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Cleanup, discovery and determination in Breezy Point

David Friedman / NBC News

Betty Vetterick, above, stands outside her devastated beachfront summer home in Rockaway Point, N.Y., on Friday. Vetterick and her husband Dick drove from their winter home in Akron, Ohio, to see the damage Superstorm Sandy caused to the house her family has owned for 42 or 43 years. They found the structure shifted several feet off its foundation by the storm surge, teetering at odd angles and with very few salvageable items inside. Still Vetterick is hopeful her family and the community will bounce back, saying it's a "wonderful community and everbody stands up for everybody. We'll make it, but it's going to be a long, hard pull." 

Below, linens and dishes, open to the elements and in a listing cupboard, survived the devastation of the Vettericks' home. More images from the devastation and clean-up in Rockaway Point and Breezy Point appear below.

David Friedman / NBC News

David Friedman / NBC News

With flood-soaked belongings ringing his Breezy Point summer house, Charlie Cannon dries out his collection of veterans' flags. Cannon, a U.S. Army veteran and sandhog for 42 years, had two feet of flood water in the house he's had for 13 years.

David Friedman / NBC News

A snapshot found among the debris.

David Friedman / NBC News

Men work with a chainsaw to clear debris from a footpath.

David Friedman / NBC News

A child's toy truck among the debris.

David Friedman / NBC News

Superstorm Sandy's flood waters are pumped back to the beach from the Wedge section of Breezy Point, where more than 100 homes burned in the height of the storm.

David Friedman / NBC News

A house along the edge of the burned-out Wedge section.

David Friedman / NBC News

Witold Pawlowicz, second from right, is aided by a gang of family, friends and even volunteering strangers as they clean up debris. He felt so volunteer-rich, he was turning away offers of more helping hands. The house had over four feet of flood water inside, but Pawlowicz and his family are determined to get it back in shape for his 85-year-old mother-in-law Kathleen Campbell, who lives there year round.

 

I spent three days on assignment in Breezy Point this week. I shot mostly on a DSLR, for stories about the night Sandy ravaged the area and residents' determination to rebuild, and a photo essay on objects left behind by the storm.

 

I also used my iPhone, for a panoramic image of the burned-out area called the Wedge, and shot these pictures Friday on the iPhone with Hipstamatic because I find it’s more intuitive than professional DSLR photography. That creative ease, together with the black-and-white “film” I selected, freed me to find pictures driven more by feelings than facts.

 

See more images from Hurricane Sandy in PhotoBlog and in this slideshow