Nearly 2,000 miles away, Steamboat residents affected by hurricane

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— Walking the streets of Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, Steamboat Springs resident Jody Corey witnessed firsthand the destructive power of Hurricane Sandy.

Corey, a Queens native who has lived in Steamboat for 11 years, was in New York visiting friends and family. She was supposed to leave Monday, but her flight was canceled Saturday and she now is booked on a flight out of LaGuardia Airport on Friday.

“Who knows if it’s going to be operational,” Corey said by telephone Tuesday afternoon.

With her flights canceled, she checked out of her hotel Sunday and went to stay with her cousin in an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

“I decided to get to a place so I could ride out the storm there,” Corey said.

With the storm approaching, Corey said, there was a feeling of anxiety, and they stocked up on bottled water, batteries and other supplies. As the storm took aim on New York on Monday, Corey said they were concerned the trees outside the apartment were going to smash the windows.

“Every now and again you would hear a crash, which I guess was trees falling,” Corey said.

They never lost power, so Corey and her cousin Cathy Santora stayed glued to the TV for any updates that might affect them.

“The TV was super scary for me,” Corey said.

She saw her childhood beach destroyed by the storm. She used to work on the same block where a crane had collapsed on a luxury high-rise development.

“If that crane fell, there would be tons of damage,” Corey said.

After staying in the apartment for 36 hours, Corey went out to see the damage Tuesday afternoon.

“There’re just downed trees everywhere,” Corey said.

With no trains or buses running, the city was eerily quiet. The only businesses open were a few neighborhood cafes.

“The streets up here are rather busy,” Corey said. “No one has work clothes on. Everyone had off today.”

Most important, all her friends and family are safe, and she is glad to see her fellow New Yorkers coming together.

“Everyone becomes very friendly and supportive and neighborly in times like this,” Corey said.

About 90 miles south of Manhattan, Steamboat residents Karl and Bonnie Bunker were awaiting news about a beachfront home that has been in their family for generations at Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. They managed to get the windows boarded up, but they have heard of other homes in the area that had been washed off their foundations.

“We have no idea,” Karl Bunker said Tuesday.

The family had flown there Friday for a funeral. Bonnie Bunker and their two kids drove down to Florida with family to escape the storm. As Karl Bunker was leaving Sunday to catch a flight, police were going door-to-door and telling residents to evacuate. During the hurricane, Bunker said, The Weather Channel was broadcasting from the beach in front of their home.

“The most important thing is everybody’s safe,” he said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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