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Letter: On the Beach, Reminders of the Hurricane

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Hurricane Sandy in all her wrath blew down just a few of my trees at home and left my family without gas and power for a while but clearly we got off easy, others not so lucky.  At my office in Port Washington the same can be said: no one hurt and just the inconvenience of no power and minimal fuel.

As I drive in to my office along West Shore Road, I pass on a daily basis North Hempstead Beach Park formally known to us old timers as Bar Beach.  Bar Beach lies along the coast of Hempstead Harbor. During the winter months Bar beach parking lots are usually vacant. This year however, Bar Beach lots were filled with the cuttings of trees ripped down by Sandy’s powerful forces.  Every passing day since Sandy’s arrival the parking lots filled with stumps, limbs, branches and other tree cuttings.

I know this sounds kind of crazy but it was interesting to see the grave yard of wood slowly eaten by the teeth of chain saws, and jaws of the wood chippers.  As I passed Bar Beach daily there was always the faint smell of cut wood. Now more than ever the freshly cut wood smell garnishes the air.

Six months after the storm, the parking lots are now filled with piles of the mulching wood chips.  There are bulldozers moving the mulch into large piles ready for the mulch to be moved.  The bacterium causing the decomposing of the organic wood generates heat, steam and other gases that rise out of the mulch piles as the bulldozers do their work.

Last week on an overcast day with my camera burning a hole in the back seat of my car, I passed the parking lots where I saw the rising steam coming from the mulch mounds. I had the overwhelming urge to shoot the scene. The photograph here provides  a visual image of the mulch mounds at Bar Beach, a constant reminder of the remnants of Sandy.

Keith Kowalsky, Design Engineer