Nine Months After Sandy, Staten Island Family’s Odyssey to get Sailboat Removed

More than nine months after their community was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, a Great Kills, NY couple is left with a constant and unwelcome reminder of the storm.

When Vincent Fatto of 79 Harbour Ct. gazes out at the harbor, his view is obstructed by a wrecked sailboat leaning against his backyard railing. ”I’m looking at it constantly,” said Fatto. “Here we get things all fixed up, and it’ll be there to remind me until the end of time.”

The boat, which is partially sunk and has a roughly 25 foot mast, has been an issue for Fatto and his wife, Camille, since they moved back into their home in March.

The couple lives in Port Regalle, a quiet condominium hugging the bottom of Great Kills Park. Because of its proximity to the coast, the neighborhood was hit particularly hard by Sandy’s storm surge last October. Boats were strewn across nearby Nichols Marina and onto local residences.

“This was the most terrible thing that ever happened to us,” Mrs. Fatto said of Sandy.

The community was also home to Walter and Marie Colborne, who died in the storm.

While the Fattos consider themselves lucky for having survived, they lost nearly everything. As things return to normal, the couple wonders why this vessel was left behind.

They reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Park Service, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the city Department of Sanitation, the NYPD and local politicians, but no organization accepted responsibility, nor did they offer any solutions.

The couple fears for their safety because the boat rocks against the bulkhead during rough weather, with the mast dangling precariously over them as well as a community walkway.

John Orsino, whose home was also damaged by the storm, lives next door with his wife, daughter and 3-year-old grandson, who rides his bike down the walkway.

“I feel that it’s a matter of time before something breaks,” Orsino said. “It’s ridiculous that it’s still there.”

According to Mrs. Fatto, a DEC officer came by the house last month to inspect the boat. He recorded the registration number, but never followed up. The Advance was able to reach DEC Law Enforcement, and shortly afterward, an officer contacted the Fattos.

According to the DEC spokesman: “DEC Law Enforcement was informed of the situation and an officer was dispatched to investigate. The officer retrieved the registration information from the boat and has been able to identify the owner. We are reaching out to that individual to inform him of the status of the boat.”

The Fattos hope this will not be another dead end.

“We want help to get rid of this boat,” Mrs. Fatto said. “We don’t know how we’re gonna get rid of it, because we’ve called everyone.” 

Courtesy of www.silive.com

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