Point Pleasant Businesses and Residents Survey Damage From Sandy


By Lauren Wanko
NJ Today

Point Pleasant Beach motel owner Sam Ippolito says he’s never seen the kind of damage and destruction in the seaside community that Hurricane Sandy brought.

“I mean I stayed here myself through the storm and it’s one of the scariest things I ever did in my life,” recalled Ippolito.

The Driftwood Motel’s seawall got destroyed by the storm. Water poured through the courtyard and all 18 hotel rooms on the first level were wiped out by Sandy. The management is now left with shattered windows and ruined furniture.

Ippolito said all the furniture got pushed into the pool. But those items can be replaced. Ippolito worries more about how this damage will impact the summer tourism season.


“It’s kinda tough because so many things got damaged and lost, you don’t know if people are going to come down this year,” Ippolito said. “What happens is they’ll pick a different place and people don’t come back after that.”

A few blocks away, Perks Café officially reopened today. Aristotle Alafouzos, the café’s owner, insists Sandy won’t affect business in Point Pleasant Beach this summer. “Our beach, and Jenkinson’s and all the rides and everything will be in full function for sure for the summer. There’s no doubt about it,” he said.

On the boardwalk, equipment operators work through the rain to make repairs. A spokesperson from Jenkinson’s Boardwalk says their boardwalk properties fared well, but the basements flooded and they lost their inventory. The pier at Martell’s Tiki Bar was washed away by the storm.

But businesses weren’t Sandy’s only target. The contents of almost every home on one block now sit in piles on the street as homeowners and construction crews continue to assess the damage and empty out houses.

Bridget Hansen owns a second home in Point Pleasant Beach. She saw her block for the first time today. Driving through town brought her to tears.

“I had to pull over,” Hansen said. “It just takes your breath away. You feel bad for people that live here full time.”

Everything is being tossed on the sidewalk — chairs, couches, mattresses. There’s still no power on some blocks. A team was working with a generator to demo a home.

“It’s terrible, all the furniture is ruined, everything on the floor, the smell is horrible, it’s just really the houses are just ruined,” said contractor Mike Tinsman.

But people’s spirits aren’t ruined and they vow to rebuild and come back stronger.

  • Julie Phillips

    The Phillips family will be back Sam! We are so glad to see the motel is still standing. We’ve been coming to your place for so many years, you are all like family to us. We come the same week every year and look forward to seeing the other guests that we have befriended over the years too, and I know they will all be back too. We are thinking and praying for all of you at this difficult time. Please let Laurie know we are thinking of her too.

  • Cindy Vendola

    The thought of not spending our vacation at the Driftwood is just unthinkable. My family and my friends have been searching to see if you were still standing..and there you are! I guess it was time to redecorate anyway! We will see you at our regularly scheduled time in August..Our very best wishes and prayers to you, Paulie, Betty Ann, Anthony and Laurie.

  • Joanne Meli

    We will see in August as always. So glad you are all well. It wouldn’t be summer without a week at the Driftwood. Thoughts and prayers to you, Betty Ann, Paulie, Anthony and Laurie.

  • Jill Rodriguez

    Thrilled to see our buildings still standing. PLEASE rebuild so we can spend our annual week in room 131. Love to fall asleep listening to the waves and have m coffee on the beach watching the sun come up and waiting for the dolphins. If I weren’t in Illinois I’d come and help myself. Good Luck!!

  • Frazita Family

    The Frazita family has been thinking of you these past few weeks. We hope that the driftwood is able to rebuild for families to continue their summer traditions vacationing with you guys like we have for the past 20+ years. We WILL see you guys in August in room 138 as well as the rest of the Frazita gang. We are going to try to get down your way to help in anyway we can. Please know our thoughts are with you, your family & friends.

  • Rochelle Rivera

    We’ll be back also, my daughter loves the Driftwood… Hopefully you’ll be up and running by the summer. Good Luck… Prayers sent your way…

  • The Mognoni’s

    So glad to see you are all safe. We will definitely be back this summer. We have loved your place and hospitality for years.
    We’ll bring the Italian pastries for Laurie too!

  • dom &terry feragola

    Saw your video glad you are safe. Praying you can rebuild we luv our august week and look forward to returning g best to all

  • Robin Riley

    Our group is looking forward to returning this summer. I’m happy to hear no one was hurt.

  • Marilyn Rose

    Sam ,family and staff! The driftwood will,always, and will continue to be a place for my family to create wonderful memories! Hope you all are well! Marilyn

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