Nightly News   |  October 29, 2013

Breezy Point, determined to rebuild, looks to the future

Superstorm Sandy destroyed more than 130 homes in Breezy Point, a beach community in Queens, N.Y. Since then, residents have been working hard to rebuild. For many whose families have been there for generations, leaving was never an option. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> finally here tonight, environmentalists and city planners have spent the last year looking at what sandy did and where the water went. and a lot of people say don't rebuild in the storm zone in places like this. well, that is easy to say, the problem with that is, this is home if you're from breezy point. and most wouldn't dream of living anywhere else. we get that part of the story tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk.

>> it is progress, i'm fine with that.

>> reporter: if the sun is up, breezy point, queens, is reconstructing.

>> i said from day one, if the place was still burning, the question came up, what will you do, what will you do? i just said we'll be back, we'll get through it.

>> reporter: karen burke , a new york city firefighter, didn't evacuate when the city was hit.

>> this was a fire storm , it was essentially a fire that you would see out west, it was literally grapefruit size, golf ball size, things ripped off the porch.

>> reporter: more than 130 houses didn't just burn, they blew up after the rising water sparked the electrical fire. this family has had a home on this summer plot for three generations. for a place that means that much to you emotionally, to have something like that happen, what effect does it have on you, on your kids, on your family?

>> i think that it is really heartbreaking, but breezy point is a really strong, resilient community and it always has been. everybody wants to have their community back.

>> reporter: flynn was the first to start rebuilding. you saw it have an effect on your neighbors?

>> on everybody in breezy point, just the sign of construction is progress.

>> reporter: just outside the storm surge , the storm destroyed more homes. including this family's. their home is nearly finished.

>> we would like to have christmas dinner here. it would be amazing.

>> yeah, it may be a pizza on the floor.

>> reporter: when sandy hit, michael jr. was just 6 month-old. all of a sudden you guys were homeless, what was that right?

>> scary, at first. everything look up to spec?

>> reporter: but like everybody living in this beach community, leaving was never an option.

>> it was my grandmother and mother's dream to live here and have a house here, and it has always been our dream to have a house here.

>> reporter: everybody here has faced a mountain of obstacles, what is impressive, brian, is how little they dwell on it.

>> and other folks deal with tornadoes and earthquakes, so life goes on. stephanie gosk here with us at breezy point,