NY boardwalk demolition attracts hundreds

Posted: 01/05/13 at 9:45 pm EST      Last Updated: 01/05/13 at 11:44 pm EST

LONG BEACH, NY (WHDH) -- Every weathered slab and every twisted nail of Long Beach, New York's nearly 100-year-old boardwalk tells a story.

"It's really the heart and soul of the town. It's just a great place to catch yourself, think on the boardwalk while you're running,” said

From morning jogs to afternoons playing catch.

"Me and my dad used to like take our mitts out, we just used to throw it along the boardwalk when no one was there."

On Saturday hundreds, each with their own stories, came out to share them and bid farewell to an icon splintered and deformed by Superstorm Sandy.

"And anybody that's part of Long Beach is part of this boardwalk."

For those gathered here, this 2.5 mile beachside path serves as a family timeline. Beginning Saturday afternoon what's been called Long Beach's unofficial Main Street, will be torn down to make way for a new beginning.

"We will come back to rebuild. You know, stronger and better. And you know, just help us over here. Pray for us."

So much was destroyed when Sandy swept through. Houses were flooded and businesses are still shuttered. Saturday's rebuilding ceremony clearly brought this storm battered community a sense of hope.

"We have to, you know, say goodbye to the boardwalk so we can build it back stronger, smarter and safer."

Long Beach's boardwalk was built back in 1914. It certainly was a different era back then. Those are elephants helping with the construction. She was built strong, but not strong enough for Sandy.

Tractors will now help with the 26 1/2 Million dollar rebuilding effort. In 2014 when this community would have celebrated the board walk's 100th anniversary, they'll instead gather around newly cut and hammered wood. They'll usher in a new era. One changed, but not defined by Sandy.

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