniel Nee (Editor) November 24, 2012 at 03:40 AM
There's also the free market at work. Modest homes purchased at "normal" prices suddenly became million dollar homes over the past decade.
Missing Brick November 24, 2012 at 07:48 AM
The price of the home does not factor in. Only the income level of the applicant, the fact that it is a primary residence and the amount of damage to the home. (If it lies within the zone designated as disaster area.) It is un-informed inflammatory statements like this one above that probably kept you out of such a home that you seem to envy.
Missing Brick November 24, 2012 at 07:55 AM
It isn't that simple. I am not on the ocean, but am on the bay and for 35 years water has never come this high. Our bulkhead (one part of the usual protections) has prevented every previous flood that mother nature threw out as, including several hurricanes, but when nearly 15' of water comes in a swell, nothing you can do will protect it. Hundreds of people were in the same position that day and I'm sure every avenue to protect our homes will be explored, yet there are no guarantees and matters of practical budget too.
Elaine November 24, 2012 at 08:37 PM
BN, I could be wrong. I think craig's point was all the money the state receives from the tourist who go to all the business establishments that collect all the taxes and sends it to the state. The politicians are all over that money. They don't want or can afford to lose all that money. So the politicians will say and do anything in their power. Don't you think?
ReallY? November 24, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Just Watching? What is that supposed to mean? The school portions of property tax and lost revenue? From Whom? Mantoloking? They have no schools and the few kids that they have and does attend the public school system, I am almost sure goes to the Point Beach School System. I thought this is one town that they don't go by assessed values attached to the school portion of the tax bill. Well ,the schools or towns are going to have to give out pink slips. Stop feeding the beast and keep what is truly needed. Basically get rid of the waste or the state needs to come up with another way or plan to support the schools other than just real estate taxes. It should have been changed years ago anyway. None of these towns will survive on only receiving half the revenue of any town the NJ way.
Lauren November 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Shack or mansion, main residence or summer place......it's still someone's home. How would you all feel? Stop being nasty and negative.
Nick Carraway November 25, 2012 at 05:09 AM
I am truly saddened to see the devastation that resulted in Mantoloking, along with photos of the devastation caused throughout the area as result of Sandy. This was the worst storm to hit New Jersey, in the history of New Jersey. The water came in higher than it ever did before. How can you prepare for what you don't know or can expect? For those who lack the ability to commensurate with those who suffered losses in Mantoloking, ask yourself how you would feel if you knew that you're property might've been damaged but were even denied the right to see the damage for yourself. That was what happened in areas like Mantoloking, Ortley Beach and other Jersey Shore areas...the towns were deemed unsafe for the people to return for a period of time after the storm. Some of these homes may have been second homes, but others were primary residences. All of these homes held memories for someone, and now those homes are gone. Imagine what it must feel like to own a property worth $1 million one day, and then virtually nothing the next. For those who suffered as result of Sandy, know that there are those who support you.
S Talarico November 25, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I can feel bad for folks who lost their vacation homes. But, I still don't think that federal flood insurance (my tax dollars) should be used for them to rebuild those houses.
WMS826 November 25, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Why is this my problem to pay for some hedge fund managers summer vacation. They bought homes that were not insurable for way more money thanthey were worth. Yea they were getting millions for these homes, but if a storm comes and wipes it away and you get nothing or only 250k, then you paid too much. Merge mantoloking with Brick or Bay Head, enough all ready, I am not ready to do this again in 3 years for the next 500 year storm.
Lov2swim November 26, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Not everyone needs a 2nd home, they earned it, they get it.... so now you want all people who worked hard and have a second home to give it up for you??? typical Libby..you folks want everything for nothing!!! You think everyone owes you a living, a house.... My friend lives in Point Pleasant, on a Lagoon, and her only home and Fema turned her down...she lost all her contents in her whole first floor, garage and shed. Plus all her fish died in her pond. Where is the fairness in that?
Lov2swim November 26, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I agree Suz...makes me sick to hear people complaine about this!
Lov2swim November 26, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Nick, Well said!!
Colleen rogan November 26, 2012 at 08:55 PM
The tourist season supports the entire state and a lot of the homes are rented by the same families each summer and are as impacted as the "owners". When we "only rented" the house felt like ours and we loved being part of the wonderful shore community each summer. This tragedy goes beyond who is listed on the deed to a house.
STEVEN DOMINICK November 27, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Stop it, You know want you people sound like , give people a break. everybody lost something, Because they make more money then us, big deal.get a life, try being nice, it really works. , tough times have a heart please...
STEVEN DOMINICK November 27, 2012 at 06:54 PM
thank you
SadNJGirl February 20, 2013 at 01:03 AM
If you people used 1/2 the energy helping that you do criticizing and passing judgement, we would be in a better place. It shouldn't matter if it was Mantoloking or Union Beach or Seaside. It's my HOME STATE. I'm heartbroken for all and wish I could do more. If you don't have anything nice to say....BE QUIET.

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