Conditions Still Bad in Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach, Most Restaurants Closed
Over in adjacent Brighton Beach, the post-Soviet enclave in the middle of the island called Coney, things were also bad, but in a different sort of way. Power was still out in much of the neighborhood, but it was on in other parts in a strange mosaic. There were restaurants open, but also lots still closed. KeBeer had a sign in the window promising to be open soon, and the Uighur restaurant Café Kashkar had reopened already.
Of course, the Russian cafés along the boardwalk were extensively damaged, but work was proceeding. The boardwalk itself was in fairly good shape, though covered with a thick layer of sticky sand, with snow on top of that.
Just by the boardwalk at the tail end of Coney Island Avenue, a Gorilla Cheese truck dispensed toasted-cheese sandwiches made with American cheese free to a block-long line, while National Guardsmen distributed military meals and winter coats to an even longer line. The composition of the line reminded us that the permanent population of the neighborhood, at least near the beach, is mainly aged retirees, and the suffering could be seen in their faces. Flushed from their electricity-free buildings along the boardwalk, many sat disconsolately on mud soaked benches, trying to catch fitful rays of sun.
Above, you're looking at the boardwalk, which now has its own sand dunes. The Rockaways could be seen on the horizon. Below, boardwalk cafés like Tatiana were badly damaged. Below that, a bicyclist suns himself under a sign warning looters.
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