Nightly News   |  October 29, 2013

Breezy Point firefighter: ‘It’ll never be the same’

Breezy Point, a tiny enclave often referred to by New Yorkers as the ‘Irish Riviera,’ is largely populated with New York City firefighters and police officers. NBC’s Brian Williams speaks with resident and firefighter John Nies, who described the area as it was before Superstorm Sandy -- and now.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and back to where we are, breezy point, so name food good reason, a beautiful spot, a tiny enclave of about 100 homes. the new yorkers call this the irish riviera , it was heavily built by irish firefighters and generations. put another way, the names with o go on in the phone book , and a sizeable italian delegation, as well. but a year ago, everything got ruined, some got water, some fire, it was a living hell and for some, homes were lost. and the people here found out what all storm victims eventually learned, from here to katrina, there is no bouncing back in a year. five years is more like it. and not everyone bounces back. after the storm, i met a man named john neese, a local firefighter and builder who met up with us today to talk about this place now and then. what kind of heroism did you see that night?

>> oh, the guy, especially the younger guys in rockaway fire point fire department , especially to put on all the gear, we came in but those guys actually went into the houses. a and one lady was on her table with her dog, shaking and the young kid, brian doyle said come on, let's go, she said oh, let me get my bag. she didn't know to look to the east and see the glow. it was tremendous fire. it was tough.

>> reporter: do you think that feeling of breezy point, of knowing everybody, of everybody having each other's back, do you think that will come back?

>> not 100%. no. not like it used to be.

>> reporter: the bones of the place have got to be the same.

>> yeah, without a doubt. and you know something, you see the flag, people have actually been putting the flags on their new houses just to show, you know.

>> so give me a prediction, next year, we meet on this very spot. a, will there be a house here? b, will it sound like construction? c, will it still be a little sad?

>> a little sad. it will never -- until everyone is back it will never be the same. but i'm here and i'm not leaving. and you know, i've been here. so.

>> our talk today with john neese, who lives about 300 yards from where we're standing, and that is exactly where he and his family want to stay for the rest