For the first time in almost four months, residents are living again in Mantoloking, a well-off New Jersey beach town that suffered some of the worst of Superstorm Sandy's wrath. Town officials allowed residents to return yesterday to stay. It's the last New Jersey community to hit that milestone since the storm, and it's still easy to see why: All 521 homes in the community an hour and a half's drive south of New York City were damaged. About 60 were swept away entirely and hundreds more will have to be demolished.
Most of the homes are grand summer getaways, and only about 100 residents typically stay through the winter. The community, 2-plus miles long and just a couple blocks wide with the Atlantic Ocean on the east and Barnegat Bay on the west, was cut in two by an inlet during the storm. That was fixed quickly, and Route 35, the main road through the barrier island community, has also reopened after repairs. Across New Jersey, the storm destroyed about 30,000 homes and caused an estimated $37 billion in damage.