Sandy’s monstrous winds and crashing tides created an estimated quarter-million dollars damage to a half-dozen private beach clubs in the northeast Bronx.
The damage varied from club to club along the seashore in Country Club, the suburban-esque community opposite City Island, with roofs peeled off and interior rooms drowned.
All of the clubs lost their wooden piers, which buckled and drifted to sea.
But club members, part of a group called the Interclub comprised of the six beach clubs, are refusing to let the devastation overwhelm their tight-knit circle of clubs.
They’ve raised over $8,000 in donations in the first of six fundraisers dubbed the “Interclub Relief Fundraiser.”
Supporters stopped by the cause at the American Turner Club on Thursday, Nov. 15, drawing an impressive turnout.
“We’ve always been here to try and help each other as we could and unfortunately this is the time we really have to,” said John O’Shaughnessy, head of the Westchester Country Club. W.C.C. sustained the most damage out of every club, its bar and deck completely blown away. The devastation was so great it’s posed a danger to the club’s structural integrity.
On Dean Avenue, the 94-year-old Trinity Danish Young People’s Society club witnessed severe damage rivaling W.C.C.’s. “If it wasn’t for a concrete block we would have lost the entire club,” said club president Matthew Flood, worried about insurance coverage.
Meanwhile, the D.A. Beach Club hopes its pier insurance will cover some of their loss. Club president Glenn Puppa hopes money from the fundraisers along with a federal loan will pick up the remaining costs.
The thought of watching the Interclub out of commission did not sit well for Phyllis Provino-Cullen, who tends bar at the American Turner Club. The clubs have always been dependent on each other, she believes. “If one club goes under we all go,” she said.
She pitched the fundraising idea to American Turner’s Club president Frank Polgano, who okayed the project. Provino-Cullen first recruited songstress Christi Chiapetti, head of local band “Rumor Hazz It,” to rock the house pro bono.
Provino-Cullen then got Throggs Neck shops to donate raffle prizes.
“The beach clubs can rise to the occasion to support a noble cause,” said Ron Watson, a retired Marine Lt. Colonel and president of the Manhem Club. He plans to rebuild his clubg’s pier using the recovered wood.
Interclub organizers will gather in the coming weeks to plan the next fundraiser, with a goal of raising $50,000 per club.
The timeline to rebuild is flexible now, though White Cross Fishing Club president Kenny Knapp, aims to rebuild his club by summer of 2014.
“We just don’t have the capital to quickly build,” he said.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383