By Anessa V. Cohen
Well, the mountains of garbage from basements and first floors along nearly every curb in town are shrinking. We are left with fighting with the insurance companies, FEMA, and other sources to get funding to put our homes back together again, and to replace lost cars, damaged rooms, and furniture.
So what else has living through this storm and its aftermath taught us? I think besides all the misery we have lived through these last three weeks—no electric, no heat, no hot water, no telephone service, long gas lines, etc.—there is one super positive thing that stands out high at the top as our most crowning achievement—the resilience and unique character of those living in our community! When time dulls the memory of the suffering many of us experienced as a result of this storm and the bizarre flooding it caused, the one memory that will always keep shining was how all the people in this community stood up to help themselves and each other. I should also add that we were so very blessed by masses of volunteers that came from other communities to help us—at all hours of the day and night! It was not unusual to see volunteers pumping out someone’s crawlspace or basement for free at midnight or even one or two in the morning. Or to have volunteers coming to help flood victims with cleanups in their homes—many of those volunteers were themselves flood victims who had suffered great damage as well. The dedication of the exceptionally wonderful volunteers both from our community and from other communities coming to support us will remain our shining badge of honor.
We have also, I believe, become sensitive to a new awareness of friends and neighbors around us. Although we may have been friendly with many of them prior to the storm, our experiences of surviving this flood have been more successful due to all of us working together, supporting each other emotionally as well as physically, and especially in sharing information and knowledge with each other and spreading it around so everyone in our community can benefit. Helping each other has also lifted each of us that much higher and made us all come through this ordeal better and stronger than before.
With that said, many people have started asking me what my thoughts are for how this disaster will affect sales and values of real estate in our community at this time. Experience in the marketplace after dealing with a disaster of this magnitude which was virtually unknown in this community (and I hope will now be again unknown in the future) is new territory for all of us, even for the most seasoned real estate broker. But in thinking about it at length, the one constant always stands out when I consider how this storm will affect the real estate values of the neighborhood—this neighborhood has always been in high demand because of its special nature and uniqueness. I believe that this storm brought out the special nature of its people more than threefold from what it was, and that this strength and togetherness will make our community even more desirable and special in the future than it already was previous to the storm.
Who would not want to live in a community where everyone counts and everyone is counted when the need arises. We set an example by showing during this disaster the kind of community we have here and that is worth its weight in gold—and I believe that holds true for our real estate as well. v
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa.cohen@AVCrealty.com.