Nightly News   |  April 28, 2013

Major work remains six months after Sandy

In Seaside Heights, N.J., progress comes slowly in areas Hurricane Sandy hit hardest, NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> here in the northeast, it was six months ago tomorrow that hurricane sandy swept through the region. since the storm more than half million people have registered for assistance from the federal government . nbc's stephanie gosk is in seaside heights on the jersey shore tonight with an update for us. stephanie .

>> reporter: good evening, lester. i'm standing in the middle of what will be the new boardwalk for seaside heights . mayor tells us that it will be ready an open before memorial day but that can't be said for the rest of the jersey shore where progress is definitely mixed. there are homes along the jersey shore that look like they haven't been touched since sandy hit. a beach house swept into the bay by the storm still sits there. last november, we saw homeowners making an emotional return to the beach.

>> it is devastating. devastating. i don't know what else to say.

>> reporter: today, there was virtually no one there and it looked exactly the same. lack of money and battles with insurance companies are slowing down the recovery.

>> there was a fence here --

>> reporter: ruth, a full-time resident, lives a little further south where work is being done, but it is slow going.

>> at first everybody was yeah, yeah, rebuild. but i think now everybody's just tired. we're just exhausted.

>> reporter: but on a warm sunday in april, there is a hint of what summer normally promises, and some brisk business at bakin' bagels, reopened just a couple of weeks ago. you guys make a good bagel?

>> a great bagel!

>> reporter: carol barr is one of the tens of thousands of people in new jersey and new york who are still displaced. her house destroyed, she's renting the apartment above the shop.

>> 98% of my street, the houses are gutted. we're not doing anything yet. very sad.

>> reporter: after almost complete devastation, progress is measured one board at a time, especially in seaside heights .

>> so many people depend on this boardwalk.

>> reporter: for the mayor, rebuilding the boardwalk quickly wasn't just good business.

>> we're putting this pga together again for all the people that have been here, have all those wonderful memories of coming here and all those new memories that are going to be formed.

>> reporter: restore the shore is a mantra heard everywhere. scott designed the t-shirts donating $500,000 from his sales to help rebuild.

>> nobody's just going to give up now. we see the challenge but they're getting through it and we'll be open for the summer.

>> reporter: the roller coaster here at seaside heights has been a symbol of sandy's destruction from the very beginning. but when the weather conditions are right, construction workers are going to tear it down and cart it out of here. right now it is a health hazard and the priority is getting this beach open for the summer. lester?

>> stephanie gosk on the jersey shore . stephanie , we want to remind folks, brian williams will have much more on sandy six months later tomorrow right here on "nbc nightly news."