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Tight-Knit Staten Islanders Have Nowhere To Go

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Rage boils over on the South Shore, where recovery isn't moving fast enough. “Where are you gonna go? Next door?”

Kathy Trifeletti and Alicia Martinez sit outside of Kay Colt's (standing) house. (All photos by Andrew Gauthier)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Kathy Trifeletti and Alicia Martinez sat in the back of a car outside their neighbor Kay Colt's house on Friday, since they couldn't sit inside. The house, like many others in this neighborhood in Staten Island's Midland Beach, is a small bungalow, and it was ravaged by the storm, which flooded the whole first floor up to the ceiling and destroyed most of their belongings.

"It was like a tidal wave," said Trifeletti. She said her brother, who also lives in the neighborhood, had spent ten hours clinging to wooden boards in his attic, waiting for the floodwaters to subside in his house.

Hardly anyone had evacuated. "A lot of the families live close together, so where are you gonna go? Next door?" said Martinez. "We're all in the same boat anyway." Plus, "People who live here they live paycheck to paycheck," said Trifeletti, "and they didn’t want anybody stealing their stuff."

"There's a lot of tragedy around here," Colt said, her clothes covered in the mud that now coats every inch of her house.

Donnie and Kay Colt, outside of their home. Inside, a heart hangs on the wall that reads "Never go to bed mad, stay up and fight!"

Donnie Colt surveys his home. The floors and countertops are covered in mud.


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